Sunday, February 6, 2011

December 24th, the End

The day in Florida started out sunny and warm...a beautiful day.  I'd made plans to meet my childhood friend Lori and her husband at the Orlando Doubletree Hotel, where I would be performing that night.  It was great to see Lori again.  She'd reached out to me a while back on facebook and though I'd accepted her friend request, I thought she was someone I'd gone to high school with~  But when I began planning the tour and she told me she worked in the hotel industry in Orlando, we spoke on the phone and I put it all together.  This was the little girl I used to play Barbies with on my front porch!  Amazing!  Anyhow, she'd been reading about the tour and had arranged for me to perform on Christmas Eve at the Christmas event at the hotel in return for a couple of nights' stay and a discounted room for the third night.  It was perfect because my sister-in-law was flying my daughters and my husband down on Christmas Day so we could drive back together, and we needed a place to stay.  Our Christmas gift to the girls was to be a one day visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. 
But I'm getting ahead of myself.  I met Lori and her husband Paul at the hotel, got checked in  and then we went off to lunch.  Or, actually, maybe it was the other way around?  Maybe we went to lunch first and then to the hotel?  I honestly am not sure!  By that time I was running on pure adrenalin.  Maybe if Lori reads this she can set me straight!  I do know that we had a fun lunch together at THE GOLDEN CORRAL and did a lot of catching up.
When I went to my room I was totally surprised to find a lovely Christmas flower arrangement that featured a ceramic sculpture of a Norman Rockwell painting, waiting for me on the dresser.  It was a gift from several of the people from Planet Christmas to congratulate me on the Grammy nom and the tour.  It meant the world to me and was so pretty.  I've kept the figurine and will keep it in my indoor Christmas display for all the years to come.
I hung out in my room and tried to catch up on emails and so forth until it was time to go down and do the last show of the tour.  I set up in the lobby and started singing, and I was somewhat discombobulated that for quite a while my only audience was grownups, no kids.  But they were in  a partying mood, and we ended up having a wicked good time.  Mrs. Claus showed up and read the kids a story and they decorated cookies and then I sang some more got one of the guys to come up and do Candy with me, and all the way around it was a fantastic way to end the tour.  I went back up to my room filled with all kinds of emotions....happiness, sadness, nostalgia, gratefulness, but most of all excitement because the next day I would see my FAMILY finally!!!!!!!!!!

Before I wrap up the tour blog I do want to say that all during the last few weeks of the tour I was having a blast keeping up with the success of the Holdman video on YouTube.  It was so much fun to check every day to see how many views it had gotten and what kind of comments were left.  It was my goal to see it hit 100-thousand views by Christmas and by the end of Christmas Day it had gone over, and that was very gratifying.  THANKS AGAIN to Richard and to everyone who watched it, and thanks to everyone who hosted and came out to the shows. What a great experience!

And that's it for my tour blog, except for one last entry which I will write later, in which I will reflect upon the tour as a whole, the adventure and what it did for me emotionally and spiritually, and whether or not I'm up for doing it again. I'll be sure to do that within the next couple of days.

 But now I have to get off the computer and do something I haven't done in a while.  READ A BOOK!!!

December 23rd

As I write this it is February 6, and it's probably about time that I get caught up on the tour blog and write about what happened over a month ago.  A month ago already! Seems like a lifetime since then!
So much has happened since I've been home, but I will never forget the evening I spent at the home of Bob Walker and his sons.
I was expecting it to be warm in Florida, but, alas, it was not exactly tropical!  However, it was a darned site warmer than it had been at many of the other shows, and that was very good.  I loved Bob's display...especially the backdrop that he painted over his garage door.  It made a beautiful backdrop for the concert. Hey Bob...why don't you have any pictures of that backdrop on your website?
While I was setting up I had the pleasure of meeting Bob's two sons and his mother, as well as many other people who were around and getting ready for the show.
There were three guys from Planet Christmas who came to the concert and one lady who was a tour sponsor who brought me a beautiful Christmas Cactus (which made it safely home....a miracle!) plus my dear childhood friend Lori and her husband, who were to be my hosts for the concert the next night at the Orlando Doubletree.  It was a friendly atmosphere and a fun concert, but I have to admit, I actually teared up while I was singing The House on Christmas Street with Bob's sequence. I wasn't expecting it, but by that time it felt like the millionth time I had sung it, and all the memories of everyone and everyplace and all the people and displays and miles and miles came flooding back while I was singing, and I almost couldn't get through it.  I'm sure part of the reason why I was so emotional was that I was beyond exhausted by that time.  I mean it...I've never felt so fatigued in my life as I did by the end of the tour.
After the concert a bunch of us sat around in the driveway and talked about the tour and everything, and then it was time for everyone to leave and I packed all my stuff up.  I went into the house to say "goodbye" to Bob and his boys, Terrance and David.  Well, I ended up staying there and eating cookies and talking for a good couple of hours.  I am so impressed with Bob, who is a single father with two adopted sons, who does volunteer work for "Give Kids the World," an organization that brings ill children to Disney World.  I just enjoyed being there and talking with him and his boys and getting to know them a little bit.  I'm pretty sure Terrance said he was 17 although I could be wrong about that and he could be 16.  He's a young man with a lot on his mind and, like so many teens, is trying to figure things out.  He's got some interesting plans for his future.....but I don't really think I should blog about them because they may have been told to me in confidence.  But in case he is reading this, Terrance I want you to know that I am thinking of you and praying that you figure it all out and have a safe and happy future, and please remember that life has both shadows AND light and you never know what could be right around the corner for you.  Your Dad is really amazing and you are very lucky to have such a supportive father.  I enjoyed getting to know you and David and your Dad and hope I can visit you again, maybe even Christmas time this year.  Thank you Bob for inviting me into your home and sharing so much with me.  You are all in my prayers and I hope you haven't forgotten me!
Going back to my hotel that night was very sad.  I know they don't know this, but I really didn't want to leave Bob's house.  That might sound kind of nuts but I just enjoyed meeting all the people on the tour and doing the house concerts in the neighborhoods and getting so much love and good will from so many people all over the US.  I didn't want it to end.
And you know didn't end....because the next day I met up with Lori Warwicke and her husband for my show at the Doubletree Hotel, and that was a fun end to the tour that I had no idea would end up being so amazing.