Friday, June 8, 2012


It had been a bad week.
My grandson ,Zacl, had a secret, he did not tell his parents that on his upper thigh he had something growing.
It was the size of a baseball. When we found out, I freaked out. I am known for inventing worries.
This was a real one. The surgeon said he had no idea what this was. He did not reassure , my daughter Brie had a stiff upper lip when she talked to me. I know her better. She was devastated and frightened thinking that none of the drs had told her that "it would be ok".

Zack was scheduled for in hospital surgery.

It was for June 6th.
I had a date on June 6th. Something I had waited for ...maybe forever...thinking I would never see a concert with Neil Diamond.
He was getting up there in age and possibly out of favors with the young.

I just could not see going when my giant baby (he is 6 feet 6") would undergo surgery.
His mother insisted that there was nothing I could do.
"Go, away, Mom and enjoy". She said. How could I do that? Is she nuts?

We would know early enough in the morning and then we could decide on the last minute.


A friend emailed me this morning, the 8th, and asked to give me all the details of my trip.
She got more words than she needed and here they are again:

TO: 1 recipient
Show Details
Hi Friend,
Wednesday: waiting and waiting to hear from hospital, I was not yet sure I would go to Atlanta even if there was nothing I could do.
Rhonda was late...good so.
Then Brie called and I heard in her voice the tears and the relief.
All was well. Then a couple of hours later Zack called from the car:"Meme, I am sleepy but I am just fine"
I am on my way home and bed.
OK Zack I love you Bye Bye.
I cry from relief and joy. This is my baby too. Nobody better forget that.
We are sort of tied to a second umbilical cord. We always have.

Then waiting anxiously for Rhonda.
Bobby anxious about his car which he loans us.
The car has not seen a highway and speed in 4 years, she needs a good 70 mi;les an hour blow out.
I am on pins and needles for our to see the show BUT...
Rhonda can get upset over the smallest short sentence you just let out of your mouth and it
becomes a tsunami, destroying the last 50 years of her life.

I very seldom crave alcohol but right now I would like a stiff drink and relax my tangled nerves.

I know my way by heart, we have been to Atlanta hundreds of time to the Merchandise Mart and to
work in Antique shows. All is downtown. Nice town, dangerous at night.
She wanted me to Google the trip , Bobby does not want a GSP in his car, so I better stay awake
and tell her where to go.
En route we have a Cracker Barrell Luncheon and all goes well.
The car is smooth and very comfortable much better then my Tercel, the gas needle does not move from the "F".
So now I make up something new tp worry about :"Maybe the gas gadget is no longer working so we better tank up soon"
I look at the miles and we only have done 50 miles so far....maybe..just maybe...tells me my
brain....maybe you still have a pretty full tank...RELAX, OLD BIRD, RELAX.

Rhonda puts in a Diamond CD ,one I just purchased at Walmart for 7.00, I figured they will be double at the show.
The CD sounds is horrible, copies from his 1976 get what you pay for.

We exchanged stories of her childhood and then mine, when I reach my grandfather's bio we see signs for downtown
Atlanta. Hot-tlanta, they call it here.

I had never paid attention to the South let alone Atlanta while I lived in the Santa Cruz Mountains, I was in heaven there and nothing else interested me much.
Then we decided (read Bob) to move to Southern Spain and we flew from NY to Malaga, next to Rhonda was a Southern
"Gentleman" a lawyer who seemed to be able and hold his many drinks on this 9 hour flight. I do not mean Coca Cola either (the Atlanta drink). He invited us to his hotelthe next day to have a luncheon and a party ride to Marbella.
Obviously he had the green dollars and was adored by the tourist employees. During that lunch I learned about
Atlanta, his version in April 1970.
"We have a gorgeous golf course, probably the best in America. We will one day have the largest airport because Atlanta is going to be BIG so along the route to the airport are all these nigga's shacks and they have to be thrown out. We do not want visitors to see that horrible mess."

I had not lived in the South. Lived in New Jersey and liberal California. I could not understand the venom in this man's heart.
He was Mister generosity, took the girls to the best jeweler and bought them 18 ct bracelets with charms of Spain.
For 5 years we stayed in contact with him but he started to age rapidly and acting weird at times and the friendship faded....But I never forget that introduction to Atlanta. I could excuse him a tiny bit he had grown up in a plantation.

This Atlanta now is booming, Hilliard was right about that. From every angle that you come into the city the 5 and 6 lanes are bordered by bill boards, no shacks. Turner had a lot to do with the growing of Atlanta and the sports...lord this is football and baseball country. Also a city for the young, I have gay friends here but they have their own society, this is not San Francisco YET. I went into a sport store trying to find something for Bobby like a Tshirt for hockey. They looked at me like they heard it thunder in Berlin. Say what? hock-ey? No , Mam, nothing like that here. Give him a Braves shirt...No thank you he does not know about the Braves like you do not know about Hockey and the Stanley Cup!!!!!!( I utter bad words like idiots...)
Since I am deaf I am told that I growl rather in loud tones...who cares I will never come to this store again.

