|A show, a graduation, Carolina sunsets and a happy anniversary!||7/9/2018
|On the 1st of June, my collaborator and friend, Abe LaMarca, and I played to a full house at Nighttown (ranked one the world’s top 100 jazz clubs), in Cleveland, Ohio. The last time we played there was New Year’s Eve 2016, with two sold-out shows.
And it felt wonderful to be back! The nightclub seats 150 and I love its intimacy. As a performer, you receive the energy firsthand, and feed off the vibe--which was so very positive that night--circulating through the room. It was great playing to friends and not-too-familiar faces, too. We had so much fun doing songs from our CD’s, starring our radio singles “Rise and Shine” and “Who’s Gonna Baby You”, interspersed with rare R&B tunes, some of which go back 50 years! We always add Jim Brickman’s “Destiny” to our playlist, along with “After All These Years.” We had a ball! The good news is we’ll be back with two shows this New Year’s Eve!
Still coasting on the excitement of the night before, my sister Wendy and I flew to Charlotte, NC, the next day, to celebrate our nephew’s high school graduation.
After a smooth 1 1/2 hour flight we landed at around 1:30. Our brother, Chris, and his daughter picked us up at the airport and taxied us to their beautiful new home. Upon arrival, we were greeted by his wife, Connie, the young graduate himself (attending WCU, in the fall), and his wife’s parents from Michigan, whom we hadn’t seen in years!
Once shown to our room, we wasted no time and quickly changed into our “graduation wardrobes”. The other young man in the family, on a nano break from college for the occasion, arrived just in time for the photo shoot! We had a nice visit with everybody and then helped set up for the catered Mexican fare party. Guests started appearing at about 6:15 and we enjoyed the evening immensely!
The following morning my brother made his famous (in our family at least) blueberry pancakes, followed by a fun, two-mile walk down a nearby woodsy trail, the challenge being to burn off a few of the calories acquired from those to-die-for pancakes!
After lunch, we bid farewell to the Michigan grandparents, their fluffy/yappy dog, Cody, and their bird, which Wendy swears she heard holding court in the middle of the night! The two eldest kids checked out a little later, with summer school and exams looming large back at school.
The rest of us (the holiday makers) packed up and headed to Lake Norman and the family’s wonderful getaway right on the water. On the way, Chris, Wendy and I stopped at the Harris Teeter (love the name!) grocery store for provisions.
We arrived at the lake at around 5:00 and it was the first time I felt relaxed since the show. Ahhhhh. The weather was beautiful!
Connie prepared a lovely dinner, followed by drinks, on the deck, which offers dreamy views of the lake. Before dinner, our young graduate said his goodbyes. He was leaving the next morning for Myrtle Beach with a group of friends. He’s very sweet, but a man of few words (at least with our generation!). Bring back memories?
After a good sleep, Wendy and Chris made scrambled eggs for breakfast, which we enjoyed outside on the deck. Then we packed a picnic lunch of turkey sandwiches and boarded the family pontoon boat for an afternoon on the water. Later that day, we went to an Indian restaurant for dinner. Then my brother took us out on the boat again to watch the sun set, a magnificent sight!
The next morning we rose to our now-ritual breakfast on the deck, followed by a little kayaking on the lake. It was Wendy’s paddling début and she was a bit nervous, but she did very well!
Once back on firm ground, we relaxed on the deck and dined on barbecue takeout from one of their favorite dives, followed by another sunset cruise…and a magical gathering around the campfire, built by outdoorsman Chris. Always the music lover, he had selected artists from his 6,000-title collection streaming through his portable speakers or iPod, serenading us throughout our stay, wherever we were situated!
That night we hugged him goodbye--he was off the next morning at 5:30 am for his workout/training session. Wendy, Connie and I enjoyed a last, lovely breakfast on the deck before packing up, with Mack, their irresistible border collie, at our side. We were soon heading for the airport, where Connie (and Mack) dropped us off.
It had been a relaxing and fun getaway with our darling brother and his beautiful family. The next time we see the entire gang will be when they come to spend Thanksgiving with us. I hate goodbyes, but was very happy to see my hubby when he picked us up at the airport!
A political fundraiser and a few dinners out with good friends comprised the other noteworthy events of the month. Otherwise, my usual routine filled my days: yoga, tending to my family and my mom, and lots of running around! But I have been doing a little songwriting too…summer is inspiring that way.
I almost forgot! On the last day of June, my Ed and I celebrate our wedding anniversary. This year marked our 34th! We had a lovely dinner out and we received warm and loving cards and messages through email, Facebook and on my phone. It was a perfect ending to the month. I feel so blessed to be married to my best friend!!
Until next time, happy July!