As my wife’s primary caregiver in her, fortunately, successful fight against cancer, I accompanied her to Hanna Boys Center for a Thursday August evening’s inspirational Survivors Dinner for Sonoma Valley’s 24-hour Relay For Life event, which is the American Cancer Society’s major fundraiser.
After a wonderful dinner, generously donated and served by Maya, the popular Plaza restaurant, came a heartfelt and uplifting rally-to-the-cause-of-defeating-cancer speech by Sonoma’s Lori Bremner, a state and national Relay For Life leader, then Valley musician and conductor Jim Griewe took the stage.
Before Jim conducted his choral group, he paid tribute to one of the best guitarists and musicians ever to come from the Valley of the Moon, Mike Hinton, who had died of bladder cancer earlier that morning.
Once the words passed Jim’s lips, they hit me like a sledgehammer. As I sat stunned by the devastating news, my wife put her hand on my shoulder because I’ve been a longtime friend and always honored-to-be musical collaborator with Mike, following his vibrant music career from when he was a Valley youth.
Now I know this is a sports column, and so I will justify this “sports” piece with the facts that Mike did play sports in his youth, and his father, Dave, who helped teach him music, was a former star athlete at Sonoma Valley High School in the 1950s and was elected into the 2011 Dragons Athletic Hall of Fame.