|This is the Season!||12/3/2017
November opened with an impromptu visit to “107.3 The Wave”. On-air personality, Grace Roberts, who introduced my show at Cain Park this past summer, had just released her new book, “Why You Must Shrink to Grow”. I stopped by to pick up an autographed copy and also visited a bit with Carmen Kennedy, who happened to be working her on-air shift. Grace, Carmen and I posed for a fun, "girl power" photo to tag the moment.
Unfortunately, Mark Ribbins was out sick that day--I had been planning to say hello and thank him once again for his always enthusiastic support. Can you guess that I consider everyone at the station a friend? And now I’m going to devour Grace’s book!
At the end of the week, my sister and I attended a dear friend’s exhibit at the beautiful Be.Gallery in Chagrin Falls. Lynn Rogers Vail was showing her polymer clay creations: necklaces, earrings, brooches, bracelets and ornaments. We were very impressed and proud of our friend, who designed and crafted these beautiful, very special pieces. I left with a brooch and my sister wore her new earrings out the door. We topped off the successful evening with a celebratory dinner in the village.
Next up, another fabulous lunch for Ed and me at Moxie. Our good friends Andy and Allyson treated us and as always, we had a good time catching up.
The following week, I flew to Appleton, Wisconsin for rehearsals and a show at the beautiful Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. Tracy Silverman, John Trones, and I joined Jim Brickman for the opening night of “A Joyful Christmas” tour. The theatre staff was warm and caring and the audience responded with a standing ovation. It was the perfect kick-off for this season’s tour, which would resume after Thanksgiving.
The weekend before T Day, Ed and I enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Crop with friends, Larry and Cheryl. Ed’s herniated disc had been acting up, but he really needed a change of scenery. The outing dulled the pain and lifted his spirits, which made the evening that much more enjoyable!
A longstanding family tradition, Thanksgiving dinner took place at our house. We formed the smallest group for as far back as I can remember, comprised of our Zach and his gal, my sister, Wendy, Mom, Ed and me. Usually my brother and his family of five, from Charlotte, join us. This year with their daughter in a post-grad program in Miami and little time off, they decided to celebrate there. Last year was extra special with the addition of Wendy’s son and his family of four. My sister from France has been with us on occasion, as well as my LA son and his gal, and Cochrans from all over. But not this time. Wendy’s husband who passed away a little over a year ago, and my older brother, who died suddenly nearly three years ago, were missed more than ever… Holidays do that.
But the dinner was scrumptious and we enjoyed each other: we were able to have actual conversations at the same table! Wendy and I had split the cooking duties of turkey and gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, chestnut and mushroom stuffing, homemade cranberry jelly, orange/pear salad and rolls, topped off with pumpkin and cranberry/apple pies. And everything turned out beautifully, in fact.
The following night, Ed dropped me at Jim’s office where the tour bus awaited. Our driver, Arnie, drove our merchandise manager, Hannah, sound engineer, Bob, production manager, Tyson, and me overnight to Indianapolis, where we were to join Jim, John, Tracy and our tour manager, Daniel, at The Palladium, for our show the next evening.
We awoke to a beautiful day. The gorgeous venue and its lovely personnel made us feel right at home. And the 1,100 member audience was wonderful. Our longtime friend and fan, Linda, greeted us after the show, along with a number of old friends. We had performed here twice before. And it’s always a pleasure: I love this place and look forward to our next visit!
Our next stop was a 3 pm matinee at The Touhill Performing Arts Center in St. Louis. We had performed there before too and it felt good to be back. The crowd rose to its feet after the first act, as well as at the end of the show! Wow.
Tracy, John and I greeted people in the lobby after the concert. I hugged longtime fan, Debbie, who lost her sweet mother, Norma, a few months ago. The two of them traveled to see us in countless shows over the past 20 years. Seeing Debbie without Norma for the first time moved us all. We had attended the funeral in spirit, as some of their favorite Jim Brickman songs were played at the service. Debbie had saved a copy of the funeral program for me and I was touched to know we had accompanied her farewell in a small way.
I flew home to Cleveland that night, grateful that my hubby could meet me at the airport.
The following evening, Ed, Zach and I picked up Ed’s sister, Barb, and his brother’s wife, Wanda (Ed’s brother was not feeling well) and drove to Panini’s in Kent, for a fun dinner. Barb had been visiting from LA and this was our last chance to see her before her flight home the next day. We always have a blast with Barb, and with Wanda too!
After another concert in Toledo on December 3rd, the tour will truly take off for me December 5th, when I'll ride that bus until Christmas Eve. It’s always a joy to tour the country at this time of year, spreading the holiday spirit through music and song. I hope to see many more of you on our sure-to-be “Joyful Christmas” Tour!
In the meantime, Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all!