Keep the Picture Close

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On October 21, I was blessed to see my favorite band, Two Door Cinema Club, in concert with my sister in Denver!  My husband surprised me with tickets last June.  Being a full time caregiver, my going out consists of books and coffee at my favorite coffee house, errands or some occasional shopping.  It had been years since I was able to get away by myself – for 4 nights!  I rented a car, a Nissan Sentra, plugged in my Two Door Cinema Club playlist and away I went!  It took me a couple of hours to relax and get used to not seeing anyone in the back seat.  I rarely go anywhere in a vehicle by myself so this was a new thing for me!  It was about the time I reached the wind farm by Judith Gap that it started to sink in that I was on a trip by myself!  Yes!

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Everything went smoothly until I missed the turnoff for Billings by Lavina.  I ended up close to Roundup so I was about 45 minutes out of the way.  I eventually made it to Billings, passed the ramp for I-90 only once and it was interstate all the way to my sister’s house.  I didn’t leave home until 2:00 so it was getting dark by the time I saw Billings in my rearview.  I continued to enjoy my tunes and had to turn them up louder once I reached I-25.  This portion of I-25 is straight and I was beginning to feel drowsy.  After almost hitting a huge porcupine and seeing only 4 deer along the entire drive, I made it to Douglas.

My sister, Sherry, and I had Sunday to relax before our big day in Denver.  She is a volunteer firefighter so she showed me around the station.  This gave me a visual of what she deals with and I really admire her and her husband, Pat, for what they do.  I had the privilege of meeting Sherry’s good friend, J.J., and her two wonderful sons.  I visited with my niece and nephew and briefly saw my brother-in-law between his workdays.  I went to bed that night very relaxed and thankful for family and new friends.

My niece and nephew, Alex & Jaryn
My niece and nephew, Alex & Jaryn
J.J. and her oldest son, Sill
J.J. and her oldest son, Sill

We left for Denver early and arrived in Fort Collins in time for lunch.  We ate at Mad Greens which was delicious.  It was located close to the university and the trees were golden with the light of autumn.  Once we got back onto the interstate, traffic started to become heavier and more lanes were appearing.  I am a Montana girl not used to city driving, so I had to keep telling myself to chill out.  We used Siri on my iPhone as we started to approach Denver.  My stomach started doing flip flops when downtown Denver came into view.  Next thing I knew, I could see Coors Field and we were approaching Colfax Avenue, which is where our hotel and the Ogden Theatre is located.  It went smoothly except for the old woman who drove her wheelchair into the middle of the intersection I was approaching and the red light I had to run because I didn’t even know it was there!  By the time we reached our hotel, I was nauseated, relieved and excited.  I kept telling myself, this is it!  I am actually going to see my favorite band tonight!

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We had plenty of time to walk down to a record store right next to the Ogden Theatre and grab a bite to eat at an Irish eatery.  We went back to the hotel and I could hardly sit still for all of the excitement.  We left early and there was already a line.  Most of the people in line had big X’s on their hands for under 21 and my sister and I were one of the few with over 21 bracelets on.

Me and Sherry
Me and Sherry

At one point while we were standing in line, we saw two guys run by that looked like they were straight out of the 70’s.  We laughed a little and continued waiting for the doors to open.  We were fairly close to the front of the line so we were able to stand in the front section.  We eagerly waited for things to start and I was surprised at how close we were to the stage.  I could hear a lot of excitement building for one of the opening acts, St. Lucia, who I had never heard before.

Peace
Peace

It was 8:00 and the opening act came out!  I looked at the lead singer and lead guitarist and my jaw dropped!  They were the two guys who ran by us earlier.  Come to find out, they were straight out of England – Peace was the name of their band.  They were very good.  We laughed at ourselves for not knowing who they were.  As St. Lucia’s turn was approaching, I could feel the energy in the crowd building.  Sherry and I had to hold our stance and keep our place in the front section.  The Ogden is smaller so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.  Only one guy tried to cut in front of us and Sherry pretty much told him where to go.  Not many will press their luck with her – she is tough as nails.

St. Lucia
St. Lucia

I am surprised to this day how much I remember about St. Lucia – their enthusiasm, energy, the music and more.  As I listen to Elevate at this moment, I feel like I am there.  Everyone of them looked so happy and full of life.  It was impossible to stand still as I watched the beautiful woman in front of me play the keyboards, shake the tambourine and jam out.  Once they were finished, the drummer threw out his drumsticks.  Some girls next to us were fighting over one and Sherry took her chance.  They all knew better than to try grabbing it back!  I am happy to say that it is safely sitting on my piano as I write this.

