Saturday, October 11, 2014

Roadie Report 71 by Camilla McGuinn - Germany and Austria


     The song "Get To You" kept going through my head as I pulled out my computer to write about the German portion of the tour. It is a song about a journey to get to a person loved. We love our journeys.
View from a train window in Germany

     Long train trips offer a perfect opportunity to write the BLOG but it means my eyes keep darting from the keyboard to the scenery speeding past the window. We are amazed at how much beautiful open land there is throughout England and Europe. These countries are centuries old but only the cities are crowded. The farmlands are abundant with delicious vegetables like the ones my grandma used to raise. Tomatoes with flavor! If I'm ever home long enough to pick a ripe tomato, I plan on planting them in abundance, but I'm married to a troubadour who never wants to stop carrying  his guitar to places where folks will listen. Thank you all so much for listening!

Cologne Cathedral
       Castles and Cathedrals are scattered everywhere. They took centuries to build but the solar panels and wind turbines are new to the landscape. We are sincere proponents of using the power of the sun and wind. Germany has miles of solar farms and thousands of houses storing the energy of a new time. Remember the stone age ceased because they found better ways, not because they ran out of stones. Our hope is that our oil age will cease when the ability to store the sun's energy becomes available, cost effective and important to everyone.

German Solar Farm
     When we talk about the different countries we have visited, Roger always says that he loves Germany because everything works. Well Germany was having a glitch when we toured in September. Our "boot camp" continued!

Cologne Train Station
     Figuring the logistics for three and half months was a daunting task, but I was sure that the German portion of our train connections would be exactly as listed. After a wonderful stay and concert in Antwerp, we boarded the train for a long trip to Hamburg. Little did we know that the German train drivers had called for a three hour strike. Our train left Antwerp on time, arrived in Brussels on time and in Cologne on time. With a 55 minute connection time we strolled to our next platform. The September weather was sunny and warm. Sitting on the platform watching the people was delightful. We felt confident that all was well with the world. Then announcements in German began and every so often one in English. "Due to the strike the train to Hamburg has been delayed 30 minutes." We were still comfortable on one of the few benches available. After 30 minutes, I became less comfortable. I went to check the electronic platform board. Our train was in the station but at a different platform. It was boarding.

    I ran to get Roger and our luggage. The escalator down was working. When we got to the escalator going up to the changed platform, it was out of order. We didn't have time to look for an elevator, so we began carrying our heavy luggage up the escalator steps. The metal steps were not conducive to dragging the wheeled bags up, so we had to lift them. Now I thought we had sparsely packed for our almost 18 week adventure, but lifting our bags on that escalator caused me to lament at having to need anything at all. Half way up a young couple who was passing us picked up my second bag and got me to the top. I broke a rule, left my bags there and ran back down to take the guitar Roger was carrying. We each carry one guitar, one roller bag and one misc bag. Roger also carries a third bag for those last minute things like water. We boarded the train just before it pulled out of the station.

    The first German concert was in Hamburg on September 7th. Peter, the promoter for the  eight German concerts and the one Austrian concert of our tour, met us at the hotel. We had worked with Peter five years ago. He wasn't only a promoter, he had become a friend.

    We traveled by train to all but one of the cities with a day off every two days.

    The train from Oldenburg to Nuremberg was delayed reaching our connection in Hannover. We had 14 minutes to change platforms. That wouldn't have been a problem if the train had been on time and especially if the electronic platform list had been working. It was working  except for the part that listed the platform for our train to Nuremberg. Once we found the location of our connection, we ran to the platform but the elevator wasn't working. One more time we were dragging our bags up the stairs. Finally as we reached  the top of the stairs  we caught site of our train just leaving the station. We laughed as we simultaneously said, "Boot Camp!" Fortunately,  I had a rail planner app on my iPhone. There was another train to Nuremberg in 30 minutes.

Dinner Time
      The train arrived in Nuremberg in time for dinner. Walking the ancient streets in the cool evening gave us a sense of history. We found a beer garden to enjoy a delightful traditional German dinner.

