Jon Dawson: Jenny Edwards is 29 and Jon Hughes needs your help
Jon Dawson tries to console his sister Jenny after she is startled by his jacket. Photo by Jan Dawson / Neuse News
As I’ve done for the past few years, I'd like to wish my sister Jenny Edwards a happy 29th birthday. As an FYI, just because there is White-Out all over the birthday card I gave you, it doesn't necessarily mean I'm reusing a card someone gave me.
I agonize over gift-giving, but hopefully, you'll enjoy the VHS box set of "Full House" as much as Neuse News Editor Bryan Hanks enjoyed the Golden Girls tape collection I gave him on his 63rd birthday four years ago. He has three giant televisions in his living room and the sight of three giant Bea Arthurs scowling at once forced him to check into the Hampton Inn for a few days until the night terrors subsided.
It wasn't easy for my sister to follow me through school, as I left a mountain of accomplishments in my wake large enough to clog the Panama Canal. Between setting a state record for least number of votes for class president, unsuccessfully lobbying the school system to recognize Klingon as a foreign language and being banned from the North Lenoir High School Talent Show for wanting to perform an excerpt from "Evita" in German, I left quite a mark.
As I later found out, Jenny didn't exactly make it known that we were siblings. Reports surfaced of her pretending to be a foreign exchange student from France in an effort to distance herself from me. I just assumed she was going through the same beret phase I did at that age.
While I was attending North Lenoir back during the Woodrow Wilson administration, I met a great American by the name of Jon Hughes. He was the first person I met who — like myself — was a gold medal music nerd. He wore a denim jacket covered in shiny band pins — one of which was for the band The Who, my favorite band, then and now. The conversation about music that started when I asked him about that pin has continued for decades.
Hughes and I have helped flatten U.S. 70 quite a bit over the years, driving to Raleigh for shows by Earthless, The Chris Robinson Brotherhood and multiple shows by the Allman Brothers and Gov't Mule. Jon helped me record a podcast with Earthless a few years back, and once in Greenville, we had the pleasure of chatting with Allman Brothers/Gov't Mule bassist Allen Woody for 20 minutes one afternoon before their show.
Through Hughes, I also met the acquaintance of "Grandma Betty", which led to me being able to interview Allman's bassist Oteil Burbridge.
Hughes also owned one of the greatest record stores in the state — East Coast Music in Greenville. It's very easy to hit a button on Amazon and have an album magically appear in two days, but it doesn't compare to a real record store.
Throw in a guy behind the counter like Hughes who is a great conversationalist and can make you laugh hard enough to dislocate something vital, and you've got the kind of place people hang out in for several hours at a time. I logged some time there for sure, but some of those folks should have been paying Jon rent.
A few months ago, Hughes suffered a medical setback in the form of a partial leg amputation. His road to recovery has been arduous, but Hughes is as tough as a lighter knot. He's always had at least two or three simultaneous jobs since I've known him, so his work ethic has served him well during recovery.
Throughout this whole ordeal, Hughes never lost his sense of humor. A few weeks back he went on a rant about being served succotash for four consecutive days that was funnier than 80 percent of the standup specials currently streaming on Netflix. There's something about a grown man going Chernobyl over lima beans and corn that makes me laugh till my lungs hurt.
After a lengthy stay in a local rehab facility, he's on the verge of being fitted for a prosthetic and heading home.
Last week as we sat in his hospital room watching a new Gov't Mule concert DVD, he told me about an event some friends of his were putting together to help defray medical costs beyond the scope of insurance. The "Big Jon Benefit" is taking place at Tiebreakers Sports Bar and Grill on Aug. 22 from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. The event will feature live music, a raffle, and an auction. It'll be a great event for a great cause.
In many ways I'm as square as a Wendy's hamburger, but being friends with Hughes makes you feel cool by association. If you'd like to help this stand-up guy stand again, please attend the benefit show or contribute via the GoFundMe page that was set up by Jon's friends. Please do.
Jon Dawson’s humor columns are published weekly by Neuse News. Contact Jon at email@example.com or www.jondawson.com.