Thursday, December 21, 2017

I'm in a hotel room in Clarksburg, West Virginia and I am so excited that after this I only have one more night in  hotel room and then I sleep in my own bed again. This tour has been an amazing experience and the people I've interacted with have been wonderful. It's been a great chance to participate in happiness all over the country, plus catch up with so many old friends.  I was thinking today that the one thing that has been missing is snow!  I think I only hit snow once, and very briefly, when I was on the first leg of the tour.  Now watch, I'll end up driving into a huge snowstorm on the way home just because I said that!  But anyway, I am excited nonetheless to be going home to my husband and to get my kids on the way and bring them home for Christmas. I'm worried that my dog and my cats have forgotten about me. It will be a wonderful reunion on Saturday!

Yesterday I arrived in Clifty, KY, which is miles out in the country, at the home of my friends Terri and Travis Keeling, around 1:30pm and Terri took me to lunch at a great old fashioned soda fountain in a pharmacy in the town of Elkton. Then we went back to her place and I caught up on the blog before we headed out to "A Clifty Christmas."

When I had first reached out to Terri about the tour she asked me if I'd be willing to do a concert in a park, or if it had to be a decorator's home. I said I'd be glad to do a concert in a park if there were Christmas lights and if it benefited a charity.  So Terri and her husband Travis and their family and friends put together a whole event to benefit the local park, which was once the site of the school that burned down several years ago.  They are raising money to improve the playground at the park.  They had a tree lighting, and people could purchase ornaments and have the name of a loved one who has passed written on the ornament and put on the town tree, and there were free cookies and hot chocolate, and Santa and Mrs. Claus and an elf and a REAL reindeer and a miniature pony!  There were people singing Christmas carols and the names of the loved ones from the ornaments were read during a special ceremony on the stage.  The whole thing wrapped up with my concert at 7.  Unfortunately, most of the people who'd brought their kids to see Santa had left by then, so we learned that next time Santa has to come after the concert! Still, there was a nice crowd that stayed.  Unfortunately, when I opened my mouth to sing the sore throat I'd had all day really affected the quality of my voice.  I did my best, but I couldn't hit all the notes and I felt like my voice only had half of its usual power.  The people were very kind, though, and they participated in the singalong and Sheila, who got up to sing Frosty, was wonderful!

After the concert I was given a giant bag of goodies from the community which included a Clifty Christmas ornament and lots of other great stuff, plus some gas cards and a Wendy's gift card!  Terri made me some soup and we watched "Elf" together before saying goodnight.

This morning I was up and out by 8:30, saying "goodbye" once again to a great friend who has been a godsend on the road.  I looked at my route and decided to drive to Clarksburg, West Virginia, before stopping for the night. The guy at the bar downstairs in this hotel gave me a cup of hot water and lemon and I put some honey and salt in it and have been gargling like crazy.  Tomorrow night is the final show of the tour and I'm praying that my voice comes back! I want to go out with a bang, not a whimper!

Good night!

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