Osnabruck from our hotel window.
Osnabruck restaurant
Osnabruck is a city we have never visited. The old part of the town is graced with  beautiful cathedrals, shops and restaurants. Our lunch time server told us the city is beautifully decorated for the Christmas season and is a destination for many during the holidays.

    The tour schedule doesn't always give us the time to  fully appreciate the cities and we did wish that we had more time especially in the vibrant city of Berlin to visit the museums. Germany's cities and countryside are like paintings and a walk through history.
Roger in Berlin

    On our way to the last German concert in Stuttgart, we lost another electronic device. It was a perfect storm. The train lurched, a box of crackers fell into a glass, the glass fell into Roger's Apple MacBook Air computer keyboard. The computer was destroyed. One iPad, one camera and now one computer had become pieces of dead hardware due to liquids. The camera was replaced and now we had to replace the computer because Roger still had two more lectures on the Queen Mary 2 during the November 12 crossing to New York. The presentation was dependent on the computer program showing  pictures, video and audio clips. Roger had diligently backed up the lectures on a separate hard drive. We decided to wait until we got to London to visit the Apple store for another computer. I decided that I didn't really need another iPad. Life just got simpler.

Roger taking the computer apart.
     The computer disaster didn't dampen the Stuttgart concert. It was in a wonderful venue with a great sound system and happy audience. We left a note for Elvis Costello who was playing there a few weeks after Roger.

     Our TGV train left our final German city, Stuttgart on Sept 23rd for London via Paris on the Eurostar. Our traveling "chops" were now fine tuned. Navigating the  German train stations became as familiar as our beloved highways of the United States.  We were hoping the "Boot Camp" training was coming to an end but even the glitches from London to Germany had already become a funny part of our sweet memories.

Linz Austria

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Roadie Report 70 by Camilla McGuin - PARIS, BRUSSELS and ANTWERP

Roger in Paris
      Leaving our Knightsbridge flat was a bit of a sweet sorrow but we had two more favorite hotels to experience before our trip to the Continent.
               Two nights were spent sleeping in the boutique hotel, The Knightsbridge Inn. We found this lovely converted row house years ago and even though it has now exceeded our budget, the two nights spent there on the special weekend rate were well worth it. We ate at our favorite local Thai restaurant around the corner and the food court at Harrods. London was now a very familiar city for us.
               After the Kensington neighborhood, we cashed in our Marriott Frequent Hotel points for the lovely and convenient Renaissance at St. Pancras train station since we would be catching the Euro Star to Paris from there. It was so luxurious to be able to roll our bags out of the hotel lobby right into the train station.    

           "Paris is a woman's town with flowers in her hair." That is a line from the Henry Van Dyke poem "America For Me."  Roger and I found the poem on a cozy night in Berkeley California in a poetry book my brother had saved from our childhood. When I read it to Roger, he picked up his guitar and added the music. Our next CD project named "Favorites" will include that song.

The Flowers at Notre Dame
     Paris is indeed a city with flowers and lights. We walked the city for hours. With famous landmarks as a destination; Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower and the Opera House. It was August and even though the locals had left town, the rest of the world was on every corner. Years ago we had been in the Eiffel Tower restaurant for lunch, prayed quietly in Notre Dame and visited the Louvre, mostly to see the "Mona Lisa." This time the lines were longer at those points of interest than the ones at  Walt Disney World in the summer! The crowds didn't bother us, we were just happy to be living and walking for a few days in this beautiful city.
     We always had a destination on our walks, but we never knew quite where it would lead us. The third day in Paris was day for meandering until we got hungry. Pat, our sister-in-law, joined us on our exploration. The lunch hours were almost over and I was insistent that we keep looking for the quintessential French restaurant. A late lunch is usually our main meal of the day. That means the meal is special to us and should have tablecloths with atmosphere.
    Roger and Pat were getting worried that I might insist we go back to the Oriental part of Paris for sushi. I declared that we would soon find the perfect restaurant and then we did! Peering into a window we saw tablecloths and a cozy ambience. We later learned that Le Grand Colbert restaurant was used in a favorite movie of ours, "Something's Got to Give" with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton.
               Paris was on our way to the Belgium and German part of the concert tour but while we were in Paris we celebrated our dear friend Lariane's sixtieth birthday. Her husband Phil, emailed me and asked if I wanted to speak at her Paris

