He Said SLASH She Said, XI
Alternate Title: "Bullwinkle, That Trick Never Works!"
By Bullwinkle Worden, Rocky Bryant, MIA Borgh, and Run MC Litterio
Shane: in his best, but now newly tattered and rodent-chewed formal attire, takes the stage. The lights dim.... and he begins. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times... Hey, wait a minute! Haven't we already done this one? I don't suppose it's too early for Ebenezer Scrooge, is it? No? Okay then....forget the classics. Cuz believe me kiddies, there ain't nothin' classic about what happened to me leading up to this road trip!
Cindy: Are you whining AGAIN?
Shane: I'll make a long, and sadly brutal story short and say that the week leading up to my departure to meet Cindy in the Quad Cities prior to our trip to Lockport was less than thrilling. I arrived home from work that Wednesday afternoon to find my apartment a mess. Lamps tipped over, papers strewn everywhere, curtains hanging askew. The first thought that went through my head was that somebody had broken in and I was robbed. But that wasn't right, everything was still there...and then I learned the truth. Poking his head out from behind my couch was a frightened little squirrel that had managed to eat its way in the house first through a hole in my eaves outside, and then through some insulation paneling in my bathroom. What followed is something that probably would have looked right at home in one of the Monkee romps. It's pretty funny now, but it sure wasn't at the time. And what made matters worse is that it happened TWO days in a row before...um.... steps were taken (yeah, that's it)…
Cindy: Shanie, what is in that stew?
Shane: ...to take care of the situation. Just don't report me to Bob Barker.... All of this, mind you, while I was trying to pack for the road and get things squared away here. I wasn't sure whether I wanted to laugh or cry. I also wasn't sure whether or not I wanted to stick around to see what came next, either.
But come Friday morning I was found on my old trusty Greyhound bus, cell phone in hand, hoping that problems would clear up at home and that I wouldn't return to find a wildlife preserve in my living room. Most of our usual gang proved unavailable for this adventure, (though we DID miss you, Kimmi, Colleen and Bonnie--at least for a little while), so it was just Cindy waiting for me in the QC upon my arrival that night. After a drive-thru stop at Happy Joe's for pizza in Muscatine, we settled in at Cindy's place for the night for a few Monkee TV appearances, and the latest Stephen King movie. The film that gives the phrase "What's up your a$$" totally new meaning.
Cindy: You little...uh ...weasel!
Shane: Saturday turned out to be a picture perfect fall day.
MIA (Missing In Action) (AKA - Bonnie): Don’t remind me!
Cindy: Oops! Sorry!
Shane: Just a bit of a nip in the air, trees turning color all around...I really would have enjoyed taking a stroll through the neighborhood if we would have had more time. Then I remembered Cindy's neighbor, who on a fateful day back in 1997, nearly gunned me down and assaulted me on the spot, as I had "no business being there". Perhaps a stroll is not such a good thing, I think, and resign myself to packing the car and keeping to myself. Cindy, however, happened to be going through a bit of a tough time, as we were getting ready to leave. Not a good omen...(ya sure it wasn't the pizza...or the movie???)
Cindy: As we were packing the last bit of gear my stomach lurched. Oh, God! I told Shane to go ahead and get in the car and I ran back in the house and proceeded to get sick. I kept thinking I can’t do this, and I have to do this. After all Shane had endured Greyhound for this. By the time I got myself cleaned up and decided I was safe for the moment Shane was coming back to see what had happened to me. I had been working 13 day stretches and the stress of everything going on at work was just getting to me I think.
Shane: But eventually we get on our way, and after a stop for breakfast....a light breakfast, (a little snack?), at a local restaurant in Muscatine, we make our way over to the florists' in Bettendorf to pick out our customary bouquet of roses to have delivered backstage to David prior to the show. Due to a screw up on my part in regards to the rental car we were supposed to have, (Sorry, Cindy!), we wound up taking Cindy's "new" used car to the show, but it really worked very well for us and the miles flew by on the road, with a generous supply of good music to keep us occupied. On the way, we stopped by a convenience store for soda, where I discovered the latest citrus flavor of Altoids, which kept me stocked up in the sugar department all weekend long.
Cindy: I had just had the oil changed on the car and a new battery put in the week before so I knew it would be okay and a road trip was the perfect way to really test it out. Unfortunately two weeks after arriving home I had the oil checked and found that the guy who had changed the oil had not put the oil pan cap on and it is a wonder we didn’t blow the engine! But God is a Monkee fan and takes care of us all. No damage to the engine, thank goodness!
