In 1994, when I was living in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, I had a very moving dream. I was going through an extremely trying time in my life, financially and career-wise, and I believe the dream was a visitation from my grandfather, my dad's father, to comfort me and give me hope. (That's him in the photo for this song, taken in London, England, circa 1918, when he about 35.)
In the dream, my grandfather, who I loved dearly and called Papa, told me (I am summarizing the words he said): "Don't worry Grayson. Everything will be just fine. Just keep doing what you've been doing all your life - making music. Your grandmother and I are so proud of you and we love you and believe in you. You are just where you are supposed to be."
I woke up with tears on my face. I called my father and told him of the dream. He was very moved also and said "Son, that most certainly was a visit from my dad, your grandfather who loved you so much. And I agree with what he said. Do not worry. All your problems which seem so insurmountable right now, will be resolved in your favor. As Papa said, you have nothing to worry about."
Well, Papa's words turned out to be true.
My corrupt and negligent business managers had gotten me into a huge problem with the IRS. They had completely neglected to warn me of my growing debt to the IRS. Of course, they gladly took their percentage of my income as my debt grew larger and larger.
Fortunately, after moving back north from North Carolina, I found the help I needed from a a family friend who just so happened to be a Harvard graduate and a tax attorney. Over the course of year, he diligently worked with me, and resolved my large tax debt with a relatively small payment offer which the IRS accepted. This family friend then recommended a bankruptcy attorney from an organization called Volunteer Lawyers For The Arts. This guy was wonderful and, after going through all the information and documents that I gave him, went to court with me in downtown Boston.
I was very fortunate to have a compassionate judge. My lawyer told me the same after the hearing. Though all my creditors were notified of the hearing, and invited to come and insist that I pay them (somehow!)only one showed up. She was from Sears and she asked me, in front of the judge, where the sewing machine I bought was. I had purchased one for my then girlfriend and, since we had broken up in 1994, had no idea where it was, and I told her so. She just nodded and went back to her seat.
After reviewing the testimony by my attorney, the judge asked me to come up and take a seat beside him.
"Mr. Hugh, what happened?" he asked.
After hearing my explanation (I was under oath and I told him ALL the detailed truth) he declared me bankrupt. All my bills were cancelled BUT - and this was a huge and important BUT - he allowed me to keep one assett - my songwriting copyrights.
It could have easily gone the other way. I could have lost my main source of income, and the one thing that gave me joy. Just read John Fogerty's autobiography "Fortunate Son", to hear how things can not go well at all. John went through heartbreak after heartbreak, due to evil, greedy people in the music business.
The sigh of relief I exhaled must have been heard and felt as a strong sudden wind blowing down the streets and alleys of Boston. Thank you Lord, I still owned my own music.
And I know, without a doubt, that I had help from Papa. I indeed had, all along, angels on my side.