soiree. I replied, "Have you ever known me not to want to talk?"  
      Even though I was quick to say yes, the reality of trying to honor a special person became a daunting process. I came up with all sorts of corny jokes. My prayer became, "Oh Lord...what am I going to say?"
    Then the answer came in an email from Roger. He had read some quotes of Winston Churchill and thought his "history buff" of a wife would enjoy their wisdom. As I read the quotes from Laraine's fellow countryman, I realized Mr. Churchill had described all the amazing traits of her intestinal fortitude.  Every quote fit Laraine perfectly.
     The epiphany of going back into history to describe a friend, inspired me to go further back. I went to the words of The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 in the New Testament of the Bible. It is called the "Love Chapter." Once again, the chapter described Laraine's traits.
       Since all good things come in threes, I needed one more quote,. I asked an older and wiser man... my husband Roger. Without a pause, he described Laraine as a spark. "When she walks into a room, the whole room ignites." For the eighty people who traveled from around the world for her Paris celebration, those words described her brilliantly.
      Roger's time is Paris was filled with telephone interviews to promote our five country concert tour but now it was time to stamp our Global Eurail Pass for the train to Brussels. 

We spent two in days a favorite hotel in the old section of town, the Amigo Hotel. The area is filled with restaurants, cobbled streets and old architecture. 

Roger performed for a radio show and then we found a local food  
Radio 1 Belgium
market to prepare a tapas picnic for dinner. Grocery stores can be as much fun as museums if you enjoy eating like a local.

     Two days later we were on the train to the beautiful town of Antwerp and our first concert of the tour. We stayed in the old part of the city and were captivated by the charm and the fact that it wasn't only for tourists but local people working, eating and living within its boundaries. There were real stores including a great camera shop.
     I had been missing my camera since London. All my photos of Paris were from my iPhone, but I sorely missed my 20X zoom lens. The moment I decided to quit silently lamenting my loss, we crossed the street and walked into a great store. A kind gentleman demonstrated a Nikon with 30x zoom - better than my last one. I was concerned that it would be much more expensive than it would be in the States, but it was a fair price. Now I could zoom in on all the sites of Europe.

Beautiful Antwerp taken with my new camera.
     One of my first zooms back at the hotel was a street cleaner or maybe I should  say street vacuum cleaner. I couldn't believe it ... they vacuumed the sidewalks with a portable cleaner. In my town a great big truck comes around about once a month with brushes that move stuff around, here the vacuum cleaner sucked it all up. Well I guess it is the simple things that amaze me.

     "Boot camp" didn't begin again until Germany.

We will always have Paris!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Roadie Report 69 By Camilla McGuinn - London Days and More Boot Camp

Sunny Days in London
Our London Neighborhood

      We dropped our bags in the flat and put on our exploring shoes to familiarize ourselves with our new neighborhood for the next ten days. I knew that a Whole Foods Market was less than a mile to the west and Harrods food court was a mile in the other direction, but tonight dinner would be in a local restaurant.

