Tonight -- what a surprise!
Last week Caryn invited me to come over on Saturday, my birthday. “We want to take you out for your birthday. Come around 3-4 p.m.; we’ll leave around 5 p.m.”
Got here around 3 p.m. She had advised me to wear something 'nice' 'cuz we were going to dinner. So I did. Now it's about 5 p.m. and we're on our way. We drive and drive and it appears we are heading to Nashville.
Me --So what restaurant are we going to, anyway?
CJ -- Who said we were going to a restaurant?
Me -- Well, that's usually where you go to eat.
CJ -- Well, it doesn't have to be a restaurant, you know.
Me -- Huh? OK, so now I'm really confused. Hmmm.
But she continues driving towards Nashville and then I see Charlotte Avenue -- Oh, ok; we’re on the west and north side of downtown. More "Hmmm". I am totally wondering where on earth we are going.
CJ's phone rings and we take turns talking to Lisa. Jeff and Lisa sing Happy birthday on speaker. We hang up.
CJ -- Oh, by the way, we're all coming to your house tomorrow. For dinner. We're bringing it..
Me -- WHAT???
CJ -- Well, we were going to surprise you but I thought we'd better tell you in case you had made some other plans (they know what a social butterfly I am!)
Me -- OHMYGOSH! You Guys! No, I have no other plans. This is so great!
So she drives some more. And then turns down a street and starts to drive into this B-I-G parking lot. With a B-I-G building next to it. I look up. There is a Logo across the top of the building.
I gasp as I blurt out -- WHAT????
The Logo says "CabaRay".
I nearly fall out of the car/faint! This is Ray Stevens' new Venue. I watch his 30 minute show every Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. on PBS. I L-O-V-E this guy. Always have. He is a comedic musical genius.
I AM BLOWN AWAY With JOY!!!
This is ABSOLUTELY what you call a . . . C-A-P-R-I-S-E!!!(**)
So we go in and have an amazing delicious meal. And then, at 7:30 p.m. the show begins. Out comes Ray. Lookin’ and actin’ like he always did . . . and does.
And he sings and tells jokes and entertains us for close to 1-1-/2 hours. Of course, you KNOW what song he closed the show with, right? Right.
No? The Streak, of course . . .
The show is amazing . . . he is amazing . . . the energy . . . and musicality of his voice . . . at 79 years of age !!! . . . and flipping so perfectly into that perfect falsetto . . . (you remember Tarzan, the Guitar Man; right?)
I am in music/happy heaven. And he throws in a couple of love songs . . . and a couple of hymns before he’s done.
They told us when we arrived Ray would come into the bar area after the show to greet folks. So after the show we went there and waited. After about five minutes he walked in.
CJ took some pictures of me talking with him.
I told him he was a national treasure and that this had been a surprise dinner/concert for my 80th birthday because I was such a big fan. And I mentioned that my son John (***) had been in the music business for over 30 years and had been married to Jeannie C. Riley's daughter. (That because the venue had photos of Ray and so many musicians all over the walls and Jeannie's picture was up there with him in one of them).
And then we drove back home to Fairview.
WOW! Topping this would be hard.
(*) And this was one of the songs he sang, also (Johnnie Ray was my First Teen Hearthrob)
(**) What Tom called ‘surprise’ when he was little.
(***) John told me the next day that his sound company, Gopher It, had run sound for Ray at least once ‘back in the day’.
* * * * *And now it's the next day – the second surprise.
Caryn told me last night all 'the kids' were coming over after church and bringing all the food. So I knew that.
MAN . . . This party just keeps on keepin’ on. (Well, that’s what I tried to teach ‘em; keep on keepin’ on, I mean. Guess it worked.)
But now I’m pulling into my driveway and I see this red truck settin’ on the side of my yard (I’m a corner lot). “Wonder why some neighbor picked THAT spot to park? Odd . . . But Tom has a red truck. And it’s a Chevy. Like that one. Maybe he came a little early . . . “
So I pull into the garage and enter the house via the pantry/laundry room that leads into the kitchen. And the french door from the dining area that leads to the back porch is o . . . . pen . . .
OHMYGOSH!! It’s Tom . . . and John . . . and they’re standing on a board on a divided ladder and they’re hanging/nailing screening.
It’s happening. It’s really happening. The screened-in porch is getting F-I-N-I-S-H-E-D!!!
And the Birthday Joy just keeps on keeping on . . .
Once they got the screens done, John and J-Man (his son, Jeremy) went to Home Depot – I tried to go with them and argued and pleaded and stamped my foot a couple of times. I knew they were going to get a new screen door (the first one got broke a couple years ago) and I have a credit card with Home Depot – and it has a zero balance! 'No way, Woman. You’re NOT goin’!"
Later, I found out J-Man paid for the door.
Luckily, we checked the status of the gas tank (for the gas grill I only use when kids are around for gatherings) and it was nearly empty so they bought another tank of gas, also. I presume John bought that.
In the meantime, the younger kids – grandsons and great-grand kids are out in the yard playin’ catch.
Us girls are yakking and getting the food ready; hamburger patties to grill, salads, etc. and CJ and Becky begin spearheading a plan for a “girls week escape’’ for later in the year on St. George Island at a house on the beach where Caryn and Randy and the boys . . . and me . . . spent a week a few years ago. It was awesome great. 4 BR, with pool under the carport and . . . fifty feet of beach ending at the ocean edge!
She checked prices and availability and called and MADE THE RESERVATION! And we paid the deposit!!!
Good Times Just Keep on Keeping On . . .
Did I mention how much I love these ‘guys’ and how very blessed I have been and continue to be . . . I am one LUCKY MOM/Grandma/Great-Grandma.
(This one will be hard to top!)