Rhonda is not sure of my directions but I bring her right to the exit for the Merchandise Mart and at the end turn right and you have to be blind not to see CNN and nestled into the CNN complex is our hotel the Omni and the Phillips Arena where Diamond no doubt is checking it all out right now.
Every hotel now has Valet parking which costs you 30 bucks for one night, lord we used to have motels along the California Mission trail for 30.00. I was lucky I reserve with Expedia and get some points for later trips and found a room on sale at the Omni for 135.00 which at the end means 158.00 plus Mr. Valet. I am thrilled. Rhonda has been here before at a Medical convention when she was married to Dr.Jim and the pharmaceutical crooked giants paid for everything.
501 is our room. We enter and Rhonda ALWAYS has to have a fabulous view. Well, fabulous it is if you bend your head around a bit and you see the towers but right under you, you see metal roofs of other CNN parts.
I knew she would not like it. I do not give 5 cents for a view but love a good mattress and a nice clean bathroom.
I am already figuring that the bottled water I brought is not going to stay cold as they do no0t have a refrigerator
and no microwave, they do have a hair dryer, nice soap ,iron and ironing board and a safe.
Rhonda goes in and out and figures there is a smell she does not like (read roofs) she calls the desk and tells them she can't handle the smell in the room. They say:"Meet us at 801", we will exchange for you.

801 has the same furniture and all BUT had the most fantastic view of Atlanta that you could ever ask for.
The whole wall is a window giving out to Olympic park, fountains with kids playing in the hot Atlanta sun, lovers on blankets with snacks and beer. Rhonda is smiling from ear to ear, no doubt we are in an upgrade for the 135.00
I probably have returned an item to the store, probably 2 times in my life and that is since I have grown small little balls and no longer being called "the friendly door mat". I am "hard" now. (if you say so) I have been known to be afraid to return a small size dress when I take an extra large because the girl at the counter mixed them up. So the small then went to the goodwill for a tiny person.

We have to eat but I look at the menus in the Omni hotels and my budget is not going to cut this, I am already $500 in the red
with my tickets and hotel ,Rhonda is not afraid to ask the maitre D if there are other restaurants. He smiles ,he has seen cheap skates before, he is not obnoxious , thank the lord, he says take the elevator to the ground floor there is a food court with 25 fast food places....thank you sir. I am beaming. Fast food it is, so she picks her fave and I pick mine and we sit in this
round noise look up at the newsroom, see tourists of every nation in the world and I think about Hilliard. I am wondering if he would like to see the black, white, yellow, skins and find this to be OK for his Atlanta. He just may turn around in his grave but then he told me also that he adored his nanny, she brought him up and she was not white.

The clock ticks and we have to get dressed, I now know what concerts are like, it is jeans and later we saw mote women in shorts rather than jeans. Neil did ask the audience :"Do you have your jeans on?" the audience yells :YES and he starts the drumming of his guitar and sings about the " forever in blue jeans" we get up and wiggle the hips in our seat space.
The place was packed and to my surprise few grey haired ladies, a lot of men too. A LOT of young girls in their twenties and they know all the words to the did good Neil Diamond, you wrote the Monkeys their first hit and you got then paid for the first time in your song writer career.

Neil does not have the best pipes in the world, Neil tells a story, you understand every word, you start to feel the story, you know you have been there when he utters a phrase of someone leaving you, he sings from the heart. He sings like he never sang this before, it is warm ,it is fuzzy, he is a soft man, he touches me.
He is on stage for 3 1/2 hours, no intro by other singers. He has a very large band, they have been with him for 30 years. The back ups are 3 girls and one of them does the solo he did with Streisand, "you don't bring me flowers anymore". It was touching.
She had pipes. I wait and wait and I know I am going to be mad if he does not sing my song.
Rhonda knows, she looks at me and smiles, she has been crying too with some of his songs, my cheeks are wet.
A photo of a young person flashes on the screen...I know it is is his grandmother on the boat on her way to America....I get chills as I write this....honest , I is my song, it is my life...

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We've been traveling far
Without a home
But not without a star

Only want to be free
We huddle close
Hang on to a dream

On the boats and on the planes
They're coming to America
Never looking back again
They're coming to America

Home, don't it seem so far away
Oh, we're traveling light today
In the eye of the storm
In the eye of the storm

Home, to a new and a shiny place
Make our bed, and we'll say our grace
Freedom's light burning warm
Freedom's light burning warm

Everywhere around the world
They're coming to America
Every time that flag's unfurled
They're coming to America

Got a dream to take them there
They're coming to America
Got a dream they've come to share
They're coming to America

They're coming to America
They're coming to America
They're coming to America
They're coming to America
Today, today, today, today, today

My country 'tis of thee
Sweet land of liberty
Of thee I sing
Of thee I sing

Are you not sorry you asked about my trip?
Rhonda behaved, the car was a dream cost me $38.00 for 425 miles

I am so glad I went.

In Hockey the LA Kings COULD HAVE won on Wednesday evening and I never missed
the last game for the cups ceremony.

Bobby was not happy that I was not going to be with him.
After the show I asked Rhonda to sit in the sports bar and see if I could see the ceremony
we found a table I had an exotic drink with Grand Marnier in it sipped it twice and
was tipsy, I was relieved, Zack OK, Rhonda OK, car OK, I sang (off key) the words to
my song with the man who wrote it for his grandmother. I was deliriously content and
getting drunk. On the screen nothing but basketball, Rhonda said to the waiter we want hockey,
he knew what that was and turned it to the end of the game.
The LA Kings obliged and did not win, the NJ Devils won so for the cup it stands at 3-1
the one who wins 4
games gets the cup. Kings were Gretzky's home, they need this so they
lost the game so I could sit tomorrow and watch the whole thing. How very
accomodating for them to do that.

Rhonda did not have to carry me in the elevator..I was still crying from emotions of a BIG day.
we came into the room and saw dark Atlanta looking like a Christmas display of a very large city.....
I will send photos...
love you
PS I did not reread this I am too tired still to work on full cylinders.

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