After dinner, our walk home in the warm London evening was enhanced by the smiles on our faces. With all the exercise we had gotten pulling our equipment over the Thames, we turned  in early after enjoying a glass of wine on the cozy patio.
The morning light.
The flat is located in the basement of one of the row houses. Because of the ground location, it has two private patios, one off the living room and one off the master bedroom. 
 Morning sunshine flooding the master patio was our morning alarm clock.
Everything was perfect, until Roger took a shower. He emerged from the bathroom laughing, "Remember how I mentioned we were in boot camp yesterday? Well we still are!  There is no hot water. I took a cold shower."
 I jumped out of bed and began testing all the faucets. Yep, he was right. There was no hot water. A quick telephone call to the rental agent's office assured me the problem would be fixed quickly.
As I was washing my face in the sink, I noticed water on the floor. There was a leak in the master bath sink spilling out of the cabinet onto the floor. A quick call to the rental agent was again necessary.
Then a short time later, another call to the rental agent, "This is a basement apartment and it is a little chilly. The thermostat doesn't seem to be working." "No problem. Someone will be over today."
The Kitchen
Feeling confident that everything would be fixed, we began our first walk to the Whole Foods Market to stock our kitchen. Our favorite way of exploring cities is to go to their grocery stores. Even though Whole Foods isn't a typical grocery store where most folks do their weekly shopping, Whole Foods Markets are different in every country. We later found a Sainsbury's, the second largest chain of UK supermarkets,  and another favorite, the Waitrose, which Nick, Roger's agent had recommended.
The Dining Table to Entertain Friends
Our food shopping had dual purposes. We were cooking for friends. After thirty years of working with Nick Peel, we'd never had the opportunity to share our favorite hobby with him. He was coming to dinner. We also invited friends that we'd made on the Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mary 2. Cooking in our quirky little flat in London was going to be fun, but sharing it with others was going to be the highlight of the stay.
The Famous Black Taxi
In between the domestic bliss, Roger had a full schedule of radio and press interviews to promote the tour. Our taxi bill was getting very high but we had a plan. Public transportation has always been fascinating to me. I never lived in a city where you could hop a bus to go somewhere, now I did.
Our grocery store forays had us walking for miles. When we passed the bus stops, I always wondered how to get on a bus. How much was the fare? How did you know where they were going? Thanks to the internet, I became an aficionado of the London bus system.
A View from the Bus
You can't pay with coins on London buses, you have to have an "Oyster Card." Nick explained that once you bought the cards, you could top them up and use them forever. We went to our local tube station, bought two cards, looked up the routes on the internet and became regulars on the top deck of the very clean red, double-decker London buses.
The buses were now our form of transportation and sightseeing. When Nick said he was going to catch the bus for our dinner party, he was surprised when I told him to catch the #74, it stopped a block from our flat. We also caught the #74 to Westminster Abbey for the Sunday service.
Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey is magnificent. The service was touching, but the thing that interested me most were the number of women wearing burqas sitting though the  service. On Sunday's there are no tours offered in Westminster Abbey. I surmised they realized the only way to get into the historical church on Sunday was to attend the religious service. They all sat quietly listening to a teaching about the love of Jesus.
Back at the flat, things were falling apart in the old building. I wasn't sure if we were living in a nightmare or a sitcom. It  took three days to get hot water and heat. Roger went to sit down at the dinner table the night Nick came to dinner and he barely caught himself as the chair collapsed. That night the bed collapsed.
Now I became concerned. If a child had been in the bed, its head might have become lodged between the board that was holding the mattress to the frame when it slipped and fell to the floor. I was very thankful Roger's hands didn't get caught in the collapse. 

The next day, Roger flipped on the bathroom light switch, heard a pop and all the lights went out. No electric light in a basement flat can cause a lot of darkness at the wrong time of day. Another call to the agent.

The view from my desk.
                                    In spite of the problems, we loved shopping, entertaining our friends and living in this quirky London flat!  Every morning I would sit at the desk working on the tour with a cup of tea to sip for those occasional breaks to gaze out the window.