Shane: The going was really quite smooth for us until we came upon the turnoff on the highway that we needed, where, thanks to some road construction that was going on, slowed things down quite considerably. In fact, there was quite a long line of cars in front of us waiting for the same turnoff. Cindy wondered aloud where all these cars could possibly be going. I remarked that they all must have heard that David was in town.... Once we got into town in Orland Park, just a stone's throw away from the concert in Lockport, (well, according to Map Quest anyway, but more about that later), we found the hotel we were staying at pretty easily. Cindy parked the car in front of the entrance, and while she was getting the trunk unpacked, I went in to check us in and grab a luggage cart. Who would have guessed what happened next?!
MIA: You got another room with a canopy bed, Shane?
Cindy: No! A room with a view!
Shane: Let me preface this part of the story by saying that Janet Litterio, organizer extraordinaire of the Lockport show, couldn't have been nicer,
Janet: Thank you Shane! I like things well organized, well coordinated and professional.
Shane: or more sly, by directing us towards the hotel that she knew David, the band, Debbie Sunseri (who we hadn't seen in ages), and Susan Gerald would be staying at. She never came right out and told us anything *specifically*…
Janet: I told no one.... let me repeat this....I told NO ONE where Camp Jones would be staying. If you attended our show, you saw the school was in more of a rural area and there are not many hotels close by...thus not a lot of lodging to choose from. This establishment was the most convenient, I knew what the scenery would entail, but I told NO ONE where David and company would stay. I remained very professional throughout my endeavor!!!
Cindy: No you didn’t and to be fair we never asked. It is always nice to stay in the same hotel but that has never been our #1 priority. Somehow it always seems that we do but it is purely by coincidence. Even in Arlington Heights we had our hotel rooms booked over a month before Janet accidentally found out that was where David was staying.
Shane: but it became pretty obvious through the e-mails that she sent that this was the place she thought we would like the best. Not knowing the general area at all, we were happy to comply with her wishes. Cindy and I had a few sneaking suspicions that this was where Camp Jones was to be located, but we had no idea for sure until we got there...and I checked in....
Cindy: I believe the closest she came to spilling the beans was after Shane told her which one he had picked and Janet said she thought we would like the scenery at this hotel.
Shane: The first thing that I saw once I entered through the front doors of the hotel was a woman with medium-length black hair checking in at the front desk. I thought to myself as I approached that from the back, she really kind of looked a lot like Aviva Maloney. But don't be ridiculous, I countered in the back of my mind, you're only trying to fool yourself into thinking that everybody's here. That's when I reached the front desk and I nearly stopped dead in my tracks. (And you thought David was the one who got the stars in his eyes!) You guessed it; it was indeed Aviva checking in at the desk. I managed to catch my breath and say hello as I was paying for our rooms, and Aviva was very friendly.... said that she was glad to see us, and asked if we were there for the show. (But of course!) By the time she was on her way, I was checked in, and found a luggage cart for our stuff, there was a big ol' cat who ate the canary grin plastered all over my face.
Janet: Now you know how we feel when we run into David… and it truly IS coincidental when we do.
Shane: Cindy instantly knew that something good had to be going on, and I was all too happy to inform her of what had just happened. By the time we made our way to our own hotel rooms, and returned the luggage cart to the lobby, most of the band members were starting to check in. In fact, I came across Robey by the elevators. (Missed ya, Kimmi!)
After the two of us got settled into our rooms, we figured it was time for a little rest. It had been a busy day thus far, and without a great deal of sleep the night before.
MIA: No canopy beds at Cindy’s, huh Shane?
Cindy: No but there were no squirrels either!
Shane: So, after telling her that if I didn't call her first, she should call me, I headed to my room for a little siesta. It turned out that Cindy was the first one ready to go about 90 minutes later. She asked if I wanted to head down to the restaurant, located across the parking lot from the hotel, for lunch. That sounded like a good idea to me, so I headed over to her room and proceeded to knock on the door to see if she was ready to go...
Cindy: I needed some time to recoup. My tummy was still a little on edge but a shower and change of clothes made a big difference. I knew there would be “no time” for dinner so thought maybe we should get a “little snack” for lunch to tide us over. So I called Shane’s room and asked him if he was ready for lunch. He said he would be right over and knocked on the door a few minutes later.
Shane: That was when I saw somebody coming down the hall. And I'm sure you all have a pretty good idea of who it was.
Shane: Just as Cindy was heading to the door, I spy David and give him a quick little, "Hello".
MIA: Excuse me, Shane, but none of this would have happened if you would have used the proper syntax in your Emergency Response Plan, i.e.: “Oooh oooh!”
