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Hello everyone,
I’ve been awol this last while, so my apologies for neglecting my monthly writeup, which I always look forward to. I hope you are all staying safe in these crazy times.

My crazy time started back in February. The first part of the year was a joy, I had a lovely family holiday with my family in Cancun and was lucky enough to take another trip to Tokyo and Thailand with my friend Basil, from the Irish Cottage, Galena.

Then on Sunday, February 16th, I was out having breakfast with my son, Declan. As we were eating, my cell phone rang, it was Nathan Carter, so I said: “How’s it going, Nathan”. We keep in touch pretty often, so I just thought he was calling for a chat. Then he said, “Have you heard from Nick (my brother) lately?”. I said, “I called him yesterday but he didn’t pick up, but I guess he was busy, funny, he usually texts me back to say he’d call me back later.” Nathan said, “I’m worried about him, he hasn’t answered anyone’s calls in a few days”. I just thought he was maybe away somewhere and all was good. I told Nathan I would call my sister Kathy (she lives in the same town). I said, “I’ll call you back Nathan, I’m sure all is good”.

So I called my sister’s cell phone and she was crying and said: “We’re at Nick’s house and his van is outside, but we can’t get in touch with him and the police are here.” So she told me they were going to have to break the door down. They didn’t know if he was there or not. So I asked her to call me back as soon as possible. It was then my heart started to beat faster and I prayed that he was away somewhere and all was good. It was probably the longest half-hour I can remember putting in, in my life, waiting for word back. Then I spoke to my sister again and that’s when my world just fell apart, my best friend and younger brother had passed away.

The reason I’m explaining these details is, hundreds of people have been asking me what happened to Nicky James. My brother had passed away in his sleep caused by thrombosis. The doctors said he wouldn’t have felt any pain. Maybe someday I will get some comfort from that. I guess we were lucky that we were able to have a proper funeral before the lockdown. They said it was the biggest funeral that St. Patrick’s church had ever had. Right now I am on lockdown at my brother’s house, me and the memories of one very loving brother and missing my wife and son. They were over for the funeral and made it back to Chicago. I spoke to Nathan last week and he said he would love to write something about Nick, they were very close, and Nick was so proud of him. So I’m going to hand you over to him, to write the rest of this column.

Nathan -
 I first met Nicky when I was 8 years old, he was playing at the local Irish club for the pensioners which my NAN attended.. she pestered the life out of Nick to let me get on stage with him and play my accordion. Nick being the encouraging type always brought me up and let me play away... I then lost contact with nick until I was 16. Then by chance, I happened to be passing an Irish pub in town called the Liffey and heard this wonderful voice singing from down the street, as we walked up to the pub. Then I saw Nicky on stage and the whole place was rocking with people dancing on tables (Nick had a way of playing songs that really got people going) that was the moment I decided this is what I wanted to do... a lot of people normally follow in the footsteps of Elvis or Michael Jackson but for me, I wanted to do what Nick could do so well which was to entertain the people and play music as best I could.

From that moment on Nick took me under his wing as a prodigy. He took me to a recording studio where I recorded 3 albums, he also filled my diary with gigs all over the country for the next year and never took a penny for it!! when I look back now I actually Can’t believe he never took money for any of it as he was clearly my manager and booking agent. I honestly believe there is no one in this world who would have done as much as he did for me only Nick.. when I got the news he had passed earlier this year it was the saddest day of my life as I have never lost anyone that close to me before.. not only had he become my mentor, he was my best friend who I would ring twice a week. I still think of him every day and think I must ring Nick about that and then I remember the sad truth that I can’t. I’m lucky I met his brother Joe who is one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met and we now share stories about his brother, I am so glad between Joe, John and myself, we wrote this song in memory of Nick.. he is sadly missed by many people and will never be forgotten!

As always, be good to one another, and stay safe.
Joe and Nathan

‘Wings To Fly’
    
    Written by Nathan Carter,
    John Farry, and Joe Mcshane

Verse 1
I dreamed a dream
That we both shared
Soon I could see
How much you cared
Your faith in me
It never died
You gave me wings
The wings to fly
CHORUS
Now you are an angel flying high
You left us here on earth alone to cry
Memories of you will never die
For you gave me wings to fly
For you are an angel flying high
You left us here on earth alone to cry
Memories of you will never die
For you gave me wings
The wings to fly
Verse 2
Always there
To lend a hand
You watched me grow
From boy to man
Then I heard
The sad, sad news
So hard to take
So hard to lose
CHORUS
Now you are an angel flying high
You left us here on earth alone to cry
Memories of you will never die
For you gave me wings
For you are an angel flying high
You left us here on earth alone to cry
Memories of you will never die
For you gave me wings
The wings to fly
BRIDGE -
I dreamt I saw last night
In my dreams
I felt a gentle breeze
Maybe a touch of angels wings,
Maybe a last goodbye
Maybe that old familiar
smile.......
CHORUS
Now you are an angel flying high
You left us here on earth alone to cry
Memories of you will never die
For you gave me wings
For you are an angel flying high
You left us here on earth alone to cry
Memories of you will never die
For you gave me wings
The wings to fly,
The wings to Fly...

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