Dennis Hopper's photographs were being displayed at the Royal Academy of Arts. They were also showing two of his movies, "The Last Movie" and "Easy Rider." In our lives, we know there are no coincidences. A bus ride to the museum was now on our agenda.
We got to the museum just as it opened and "The Last Movie" was showing. Since neither one of us had seen it, we sat through the rather agonizing hour and a half of the movie that got Dennis Hopper banned from Hollywood for years. We felt we had to stay to the end. I kept hoping the ending would be interesting, but it was worse than the whole of the movie. Now that is about as much as a movie critic I ever want to be.
Mr. Hopper's photographs are a time capsule. There were some familiar faces for Roger. We did go back to the screening room to watch "Easy Rider" but I insisted on leaving before Jack Nicholson got bashed on the head with a baseball bat. I don't like dark moments.
I purposely kept the last day open, so we could have one last romantic evening  in our London home and begin packing for our tour. The doorbell rang at 11am that day. Three attractive ladies were standing at the door appearing surprised to see me. They were the maids. It was our check out day! In 34 years of being a tour manager, I have never missed a check out day!
I  smiled, "Oh there must be a mistake. Please excuse me while I call the agent." Before the phone call, I checked my reservation papers ... yikes! I had made a mistake. The ladies told me that all the hotel rooms in London were booked for a carnival in Knotting Hill.
This time, my call to the agent's office was ever so humble with a desperate plea to stay one more night. I had just put clothes in the washing machine. We couldn't get out in an hour. The agent told me the owner was scheduled to arrive that day, but they would call and ask him. The next hour held emotions between total despair to optimism ... which we always try to bring into our situations ... but it wasn't until the agent's call telling us the owner said we could stay, that leaps of joy danced through the flat.

The Large Patio
One last glass of wine on the patio, one last tapas meal made in our kitchen and one last night in a flat that now had hot water, heat, a fixed bed, a chair waiting to be fixed and memories of the time we lived in London. We look forward to a future date of entertaining in our London home again. Who knows who will visit us next time!

Coming Next- Boot Camp in Europe!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Roadie Report 68 by Camilla McGuinn. A Train, A Ship, A Taxi, A Bridge Over Troubled Water and BOOT CAMP!

It was the best of times and the worst of times. It was a dark and stormy was an ADVENTURE!

When we hugged Laraine goodbye, we were confident that she and Phil understood the gadgets that ran our house. The solar panels, the newly installed electric hurricane shutters and the outside kitchen.

We arrived at the new Winter Park Train station with plenty of time to appreciate the quaintness of that small town. 

Train 98 to New York's Penn station was a familiar one but this time our ride over the rails was the smoothest ever. 

Waking from our overnight trip we stretched with a sigh of contentment from a restful dream time.

The secret to getting a taxi from Penn station is to request a redcap to meet your train. He is able to take you to the front of the taxi queue but sometimes you do have to wait for him to arrive.

Boarding the Queen Mary 2 in Brooklyn was like coming home. Roger was greeted with enthusiasm by the baggage handlers. The fans in New York have always been a boost to our moral. Someday I think I will write an entire BLOG on the delightful encounters we have had with them.

Once onboard, our habit is to drop our bags in our stateroom, head for the dining room to find our table for the voyage and enjoy the first meal of our journey. 

The Queen Mary 2 is a small neighborhood filled with interesting people and one of the delights of a voyage is getting to know the people. We always ask for a large table.
Our maitre d' gave us a table for six. After the staff introduced themselves our table mates began arriving. Gerta and Herbert were going to Hamburg to see Herbert's home town. Bill and Marilyn were cruising round trip on the Queen Mary 2 with stops in Norway’s Fjords. Their seven children now joked that they had no idea where mom and dad were these days.

It took about two nanoseconds for all of us to realize that the maitre d' had matched us perfectly. Before the lunch was over, Bill, a retired mathematics teacher and high school coach, had a word puzzle for us to decipher. We all sat there an extra long time trying to figure it out. Initially, I was concerned that Gerta and Herbert might be put off because English was their second language, but they jumped into the challenge faster than we did.

Over the course of 8 days we learned so much from our new friends.

Gerta and Herbert live in Winston Salem, NC which is a short distance from all my relatives. The stories of their lives are fascinating. A friend of Herbert's even wrote a book about his life. They were taking a copy of it to Hamburg for one of his nephews. I begged to read it. I told them that I read real fast and would have it back to them quickly. I even took it to Roger's lectures to read while I waited for the lectures to begin.

Reading Herbert's life story was as eye opener for me. Just as in the sixties when young men were trying to find ways out of the American-Vietnam War, Herbert was trying to find ways out of joining Hitler's war. He and his father figured that if he joined the Navy, he might have a chance of surviving the war. As WWII reached its last days, he walked into an American camp and surrendered. Not all Germans were Nazis! The reality that nations go to war at the cost of the young lives always hits me square in the face.

