The Life and Legend of Pat Sands
Early on Sunday morning of Father’s Day, June 19, 1983, the phone rang with the news that my friend, Pat Sands, was gravely ill. McCoy had introduced us a dozen years earlier when Sands came to ski and see us sing in Sun Valley. The two of them had met a few years before when McCoy had come to Sands’ defense during a near altercation at the Shire tavern in Ellensburg that involved half of Central Washington’s football team. In the end Sands talked himself out of trouble, bought a round of drinks for the house, and when the dust settled both Sands and McCoy had a new best friend.
So goes the Life and Legend of the Sandman.
He had an appetite for life like no one else. One of my favorite stories involves Sands and his lifelong friend, Jerry Gordon. They were returning to Seattle from a fishing trip in Eastern Washington when these two men of substance decided starting in Vantage they would stop at every exit for something to eat as a way of making sure they would stay awake. They were sitting on a curb eating ice cream in Ellensburg when a former girlfriend of Sands walked by.
“Is that you, Pat?”
Sands hadn’t showered since before the trip started. She didn’t stay long.
“You didn’t introduce us,” Jerry said to Sands in mock horror.
“Introduce you? Look at you!” was Sands’ reply wiping some ice cream drippings on his fish stained shirt.
In Gordon’s version of the story he gained 16 pounds and Sands the same on that trip.
They had to remove their rings cause their fingers swelled up like Ballpark franks.
Every time I see Jerry I make him tell me the story one more time. The Life and Legend of the Sandman.
In 1980 Sands set a new course for his life and started training for the ministry. For him it meant leaving his old life behind. He welcomed any of his old friends to join him in his new walk. While he and I didn’t share the same beliefs we shared a lot of special times during those last couple of years.
Until June 19, 1983. He would die that afternoon of a cerebral hemorrhage.
The song “Sometimes I Get Weary” was inspired by the last conversation I had with Sands. The song “Love Has Survived” came out of my grief at his death. “One Less Believer” was written in tribute to his amazing life. “Our First Last Goodbye” was written in 2009 and talks about how Sands’ death impacted his many friends.
The week before he died Sands and his mother toured the Holy Land. The photo of them was projected at a 1984 concert. The picture is of them at the Tavern on the Green in New York at the start of their trip.
McCoy and I will be remembering the Life and Legend of Pat Sands during the September 13th concert. Tickets are available at Brown Paper Tickets. http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2055269