Shane: Now Cindy, who is on the other side of the door, still in her room (but about to open the door), really doesn't realize who I've just seen. Or, more to the point, she doesn't *believe* that I've seen who I have in the hall. At that precise moment, she thought I was trying to goad her, (Now I ask you, would I do a thing like that???)
Cindy: Oh, of course not!
Shane: … and as she answers the door, she is about ready to call me a lying sack of excrement (to be polite).
MIA: Oh, go ahead, Shane! Say it!
Shane: That is when she sees David for herself, realizes I was telling the truth, and in her flustered state, lets her door close behind her without a key on her person to get back in! Too funny!
Cindy: Of course I was cool about it so David wouldn’t know…or so I thought. Now I know he will know!
Shane: Our encounter with David in the hall was pretty short, but very nice, and extremely flattering. I really didn't understand a lot of what was going on, but thankfully Cindy did. David said something to the effect of: "I was going to write to you! I was reading the book, and it's so funny!" I really didn't understand what he meant by the "book"...but Cindy took instant understanding. He was referring to the newsletter, the very publication you now hold in your hands, boys and girls.
Janet: The pressure's on now as we KNOW who will be reading this. That's it for my contributions..bye, bye.
Shane: Cindy thanked him and told him that we have such a good time putting it together.
Cindy: Just as I opened the door with the intent of questioning Shane’s parentage, David literally stepped around the corner into view. I said, “Oh! Hi David!” He immediately said he had been about to write to me and began to search his memory as to why he was going to write. “Oh!” he said. “The book! The book! I was just reading it... it’s so funny!”
David once told Bonnie and I that the newsletter was “really something!” We were never quite sure what he meant by that or that he ever really read it, but we considered it quite a compliment. This took me totally by surprise.
Shane: No sooner than that happened, than David's elevator, right outside Cindy's door arrived, and he was off. How exciting was this? He likes us--he REALLY likes us! While Cindy found her composure, I went down to the front desk and got an extra key for her room, only to come back and find that she had a maid open it for her. Jeesh.
Cindy: Sorry Shanie!
Shane: I don't really know if Cindy still felt like lunch after that little encounter, but we did make our way downstairs and through the parking lot to the restaurant. Well, no sooner did we walk in the door than we discovered where David was off to when we saw him. This was deja vu all over again, with shades of our mealtime encounters at Burlington Steamboat Days and the Lady Luck with him instantly coming back to mind. Of course, we were seated about two tables away from him, which didn't help matters, either. We remained calm (slash) quiet (slash) respectful and proceeded to have our afternoon "little snack". The food was actually very good. Probably the only healthful food I had all weekend long. David and his party of assorted band-mates were already eating when we came in, so they of course finished ahead of us, and after a while left without a great deal of fuss. As David was leaving, a couple that was coming in at the same time gave him a bit of a double take, and wondered aloud to themselves if that was who they thought it was. We, of course, were happy to let them know it was. It's not often you run into Monkees at lunch… unless you're one of us, of course. The wait staff was pretty stoked to be waiting on David, too.
MIA: There you go again, Shane, with that smoking thing!
Shane: They had heard that he was in town, but certainly didn't expect him to be putting in an appearance at their establishment. It was great fun to see all the people react to his being there. It's part of what makes us fans, I think.
Janet: I knew I should have joined you for lunch when you called and invited me!
Cindy: Janet! Janet! Janet! How many times do I have to tell you…”Ya snooze, ya LOSE!”?
There is nothing I enjoy more than just sitting back and watching the dynamics of David’s presence and his effect on people in all sorts of situations. I love the look on people’s faces and the way they react.
Shane: Back in the hotel lobby after lunch, we ran into a few old friends. Deb Sunseri, Susan Gerald, photographer Mike Bush and his significant other.
MIA: Her name is Beverly.
Cindy: Not Susan!
Shane: We all shared an elevator, going to our respective rooms. Oh, did I mention that David was there, too? We were all so busy saying our hellos and chatting, that David went almost totally neglected. He just kind of stood at the front of the elevator and looked sort of lost.... it was kind of funny.
Cindy: It was actually very funny. We were so excited to see Debbie and Susan! We’ve known them for years and I hadn’t seen Debbie in forever! We got on the elevator chattering and hugging each other, and it wasn’t until the door closed that I even realized David was there too. He stood there in the midst of us like he was invisible… something I am sure doesn’t happen to him often. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him playing with the zipper on his sweater…up and down, up and down … like he was waiting for someone to notice he was there. It was so cute!
I mentioned to Debbie and Susan if we had known they were coming in when they did we would have waited and invited them to lunch. Shane said that the restaurant was pretty good and David added that it was reasonably priced.