The July 28th crossing on the Queen Mary 2 had dual purposes. The main one was to get us to Europe for a tour that would finish in November. While onboard Roger would give two lectures. I always tell folks that Roger's concerts are the sound tracks to his lectures. The lectures include photos and video clips from the 50+ years of his career.

Once we reached England, Roger had radio and press interviews to promote the concerts that were scheduled for Belgium, Germany, Austria, England, Wales and the Netherlands.

The twenty days in London presented an interesting challenge.

A few years ago we spent 15 days in San Francisco in a condo I found for us on Nob Hill. I was sure we could recreate a similar experience in London. I scoured the internet until I found what I thought would be the quintessential English experience.

I found a site that had a  flat in Kensington with some of the quirkiest photos I had ever seen. I wasn't sure Roger would be comfortable for 12 days with some of the fixtures, but  when he saw the interior shots, he immediately told me to book it.

The Kensington Flat

The flat wasn't available for all of our London time but we had lots of Marriott and Hilton frequent guest points, so I bookended the stay at the flat with several different hotels.

While moving from one hotel to another, I put a bottle of water in my handbag. I didn't notice, the cap was loose. When we got to our new room, my iPad and camera were now pieces of hardware that didn't work. My only gadgets still working were my iPhone and my computer. Life just got simple.

The day we were to move from one of the hotels to the Kensington flat, a 100 mile bike race was taking place in London. We needed to get to the other side of the Thames. After a long wait, the doorman found a taxi driver who had just begun his day. Unfortunately, he hadn't done his homework. Every bridge he went to cross over the Thames was closed for the bikers. The meter kept ticking higher and higher. Finally we came to another closed bridge and the driver said, "It's a shame you have this luggage. Your flat is just over the bridge."

The meter was reading 40 GBP = $68.00. We took one look at each other and nodded. We could do it. Our bags consisted of two small roll a-boards, two computer bags, two guitars and two small bags for miscellaneous items such as a dead iPad and camera.

As the taxi pulled away, we loaded the roller boards with the clever way we had devised for moving our bags throughout Europe on the trains.

The initial walk over the bridge was up hill. That was the first time Roger commented, "We're in boot camp!"

Going downhill was easier, but the weight of the bags was cutting off the circulation to our fingers. Stopping every block to change hands became a necessity.

Roger turned on his GPS and realized that our flat was not just over the bridge, it was almost 2 miles away and there wasn't a taxi in sight.

Block by block we made slow progress. Thankfully the morning rain had ceased, but now it was warm. Roger was wearing his hat and suit. And still no taxi in sight. The GPS said we still had 1.2 miles to go.

After another ten minutes of pulling bags over rough streets and sidewalks we reached a residential neighborhood. I spotted a family getting out of a car that looked like a vehicle for hire but didn't have a taxi light. I approached the driver and asked if he was for hire. He initially ignored me. Being desperate, I followed him and began telling him our tale of woe. Finally he turned, slowly looked at me and asked, "Where are you going?" Roger showed him the GPS which now stated we had .8 miles to  go. He sighed, "I will take you."

As we passed block after block, I almost cried. It would have taken us hours to get to where we were going. When we arrived at the flat, I asked the driver, "How much can I pay you?" "Nothing." He helped unload our bags. I didn't have a CD with me because the guests on the Queen Mary 2 had purchased all of them. I offered to put him on the guest list for our London concert at Cadogan Hall. He just smiled  and drove away.

We were home at last! At least our home for the next 12 days, or so I thought.

More boot camp to come.....

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Roadie Report 67 by Camilla McGuinn - A Minute in Time

On the road, a day can seem like a minute.

We stopped in Washington, DC to add a voice to some injustices in our Copyright laws. It meant we had to leave home a week earlier than we’d planned for our tour of the northeast but it gave us more minutes to spend on the roads of America.

Traffic congestion is something we always want to avoid and fortunately from experience we know how. Instead of taking Interstate 95 straight to Washington, DC we slice northwest on Interstate 26 to Columbia, SC, then take Interstate 77 to Interstate 81.