Alex Trimble of Two Door Cinema Club
Alex Trimble of Two Door Cinema Club

The set up for Two Door Cinema Club took the longest.  I could hardly contain myself.  The girls in front of us left to meet St. Lucia and next thing I knew, Sherry pushed me up into the spot they were in.  I was right up front!!!  The lights went out, fog began to rise and I could see them entering the stage.  My eyes started to water!  Next thing I knew, Alex Trimble was up there and the bassist, Kevin Baird, was right in front of us!  I could feel the music in every cell of my body and as I listened to the songs that were so familiar to me, I was amazed to see it all unfolding in front of me.  The music was flawless and I couldn’t stand still.  Sherry had to take most of the pictures because I couldn’t stop dancing!

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Sam Halliday played on the opposite side of the stage. He looked like he was having a blast!

Once it was over, Sherry and I could feel our age.  We were sore and tired.  That night I awoke around 3:00 and I still had adrenaline. It took me over an hour to go back to sleep.

We enjoyed the rest of our time in Denver at a cute consignment shop on Colfax and a small coffee house across the street.  The drive back to Wyoming was relaxing and the weather was beautiful.

The morning I left was so hard, as I knew it would be.  I cried in private as I packed and didn’t waste too much time leaving since I had a 9 hour drive ahead of me.  I kept myself together until I hugged my niece and nephew again.  I bawled as I said goodbye and Alex, my niece, said they were tears of joy.  I look back on it today and realize that she was right.  They were tears of joy for an experience I will remember for the rest of my life – the concert, the time with my sister and meeting new friends.  I took several pictures and will keep them close, saving them until I need them most.  I may not be able to do something like this again for some time.  My sons’ disease is progressive and I find them needing more and more help.  My husband is the greatest guy on the planet for taking such good care of them while I was away.  I may have been annoying for a while after I returned, showing off my photos and talking about the concert, but it’s only because I have given so much up since I left my career in 2005.  This more than made up for it and I will always be thankful!

Photo taken by St. Lucia
Photo taken by St. Lucia

Crocodile Rock

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When my oldest son, Christian, was in grade school, we went to my mother’s house for a visit.  Mom kept her old records down in the basement for years and Christian discovered them.  He asked me if they were giant CD’s.  We had a good laugh.  We explained to him about record players and how they work.  I think most of it went in one ear and out the other.  Those of us who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s probably owned a record player and a few records too.  I still have a couple of my childhood favorites:  Sesame Street Christmas and a Walt Disney record.  I played them countless times and knew every single word.  I was fortunate to be able to listen to most of my parent’s records also.  A favorite of mine was Crocodile Rock by Elton John.  I also enjoyed listening to my dad’s CCR record.  To this day, I know every word of Crocodile Rock.  The coolest record was a red record by Elvis Presley.  I think it was the soundtrack to the movie Girl Happy.  Neil Sedaka was another of my favorites.  Like many of you, I have cherished music throughout my life and I am excited to write more blog posts about it.

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I am thankful that Christian also enjoys music even though some of it sounds like “jungle music”.  I have kept an open mind and put some of his songs on my iPod – like music by Wiz Khalifa, Flo Rida, Mike Posner and other songs I would have never heard of if it wasn’t for him.  Music is a way for all of us to connect, even if we are generations apart.  What kind of music did you enjoy when you were young?

Ma Haney

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Years ago, my husband’s grandmother from Tennessee, Dona Haney, told me that I needed to write a book to tell of our everyday experience and struggles with muscular dystrophy.  I thought it sounded like a brilliant idea but something that I would need to hold off on for a while.  Well, maybe this could be the beginning!

Dona and Dave’s grandfather, Gene Haney, have driven all the way up here from Tennessee several times to visit.  They are in their 80’s and enjoy traveling.  Dave has always called them Ma and Pa.  Ma, despite her congestive heart failure and diabetes, has continued doing what she enjoys such as going to the Smokey Mountains, attending family reunions and weddings, traveling all the way to Montana and California and spending a lot of time with family.

Even though it was tiring and they had to stay in a hotel while they were here, Ma and Pa made it over for the boys GED graduation this past spring!  It was a wonderful time.

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Our neighbors, Len and JoAnn, came over to celebrate with us as they usually do for special events.  I was playing the Gene Autrey radio station on Pandora (since Len likes a little “C & W” as he calls it) and him and Pa were seeing who could guess what song was on.  It was great!

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Although Len and Pa had only spoken once before on a previous visit, they really hit it off!  People from their generation are more easy going I guess!

I wanted to share this with you because it was Ma who inspired me years ago to tell our story.  She is an inspiration to me in so many ways, Pa too.  They worked hard through life to earn everything they own, they are always willing to help others and they are a blessing.  Before they left this past spring, Pa’s advice to me was to not take life so seriously because it goes by too fast!  God bless and enjoy the rest of your Sunday all!

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