Thursday, May 7, 2009


This is The Dave Matthews Band (Dave Matthews is the guy on the right). More on them in a minute.

And this is a kid from Brentwood named Charlton.

Here's his obituary:

CRATZ, Charlton Tighe Age 16, surrounded by his loving family at home, entered Heaven, April 30, 2009 after a valiant 10 month fight with leukemia. Born in Danville, IL on September 26, 1992, he moved with his family to Brentwood, TN in 2004. He was a former student at Woodland Middle School where he played on the tennis team. He was a sophomore at Ravenwood High School. Charlton loved music, gaming on line, church youth group, the Cubs, the Predators, and his many devoted friends. His positive outlook on life inspired many people during his illness. He was a friend to all who met him. He will be remembered for his ever-present smile. The family expresses deep gratitude to all who have helped support us, and to his special nurses at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. Charlton is preceded in death by his grandfathers, Charlie Cratz and Larry Wells, and uncle, Bruce Cratz. His parents, Tammy and Brian; his brother Erik; grandmothers, June Cratz and Dolores Wells of Danville, IL and many aunts, uncles and cousins, survive him. Visitation was held Sunday, May 3rd at Brentwood Baptist Church, from 3-5 p.m. Dr. Michael L. Glenn conducted funeral services at 10 a.m. Monday, May 4, 2009 also at the church. Interment was at Christ Church Memorial Gardens. Memorial contributions may be made to Make-A-Wish Foundation of Middle Tennessee, 209 - 10th Ave. South, Suite 527, Nashville, TN 37203; Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, Vanderbilt Gift Processing Office, PMB 407727, 2301 Vanderbilt Place, Nashville, TN 37240; or Brentwood Baptist Church Youth Ministry, 7777 Concord Rd., Brentwood, TN 37027.

And here's the "rest of the story," to quote the late, great Paul Harvey:

Charlton was diagnosed with a pretty aggressive form of leukemia. His time on this Earth was limited. He knew it. His parents and family knew it. The doctors and nurses knew it. The Make-A-Wish organization swooped in to help. Charlton's wish was to go to a DMB concert and possibly go backstage to see Dave and the guys in person. They flew him to a concert in New York and made a weekend out of it for him and his parents. Something happened, though, at the concert and although he enjoyed the show, he was not able to go backstage.

Fast forward and he's back at home in Brentwood now and in declining health. His days were numbered and dwindling; God was calling him home. Now there was a DMB concert coming to Nashville on April 25th. I don't have the details but the offer was made for him to go to this concert and make another go at his wish. His Mom had to turn the offer down, saying he was too sick and too weak to make the trek.

Dave got wind of this story. Following the show, he found out where Charlton lived and imagine the commotion as two huge tour buses pulled up in front of this kid's house with his rock idols standing on the front porch, ringing the door bell.

Now, I don't have the details of what happened in that living room that day but I know a little boy's dying wish was granted. Dave brought his guitar in and basically played a live, unplugged set for an audience of one. He played old favorites, he tried out some new stuff, he asked Charlton for requests. And when some of the other band members said, "hey, man, we probably need to get going," he replied, "not until Charlton has heard everything he wants to hear."

Five days later, Charlton made one last voyage but had a great memory to take with him, thanks to Dave Matthews.