Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gary & Terry's "We Believe" Lights on 32nd Monday, Dec. 17

Monday started out different to begin with.  Once I finished working on my computer, after midnight, I lay down on my bed in the hotel room and could not get to sleep.  No matter what, I tossed and turned, thinking about the long drive to Nebraska the next day and hoping I would get there on time. Finally, I figured I may as well just leave, so in the middle of the night I got up and took off.
I drove for about an hour and then I got sleepy, so I pulled off into one of those many truck stops along the highway, locked the doors and caught some zzzzzzzs for about an hour. Then I drove for a couple more hours and did the same thing again. 
At some point I saw that I was near Peoria, IL and that struck a chord with me.  There is a favorite book among our family members called "Summer of Night," by Dan Simmons. All of us have read it and it's been passed along to several of Emma's friends.  It takes place in a little town in IL not far from Peoria, and I recalled seeing on Simmons' website that he based it on his hometown, his real friends and his childhood there.  So I looked it up and lo and behold, it was Brimfield, IL, and it was right off the highway along my way.  Well, now I had all kinds of extra time to kill, so I took the exit and spent a few hours exploring Brimfield.  It was GREAT.  Just as I had imagined!  I felt like I was IN the book!!  I stopped into the one big gas station/store/cafe in town and asked some old timers if they knew where the school had been that was featured in the book (it was torn down in 1960) and we got into a long conversation. They knew Dan Simmons and they knew a lot of the kids he hung out with, kids who were in the book. Ultimately my search led me to talking with Kevin, who is a main character in the book, and he was very nice.  For this bibliophile it was HEAVEN! 
After I'd seen and done everything and taken pictures of all the sites that were prominent in the book, I went on my merry way. I stopped for one more nap, and I was making good time, on track to arrive in Lincoln at 5:30 and go to my hotel and take a shower before the show, when my van BROKE DOWN on the highway in the middle of Omaha during RUSH HOUR. I quickly pulled over, and called AAA and my husband....and the upshot was that I survived, the van was towed to a repair shop, and Terry came and got me and brought me to the show which I began 45 minutes late (people stayed!!)
Gary was a genius. Once Terry left to come fetch me he put on a Santa suit with a full headpiece and went out and entertained the crowd!!  By the time I started the show, though, it was COLD out, and many people had to leave before I finished
Gary's display is charming and I especially loved singing The House on Christmas Street with it.  It's so much fun to see the people "ooh" and "ahh" when I do that, and it showcases the creativity of the homeowner.  It was a really pretty and tasteful display but unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of it in all the melee.
I was really depressed, but Gary and Terry and their friends and family were wonderful....Gary had decorated the inside of his garage so that I could sign autographs inside where it was a little warmer, and I sold some CDs and met some people and it was a nice evening, although inside I was freaking out, worrying about the van and hoping it would be just some little thing.
Gary took me to the hotel after we were all packed up, and I collapsed.  The next day, bright and early, I got a call from the garage telling me the transmission was SHOT.  Well, it's got 407,000+ miles on it, so I guess it was to be expected, but the thing is..I had that whole van looked over and inspected for road-worthiness before I left home and had over $3000 worth of work done on it, so I wasn't expecting any problems!!  This was a MAJOR DISASTER.
Once Philip calmed me down over the phone I called and got a rental, he called the garage and talked to them and they went ahead and ordered a used transmission, and I called Gary and he once again came and fetched me and brought me to the Hertz place in Omaha.  He was a knight in shining armor through this whole thing, ferrying me around and being very nice about it. THANK YOU SO MUCH GARY AND TERRY!
I got a Toyota Rav and went back to the garage to get some more stuff out of the van and took off once more, for Minnesota this time.  Of course I managed to leave my AC adapter in my van, so I couldn't charge my phone, but that's par for the course!  (If you recall, I left my car charger in the rental in Seattle!)

Well, now I have to get going to the Hudson Elementary School to put on a Christmas concert for the kids there, but thank you for keeping up with me on this great adventure and I'll try to get more caught up tonight.  Hey, I'm only a couple of shows behind right now!!

Oh....I probably WON'T be home for Christmas....cause now I gotta go back to Omaha after the last show and get the van!  :(

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