Saturday, December 21, 2013

Just One More Show

Since I last wrote on Monday, I had a huge disappointment.  I was told by the producers of "The Great Christmas Light Fight" that they were "95% sure" they were going to use my song on their show.  I thought it would be at the home of decorator Michael Simmons in California, because he is the one who contacted me and told me that he had asked to use my song on his portion of the show.  But alas, my friends and fans and I waited through almost the whole show to hear, not my song, but
Deck the Halls.  I had been so excited, but then I was so disappointed I cried.  But then I got up the next day, had a nice morning with the Charpiats, and drove off to my brother-in-law's house in Greenville and spent three fun days with him and my sister-in-law and that was just what the doctor ordered.  I also got to see my good friend Barbara and perform at show at the school where she is a music teacher. and that was good for my soul.

Tonight I just finished up a show with a HUGE crowd at Lake Myra Christmas, which is actually in Wendell, NC.  Over the past 24 hours or so I've gotten to be friends with Don Williams and his buddy, Joe, who put on this huge display every year in the middle of town.  Both  Don and Joe have battled personal challenges in the past year, and they told me that putting on the display saved their sanity. It's obvious that it's good for the town, too.  It's completely synchronized and you should see the faces of the little kids who come to see it.  Don even built a stage right in the middle....last night he had a local clogging group perform on it, and tonight it was me.  What fun!  The little kids sat on a tarp right in front of the stage and I got some of them to come up and dance with me.  I still haven't found a kid who can sing all of Frosty the Snowman, but I give an "A" for effort to the sisters who tried tonight!  At the end of the evening I was sad to go.  It meant a lot for me to be here in North Carolina, visiting family and old friends and making new friends.  I'll be sad to leave in the morning.

But tomorrow it is on to Pennsylvania and Jason Reph's display in Nazareth.  I think this will be my third time there, and it's always a good time although it's usually FREEZING out there!  Quite a difference from the 65 degree temps here in NC tonight.  I'll be all bundled up.  I hope people come out! Then I'm leaving right after the show and heading home, where my family that I made awaits, including my two wonderful daughters, two kitties, a doggie and a hamster....and my terrific hubby.  I love you all, decorators and audience, but you Dorothy said....there's no place like home!

Monday, December 16, 2013

To My Decorator Friends

This year I have only embarked on a limited tour, given that the famous Sienna has 436,000+ miles on it.  After last year's transmission fiasco I wasn't even going to go out at all this year, but I just couldn't miss the opportunity to see my friends.....yes, after all these tours they are truly my friends...south of the Mason-Dixon line this year.  So I went to Gloucester, VA for XTRA 99's Third Most Funnest Christmas Concert EVER! and had the best time I've ever had there.  What fun it was to butcher "Baby, It's Cold Outside" with Neal Steele and Pastor Mike!  And to see the many people who listen to Neal and Reese and have become my fans and facebook friends because of the support they've given my music.  I don't take it for granted and I never will.

Then it was on to William Bottomley's High Country Lights in Ennice, NC.  It was my fourth year there and I've seen his little boy Tyler grow up through the years.  William has built this event from a simple concert in the Fire Department lot to a huge indoor extravaganza with an big supper to support the elementary school, Santa, and even the Chik-fil-a cow!  And his lights this year!!  I sat in the parking lot across the street for an hour in the van just watching them.  For video, check out my facebook page.  Just amazing!

And now I'm staying with my friends Larry & Rachel Charpiat in Pilot Mountain. Their display is one-of-a-kind, as far as I know.  A one acre lighted parking lot at their house!  Park, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate on the house, and walk through two acres of enchanting and whimsical lights and displays. And these two retirees put it all up and take it all down themselves.  It's practically an amusement park, and night after night cars full of folks make their way here. I'm sure it's a Christmas tradition for many families.  But Larry & Rachel don't charge a fee, they do it all out of the goodness of their hearts to make something special for the community.  Larry told me this morning, "Sometimes you see the look on the face of a child getting a cup of hot chocolate, and you can tell they've never had one before, and it just lights them up."  And that's why they do it.  That's why all the wonderful decorators I've met in the US and the UK and Canada do it.  To make children light up brighter than the lights, and bring smiles to the faces of the grownups and make them feel like kids again.  It's a wonderful thing to see.  You should have heard the laughter ringing throughout this place last night.  "The joy it brings is more than money can buy" for SURE!!

I'm reminded, as I reflect, of Jimmy Buffets's Christmas song "Merry Christmas, Alabama (Never Far From Home)" wherein he sings about all the places he's been to during his long career and how he feels like he's never far from home because he's been welcomed in so many places.  I'm blessed to feel that way, too.  When I started doing "The House on Christmas Street" tours I was looking for a way to promote my song and thank the decorators who put it on the map. But for me, over these past four years, it's become so much more.  I've been welcomed into so many folks' homes and lives, and each family has been a blessing to me from Florida to Washington, Pennsylvania to California, Texas to Minnesota and all the places in between.  How fortunate I am to have made these connections with wonderful people who have such good hearts, all because of my little song.  I've grown to love some of you and think of you as family.  You know you love someone when you're about a mile from their house and you find that you are suddenly smiling without even thinking about it.  That's how I felt driving up to Pilot Mountain.

Whether I've visited your home one time, or several times over the years, know that each of you has touched me in a deep and profound way.  Your love of Christ, your joy in Christmas, and your generosity to your community by pouring your money and your energy into creating a display to be enjoyed by total strangers every year...and which, most times, benefits a charity...all of it has impressed and warmed me.  So even if "The House on Christmas Street" never becomes the hit I've dreamed of, my life has been so much better because of YOU.  I'm one lucky person.

Thank you all, and Merry Christmas!

Pilot Mountain, Dec. 16th, 2013