Life is shorter than the flowers
Miles Wipper was a compassionate, caring, non-conformist young man who was loved by many. At the age of twenty, Miles died on August 8, 2006 in Asheville, NC.
Normally my radio show, Melva's Musing on Jazz, focuses on the jazz sound, past and present, of North Carolina jazz musicians. But on Aug. 13, 2006 with major assistance from Aaron Summer, step-brother of Miles, I played the songs that were much loved by Miles. Joining us in the studio were David Summer, Emily Wipper, Ian Putnam, Sam McTavey, Julie Gignoux and Kate.
Miles was a guitar player from a talented musical and artistic family. Family and friends listened to the show and danced to the wonderful music - it was a touching and loving way to celebrate the life of Miles Wipper.
The songs played on my radio show included -
All You Need is Love (Beatles)
Marie (Django Reinhardt)
Opus de Funk (Horace Silver)
Saresta (Bela Fleck & the Flecktones)
Make Me Smile (The Slackers)
Running Down & Dream (Tom Petty)
Stella by Starlight (Miles Davis)
Tunnel of Love (Dire Straight)
Blue in Green (Miles Davis)
It Don't Mean a Thing (Europa Jazz Quartet)
Listening to the Rain (Doc Watson & Merle Watson)
Farther on Down the Road (Taj Mahal)
Dancing on the Ceiling (Charlie Parker)
Gumboots (Paul Simon)
One Love (Bob Marley)
Many Rivers to Cross (Jimmy Cliff)
Earlier in the day of Aug. 13, 2006, over five hundred people filled and overflowed the Century Center in Carrboro (NC) to celebrate the life and joy of Miles Wipper. People came from all over the world to honor his life.
Miles was - a Writer Humorist Philosopher Inquisitive Patient A good listener Active listener Role model Honest Dependable Enthusiastic Kind Compassionate Trusting sole Calm Focused Enriched by friendship Football player at CHHS Musician Music lover Sensitive Open Emotional Expressive An unsung hero Blissfully unaware of how loud he was Own sense of timing Easily cried Big ideas Great sense of wonder Big heart Loved to discover Inquisitive Spiritually involved Clumsy Unbridled generosity Non-conformist Non-compliant Didn’t care if he fit in
One day, when Miles was a child, he asked his dad what he believed in. His dad went on about believing in love, and family, and friends (while naming all the members of the family). When he was done, Miles turned to him and said, "Yeah, Dad, but do you believe in dinosaurs."
Miles – "Don’t take things too seriously, you’ll miss all the fun."
Miles – asked his dad what was in the blackness between the stars. Miles’ philosophy – "there are stars and then there is the space between the stars, and some of the blackness you can’t control, and some of that space you can make it up."
Emily his sister told the story – A week before Miles died she had visited Asheville and spent time with him. She was with friends on Sunday morning at Rosetta’s Kitchen, a vegan restaurant in Asheville. She called Miles on her cell phone to say good-bye and to encourage him to stop by the restaurant if he could before she left. She finished her message and looked up and there was Miles coming out of the Ladies Room at Rosetta’s Kitchen. Emily asked what he was doing there, and he said he had just stopped by to use the restroom.
Favorite Foods – the beige foods, "Beige is Good" including Cheerios, chick peas (obsessed, so concise), tuna, Tootsie Rolls (one penny purchase could make him happy and joyful – "Wow, I can’t believe I got that.")
Miles grew up in a family of cloth napkins – he wore his on his head.
Miles’ letter to Santa written when he was seven years old
This year I’m not asking for any present for I find that less fortunate people need it more than me. Besides, I already have a good life and plenty of friends. What more could a kid ask for?
But I do have one little Christmas wish, which is that for people to make friends and have less fights and for peace on earth. I think that a simple toy is nothing compared to the sharing and giving of Christmas time and that’s what really counts. But if other people would see the point in this letter, they would see the true meaning of Christmas.
That’s all I have to say for now and I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas.
p.s. tell Rudolf and the others I said ‘hi’.
We will miss Miles but are thankful for the beauty of his life and soul.
Melva's Musings on Jazz can be heard every Sunday night from 7:00-9:00 p.m. (EST) and is accessible via web-broadcast at communityradio.coop. Please join me - Melva