|Labor Day weekend fell early this year, didn’t it? Here, the Saturday was rainy, but that didn't stop Ed and me from joining friends at Blossom Music Center for an outdoor viewing-with-a-twist of Stephen Spielberg’s "ET". Our top-notch Cleveland Orchestra performed the sound track live to the film, and they were outstanding. In our hooded raincoats, we sat on the lawn beneath a light drizzle on this cool night. I found myself getting lost in the movie, even forgetting that our orchestra was voicing the music throughout the film…I enjoyed every minute of the evening! What a treat!
Wonderful memories of concerts at Blossom go back as far as my teens. What a thrill to see James Taylor, Sonny and Cher, Bonnie Raitt and Chicago, to name a few… But my most personal memory was performing in concert on that very stage with Jim Brickman, not so long ago!
On Labor Day itself, we hosted a dinner for family and friends. I served my slow-cooked shredded turkey, homemade coleslaw and fruit salad, and my sister made two delicious pasta salads. It was a lovely day and the weather was beautiful again.
In the course of the week that followed, we went out to dinner with my sister-in-law, Barb, visiting from LA, several times. But one of those evenings was reserved for our monthly Bunko gathering, hosted this time by my sister. She put together a wonderful buffet in her beautiful home and as usual, we had fun catching up with each other as we played. No wins for me this time, but next month might bring better luck, with Bunko taking place at my house!
That Saturday, Ed and I embarked on a little road trip to Louisville, KY, to see our niece, Jenni Cochran, in concert with her band, "Frederick The Younger"--also providing the perfect excuse for a family reunion!
We made the five+ hour trip in good time and met Ed's brother, George, his wife, Wanda (Jenni’s parents) and Barb (still here from LA), at the hotel. Our accommodations were situated on the beautiful grounds of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where George received his PhD. It was fun rooming across from each other, like a bunch of college kids!
Jenni has lived in Louisville for the past six years. It’s where she and her beau met and started up their band. She not only co-leads the group, but is also lead vocalist: we were excited to experience her music live. “Frederic the Younger” was to open for Mark Foster and his band, "Foster The People" (best known for their worldwide hit, ”Pumped Up Kicks") the following night. And Mark just happens to be a very dear friend of Jenni's brother, Brian, who flew in from San Diego for the concert… Are you following?
That evening, we all got together for a wonderful Cuban dinner. Also in attendance were Jenni’s boyfriend, Aaron, (the other leader of the band) and his mom. Some of us were less surprised than others, but we were all very moved when the young couple announced their engagement! After dinner, we walked across the pedestrian Big Four Bridge, which spans the Ohio River and connects Louisville to Jefferson, IN. It was a starry night for young (and less young) lovers.
The next day, we gathered for lunch at a Mediterranean restaurant and were joined by our good friends from Cleveland, Scott (my Shaker High buddy) and his wife, Sandi, recently relocated to Louisville. They surprised us with another friend, Michell, and her husband, Ron, in tow. They just happened to be passing through! What a fun group we were! After lunch, we visited Louisville’s famous 21c Museum Hotel and its thought-provoking contemporary art museum, before returning to our “dorm” for a little nap before the show.
At around six, our other nephew, Jeff, (Jenni’s and Brian’s younger brother, if you are still with me) and his wife, Tonya, arrived from Cleveland, in time to meet us at the Iroquois Amphitheatre. Scott and Sandi had saved us seats and the 10 of us were psyched for the show!
Jenni and her band opened the evening and they were GREAT! The audience was very responsive to her unique voice, the excellent musicians and their catchy songs. To top it off, their energy was off the charts! We were all so proud of Jenni, Aaron and their band. I highly recommend their CD, "Human Child"!
After they finished their set, there was a break and Jenni came out to see us. We gushed over her, of course, and she was so thrilled to have us all there.
When "Foster The People" came out, all 1,700 concert goers rose to their feet. I had never seen them live other than when they performed with the Beach Boys on national TV, for the Grammy's a few years ago. Mark Foster is the front man and the leader of this very talented six-member band. He writes all of the songs, sings the lead vocals, plays guitar, keyboards and dances up a storm. He puts on a fabulous show! A feel-good evening was had by all!
On Monday morning, we said goodbye to Barb who was flying back to LA, to Brian who was flying to Chicago, and to Ohio family members who would be leaving soon after Ed and I headed back to Cleveland. It had been a perfect weekend.
Home again! At the end of the week, Ed and I enjoyed a wonderful lunch at our current favorite restaurant, Moxie. On another occasion, we relished a scrumptious Thai dinner with good friends.
I also was treated to a fun lunch by friend and fan, Nancy, her daughter, Kristin, and her granddaughter, who drove up from Columbus especially for the occasion. This was their third trip to Cleveland in the last seven years, to meet me for lunch. These friends have supported me and my music, as well as Jim Brickman's music for many years. They not only attend all of Jim's concerts and cruises, but they have also made special trips to Cleveland to see my shows. They're simply very lovely people. Their affection and generosity mean a lot to me.
A week later, our eldest son, on a break from his latest screenwriting stint in Toronto, where CBS is filming the new series “Star Trek Discovery”, came home for a rare 9-day, action-packed visit.
For starters, Ed, our son, my sister and I attended an Indian’s game, where we walked on the field during batting practice and chatted with relief pitcher, Joe Smith, who gave us the tickets. He is a sweetheart! We couldn’t help thinking how much Wendy’s late husband, Mike, and our dear, departed brother, Geoff – among Cleveland’s most devoted Indian’s fans – would have savored the experience. We miss them both so very much…
Another game was a must during our son’s visit, this time viewed from a beautiful loge, care of a very dear friend. Sean had purchased beautiful “old school” jerseys for us to wear and we had a great time with old and new friends, along with three of Sean’s old high school buddies. Neither game was a win, but the Indians are in the playoffs again and we are hoping for the best!
Ed, our son and I took in the inspiring movie, "California Typewriter", (I now want to type notes and cards instead of using my horrible handwriting!), and enjoyed lunching/dining at his favorite haunts, Crop Bistro, Tommy's and Anatolia Cafe.
But the highlight of the week was hosting a “watch party”, for the first two episodes of Sean's show “Star Trek Discovery”! I was never a huge Trek fan in my youth, but I am now totally hooked! The new series is filmed like an extended movie with elaborate sets, special effects, interesting characters (acted to perfection) and excellent story lines. I highly recommend the show, which airs every Sunday night, but you need to subscribe to CBS All Access. Boo.
We're so proud of our young writer. Just having him home was already a treat, but all the extra activities made his stay even more special.
All in all, it was a wonderful week--and a wonderful month full of new memories to fill my scrapbook!