Monday, January 20, 2014

Barry Manilow Has Still Got It!

Barry Manilow Homepage

Flashback:  I'm 17 years old.  It is the summer of 1978.  I'm in between my junior and senior years of high school and I'm in Provo, Utah at Brigham Young University (BYU) Girls' Basketball Camp.

I was there with my friend Kathy Gillespie.  We stayed with my grandparents Bill and Pearl Griffiths in Orem.

That night I was up walking in my sleep, running basketball plays in the hallway outside of my Grandma's bedroom....that dark, long night in Orem, Utah....a 34 year old Barry Manilow was playing in concert at the university.  I was so envious that I could not go see him but I had to focus on making it out of basketball camp alive and apparently my psyche was concerned, thus the midnight hallway basketball game that scared the crap out of my Grandma.

Flash forward to last night, 36 years later I FINALLY got to see the now 70 year old Barry Manilow in concert in Orlando, Florida and it was AWESOME. Hubs won tickets on the radio....105.9 Sunny FM....sweet seats in a Founders Box.  The music was fabulous.  Barry was fabulous.  His voice hasn't lost a bit of its sweetness.  He can still hold a note for 7 days straight. He is still a fabulous musician and he is still really funny.

Payday came and went with no deposit for some unexplained reason so we drove there with a quarter tank of gas hoping it would last.  It did.  (Thank god). Both of us slept all day to get to the point where we felt well enough to leave the house for a few hours.  We had the sideways quizzing trying to evaluate who felt better to drive and we agreed that we would leave early if we started feeling worse (as we had in November at the TransSiberian Orchestra Christmas Concert).

We did a lot more when Walt was healthy and it was only me with ME/CFIDS.  I knew that he could drag me home if I collapsed and he was level, very level so there was just no worry.  Not now. Now there is much worry and both of us are very ill so it is a miracle beyond miracles when we actually coincide feeling well enough at the same time to do something like this concert.

Our seats were in a Founders' Box and we could stand up and move around which has become an essential part of any event including just going to a movie. We have to frequently change positions, from sitting to standing and frankly I'm on the verge of bring a cot with me everywhere so I can lie down too.

But Barry....oh Barry....he wasn't messed up at all and for a few moments in a few songs I was back in my younger days listening to that music, usually at a school or church dance, which I inevitably flowered the wall.  Such is the life of a skinny, tall girl from the other side of the tracks in a teeny, tiny, rural Wyoming town.  But the was awesome, dancing or not.

Every time I get to see one of these old performers I feel grateful to get to see them one more time.  These concerts though.....especially now that we are on disability and could never afford the tickets....they seem very opulent and I think that we (I) have been very spoiled in so many ways.  There was a day when my former husband and I chose to use grocery money to go see REO Speedwagon and then later Bob Seger.  Even while we were just scrimping by on tips and minimum wage.  How did we do that?

So here is the Barry of yesterday - as in just yesterday....looking good dude and.....

Barry Manilow performs at the Amway Center in Orlando, FL on January 20, 2011.

Here is the Barry of 1978....

Not too shabby Barry.  Not too shabby.

My hope and prayer is that a cause, treatment and cure are found for this awful illness that Walt and I have.  And Barry reminds me of the message that always came from both my mom and my dad that music is a fundamental part of happy.  So I sing every day.  I hum to increase the nitrous oxide in my system.  I sing Do-Re-Mi for respiratory therapy and I try to learn and record a new song every week.

I just know this:  it is possible to be in incredible, unresolvable pain and still have fun.  Happy is not a constant but it is usually found in song and laughter in my life.  Especially laughter.

Mr. Manilow has started a foundation that gifts old and forgotten musical instruments to the schools around the US that have still, somehow, managed to hold onto their music programs.  If you have an old, forgotten instrument in your attic or basement, even if it is broken, consider donating it to his foundation....for the kids......for the Barry Manilow in the second grade right now who needs that chance to shine.  Here's the link:  The Manilow Music Project

Peace be with you and all that jazz.....

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