Sluggo’s North hosts a benefit for Hector Victoria. Be there.
I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. In the 20-plus years I’ve been in Chattanooga, I have had the pleasure of watching an anemic music scene grow into a vibrant and flourishing community. “Community” is the operative word here, for although there will always be some outliers and snotty “too cool for you” kids, as a rule Chattanooga music is about community.
We support each other, we encourage each other, we take pride in our comrades’ successes and when the chips are down, we step up and help. I was once a beneficiary of just that kind of support and I have never ceased being grateful for it. For those reasons and more, this week’s column is about a man, Hector Victoria, and the good people who are working on his behalf.
Hector is, by any account, a good guy: well known, well liked, especially amongst the downtown folk. Hector suffers from Huntington’s disease, the same neurodegenerative disorder that claimed the life of Woody Guthrie. It is inherited, it is fatal, and there is no cure. The disease has been described as “a combination of ALS, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.”
No mincing of words here—things are going to get bad for Hector, and then they’re going to get worse. A group of people who know and love Hector, realizing there isn’t anything to be done about “later,” have decided to do something about “now.”
Hector has a bucket list. That was a very sobering thing to me when I first heard it. I’m two months older than Hector and it has never occurred to me to have a bucket list. Hector has a bucket list, very little income, and not a whole lot of time. Realizing that, Hector’s friends and loved ones have arranged a Go Fund Me page (search for “Hector Victoria’s Bucket List”) and a benefit concert this Friday night, Aug. 14, at Sluggo’s North Vegetarian Café.
His list is nothing grandiose. Mainly, he’d like to travel around the country to visit friends and family, see a few national parks, and take in a concert or two. All proceeds from the Go Fund Me and benefit concert will be used exclusively to help Hector realize as many of those goals as he can in the time he has left.
Doors open at the Sluggo’s show at 9 p.m. with the music starting at 9:30 sharp. There will be a raffle and door prizes. Music will be provided by the Basement Benders, Rye Baby, the Stoop Kids, Bryan Hensley Music, the One Timers and Sandal Stomp. That’s a very impressive line-up for a very worthy cause. I (and I know I am far from alone in this) recently lost a dear friend, a man I loved very much who died suddenly and unexpectedly.
We had played poker the weekend before. When that happens, we are left thinking of things we wish we could have said and done; one more game of cards, a dirty joke to end all dirty jokes, one last laugh. In the case of Hector, we at least have a chance for “one more,” an opportunity to give a man another smile, another laugh or two, something to take with him when he leaves.
Stop by Sluggo’s Friday night, toss a few dollars in the pot and enjoy some great music from some wonderful human beings, and know that if we can’t help having to say goodbye, we can sure give a man a hell of a send off.