Natural Bridge, Virginia
Traveling through the mountains of Virginia, we pass through the towns of my teenage years, marveling at the beauty of the Shenandoah Valley and sometimes stopping at Natural Bridge, VA.

After talking and shaking hands with many Congressmen, we headed northeast to Nazareth, PA to visit the Martin Guitar factory. There is nothing like a tour of that wonderful factory. It is a joy  to see their museum and to smell fine woods being crafted into some of the prettiest and best sounding hand made guitars in the world.

There were still minutes before the first concert at the beautiful theater in Northampton , MA, The Academy of Music. We stopped at one of our favorite hotels, The Sheraton Lincoln Harbor, on the west side of the Hudson in Weehawken, NJ. There was just enough time to catch the ferry, then the ferry bus to Café Fiorello for a late lunch. We always sit at the antipasto bar and  have a wonderful time meeting the regulars who come almost everyday. This day we met Angelica.

Angelica was born in Germany just before WW2. Her father was a musician and worked very hard to shelter the musicians he worked with. I have just begun studying the German language on The Word of the Day website because of our upcoming German tour in September. Funny thing though most Germans speak better English than Americans. To my amazement, I have fallen in love with the beauty of the language. I had always thought it was a harsh language, but after hearing and reading a few words, I realized it is sweet and logical.  I can almost understand some of the words I read.

Just before leaving Café Fiorello ,we introduced Angelica to the lady sitting on our right. Being a regular of the restaurant, she had seen Angelica but had never spoken with her. When we left they were chatting away.

We moseyed our way (that’s southern talk for going slow) up  a hundred miles to another favorite little stop in Fishkill, NY. Nothing real special, but a comfortable room and a good meal within walking distance.

The theater in Northampton is one of those wonderful ancient Vaudeville theaters that went through  the degradation of having its floors covered with gum and popcorn from moviegoers, to being restored by folks who realized that theaters are worthy of preservation as historic buildings.  Roger walks on the stages of those theaters and asks. ”Did George Burns play here?” His dressing room was next to Elizabeth Taylor’s and Richard Burton's!

When Roger performs concerts we are very aware that folks come to hear the songs that were the sound track of their lives. Everyday at lunch we discuss the upcoming show and discuss what songs and stories he will perform. We had particularly difficult choices to make for this show. All the hand shaking in Washington, DC did put him in contact with a cold virus. He could barely talk. Of course we prayed and sent out emails to friends who know the power of prayer. As we discussed the songs, we remembered tunes that were in lower registers that wouldn’t strain his voice. There is a great danger of singing when vocal cords are compromised… a singer can lose his voice. We had to decide which songs to sing. The set list that evolved was fun. I hadn’t heard “It’s Alright Ma” in years!

That night he sang with joy! A couple who often follow Roger to all  his shows came up to me and said they loved the lower vocal range he was using. I didn’t tell them he had a cold because it might have dampened their enjoyment. They also told me that they decided to get married the next week right there in Massachusetts and Roger’s concert was the catalyst for the happy event!

After the Northampton concert, we had one more special minute. Since Roger was still coughing we decided not to inflict the friends that we were going to visit, but stopped at the beautiful Saybrook Point Inn, in Old Saybrook CT.

Two Rocking Chairs in the shade.

Our arrival on the beautiful June day was just in time to sit on two rocking chairs in the shade and watch a wedding. Marriage is a beautiful celebration. Our smiles stretched from ear to ear as watched from the officiator’s view of the couple committing their lives to each other. We were caught by surprise when the officiator came up to us after the ceremony and asked if Roger would sign their marriage license as a witness. It was a delightful and humbling experience. Within the course of two days our lives were touched by lovers sealing their love.

The day after the wedding, we had a "minute" to enjoy a rainy day lunch before driving to Phoenixville, PA for a return appearance at the Colonial Theatre on June 12, 2014 ... the theater used in the original filming of my first horror film "THE BLOB"
A rainy day lunch at the Saybrook Point Inn