MIA: It’s a guy thing.
Shane: After telling everybody that we would catch up with them later at the show, Cindy and I made a little bit of a side-trip to a nearby Wal-Mart for a few last minute items. Cindy picked out the perfect Sweetest Day card to go with the backstage flowers we had gotten in the QC, and I went off to find some film for my camera. With all my squirrel problems before my departure, I didn't have the extra time that I had hoped for to take care of that purchase before I left. Unfortunately, I discovered later that I had picked up the wrong kind of film for my camera. Thankfully, Cindy was able to give me a few extra rolls that she had and saved the day. Thanks again! (Just as a side note--and this is completely off topic--but Janet, we've been to a lot of cities and been in a lot of Wal-Marts, but I have never seen a store that was as completely nuts as that one was. There were people everywhere! What gives?)
MIA: Was there a blue-light special going on or is that K Mart?
Janet: That particular Wal-Mart is always as you saw it...completely nuts. Haven't figured WHY it's nuts, must be that people in Orland Park, Homer Glen and Lockport LOVE good deals!!! They roll back the prices ya know!
Shane: Back at the hotel, we chilled out for a little while, waiting for the time to come to get ready for the show. Cindy had placed a cell phone call in to Bonnie's voice mail, and told her to get back to us as soon as she got the message. Cindy couldn't wait to fill her in on all the details that had happened to us so far. Thank God for cell phones. I honestly don't know what we would do on these road trips without 'em.
Cindy: It may seem like a small thing…I’m sure David thought it was…but having David tell me that he read the newsletter and thought it was funny was huge to us, and I wanted so much to share it with my partner in crime, Bonnie Borgh. It is our sense of humor…
MIA: ...or lack thereof!
Cindy: which brought us together, and we hope you all think we are as funny as we think we are…. but in truth most of this stuff just writes itself. It was wonderful to hear that David thought it was funny also, and I wanted Bonnie to know.
MIA: It was so nice of you to leave me a message, Cindy SLASH Shane! I vividly remember checking my voice mail just as we arrived at the reception at 1700 hours. (Are we still on military time?) Hannah fell totally asleep in the backseat, and Craig went in to the reception building. I told him I would be in shortly as soon as Hannah woke up. Meanwhile, I thought it was a great opportunity to see if I had any important phone calls. After about fifteen minutes, Craig came back out to the car. Of course, there were roaming dollar signs in his eyes. Craig said, “Who are you calling?” I said, “Excuse me, but I am missing a very important occasion! I’m talking with Cindy!” With Cindy’s wonderful imagery, I felt as if I were there. You’re not the only one, Shane, who was confused by the term “book”, but I’m glad Cindy understood. I, too, was proud and just a little bit humble to hear that David actually read our newsletter and found it “so funny”. As Cindy said, our stories just write themselves, but it is nice that our humor was publicly acknowledged and appreciated. I also remember verbatim when David said, “Your newsletter is…really something.” At the time, I was not sure if he meant it was “really something” good or “really something” uncertain. I love creative writing, and coupled with my passion for The Monkees, it’s just “Good Clean Fun”.
Shane: After Bonnie gave us a return call, and we got our things together to take with us to the show, it was about time to go. Listening to David talk with Mike Bush earlier on, we knew that he and the band were planning on leaving for the venue around 7:00. We wanted to leave about a half hour earlier, so we would be sure to be there when he got there. The main reason being that we wanted our flowers and card to be waiting backstage for him when he arrived. Well, there's an old story about the best-laid plans of mice and men....
We did indeed leave the hotel at 6:30. But we wound up taking the wrong direction on the road we needed to take us into Lockport. After about 20 minutes of aimless driving, and after we crossed Cicero Ave., (a main street in Chicago--not in Lockport), we knew that things were hinkey.
MIA: Excuse me? Is that word in Webster’s?
Shane: So we stopped off at the nearest gas station for directions. The guy inside couldn't have been less helpful. I don't mean to sound racist, but this guy was the stereotypical middle-eastern "Simpsonesque Apo Quickemart" person that there ever could be. His English was poor; his sense of direction even worse. The best I could get out of him was that this was only his 2nd day on the job, and maybe I should look at a map. (Well, duh--we had maps in the car, but little good they were doing US!)
Cindy: The longest 10 miles I have ever driven! Maybe it was because we were under the gun. At least we got turned around BEFORE we ran into Lake Michigan!
