Wednesday, January 12, 2011

December 21st

The first day of winter was jam-packed day.  First of all, I started the day driving just a couple of hours to do a concert at Olds Elementary School in Raleigh, NC where my dear ol' friend Barb Packales is the new music teacher.  Barbara moved there from Maine this summer so it was just good fortune that I was going to be "in the neighborhood" and she was able to book an assembly for me at her new school.  It was just WONDERFUL to see her and of course she had already taught her kids some of my songs so the whole assembly was just a blast from start to finish.  Afterwards I was treated to a surprise luncheon to celebrate the Grammy nomination and given a giant red poinsettia to take with me.  Well, it took up the whole front seat and was lovely to have it ride with me on the four hour drive to Conway, SC ( just up the road from Myrtle Beach.)  It was in that vicinity that I found the Elvis Car Dealership (The "king" of cars!) which was just another weird thing along the road!
 I had been corresponding with my SC host, Kenny Greer, for at least a couple of years through Planet Christmas and I'd learned that he was a contradance caller and a newlywed.  I was eager to meet him in person.  The Garmin got me to his parents'  house, where he put up his display this year, safe and sound and I was greeted warmly by Kenny, his lovely wife, his family and friends.  It was cold but not as cold as it had been, and we did get a little bit of snow while I was singing.  I was able to sing HOCS with Kenny's lightshow and of course that was a treat.  It didn't always work out that way along the trip because of technical difficulties or whatever, but every time I was able to do it I felt like I was in the middle of a Disney movie or something.
After the show I was signing pictures and a beautiful young lady named Kenya came up with her mother.  I recall her name because I've been to Kenya a couple of times and we chatted a little bit about that.  Her Mom introduced herself as Jen, a woman I knew from Planet Christmas, and I was very surprised because I didn't know she lived around there or that she was coming to the concert.  So that was already a neat thing and then she handed me a bag which held a box of ribbon candy....much to my surprise and delight.  You see, she had read something (I think it was on FB) where I said that Dec. 21st was Ribbon Candy Day because it was my father's birthday and because it was so close to Christmas all he ever wanted was a box of ribbon candy.  Ever since he passed away in 1998 I have commemorated his birthday by giving away boxes of ribbon candy, and she'd gone searching through several stores to find one to give to me that day.  I'd been thinking about my Daddy off and on all day so getting that gift was just enough to bring on the tears.  She was so thoughtful and caring to do that and it really meant the world to me.
After everyone had left and all was packed up I spent a long time in the Greer's kitchen, telling stories and hearing about Kenny and Jamie's love story.  I stayed quite a bit later than I had planned because it was so much fun. 

If you've been reading this blog regularly, then you are probably getting sick of hearing me say I had a hard time leaving everywhere I went...but it's true!  Everywhere I went I was welcomed into homes and families with open arms.  Even the pets were friendly!  I  feel now like I have extended family all over the US and in England too.  It might be hard to imagine how you could become so close to someone in such a short period of time, but remember that I was corresponding with these folks for months before the tour, so I had a pretty good idea of what to expect before I got there although I was always surprised by great new things once I got to meet them in person.  And you have to understand that all of these people are "Christmas people."  I don't think I need to explain to you what that means!

Anyhow, it was really hard to leave the Greer's house and I hope I get to see them again sometime in the future.  I also want Mrs. Greer, Kenny's Mom, to know that she is in my prayers for good health and a wonderful new year!!  What a strong, vibrant lady!

The next day it was an eight hour drive on to Georgia.........

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