Shane: Frustrated, we turned the car around and headed back the way we came. Our initial plan was to just stop back at the hotel and ask which way we needed to head, when I noticed that the numbered streets were increasing, which was what we wanted, so I convinced Cindy to just keep on going. The biggest problem in finding where we needed to be *this* time was that the directions to the venue that I had looked up on the internet via Map Quest, while accurate street-wise, were not accurate mile-wise...i.e., Map Quest said that it was about a ten mile trip from the hotel to the high school, when in all actuality, twenty still may be an under-estimate. A little worried once we passed the ten mile mark in the *other* direction, we stopped at yet another convenience store. But at least this time the people inside were a lot more helpful, and told us that we were indeed heading the right way and told us what to look for. Much relieved, we kept on going and shortly after found the high school without any trouble. But unfortunately, David and company had arrived way ahead of us by this time, so our plans of having something waiting for him had to be scrapped. Thankfully, though, we ran into Tom Litterio, Janet's husband, almost right away, and he was able to get our stuff back to him just as soon as we got there.
Janet: We had a very clear chain of command when David was present in the building. At that point, none of our volunteers had access to the dressing rooms, so it was up to me to deliver the flowers. Tough job, but hey, someone had to do it! When I gave David the flowers and the card his face lit up like a child on Christmas morning. He was delighted. He opened the card immediately. We chatted briefly, and I am still stunned by some of his very astute observations.
Shane: Cindy and I met up with a lot of friends, both new and old, before the show. It's always nice to see some familiar faces in the crowd. David has a very loyal following, and after a while, one tends to start seeing a lot of the same people at many of his shows. Shortly after we found our seats, we spied Janet making the rounds with her family and friends close by. We quickly had a chance to say hello to her, and if there is one thing about this trip that I regret, it's that we didn't have more of an opportunity to chat, even though both Cindy and I sincerely realize how crazy busy things had been for her, organizing this concert.
Janet: There were few people I actually had an opportunity to chat with. Crazy busy is putting it mildly...but all the work was WELL worth it. I appreciate your understanding my lack of time to chat.
Cindy: As my niece observed at age 4, “ A woman’s gotta do what a woman’s gotta do!”
Shane: We did meet some of Janet's close friends and family, seated in our same row, and heard some very interesting stories about her "wild days" as a kid. Three nuns indeed!
Janet: I can only imagine what stories they shared with you...you must have paid them some good hush money, as none of them will admit to anything!
Cindy: Actually your …ah …”brother” told us HE was the trouble maker and you were a “nun!” I ain’t buyin’!
It was really nice to see some new PFG members and visit with so many new people this time around. Everyone was incredibly nice! As Micky would say there was a broad demographic slice of humanity here… little girls with their mothers and grandmothers and quite a few men.
Shane: Then the moment arrived--it was show time!
Janet: See, no one even remembers my feeble introduction...guess I can't quit my day job!
Shane: Dave Alexander came out to start the one-by-one band introduction bit that has become a mainstay of the show in past months...and I am proud to say that Aviva *still* does a little bit of everything! Then David was introduced, which brought the whole house on it's feet, and sent the excitement level into the stratosphere.
I'll not recount the entire concert or set list myself, as I know that Cindy and Janet can do a much better job at that than I, but I will recount a few things about the show that stood out for me. It was nice to hear the two "new" songs that we were treated to in Arlington Heights over the summer again here. I think these songs...especially "Bright Side Of The Road", really showcases David's taste and stage presence. (How I wish, however, that David will be brave enough someday to try out some more of his own original material.) Jones also did something here that I had only seen one other time before, almost a year ago in Peoria. About halfway through the concert, he decided to have a seat on one of the amplifiers by the edge of the stage and talk with the audience in that manner for a few minutes. It seems kind of simple, or perhaps even odd, to write that down on paper in just that way. But to my mind, words can't express how neat it was to see him do something like that. It gives his entire show a whole different feel, sort of like what it would be like to have a close friend performing for you and talking to you in front of everybody. It's really a nice touch, and I hope that's something he continues to do in his shows.
MIA: Perhaps the “Sermon on the Amp” was repeated for the parishioners?
Cindy: Bonnie I missed my secretary! The set list was as follows:
Band Intro (Listen To The Band)
Little Bit Me, Little Bit You
Valleri (followed by Aviva’s PMS joke)
Look Out Here Comes Tomorrow
Papa Gene’s Blues (one of my favorites - David does a really nice job with this one!)
Brady Bunch Theme
Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby (another favorite!)
She Hangs Out
I Wanna Be Free
Love You Forever
(Thank you to Janet and Tom Litterio, introduction to the band, Meatloaf and Archie and Edith)
Bright Side of the Road (This was the second time we have heard David do this Van Morrison tune, and he has really made it his own. I LOVE this one! David keep doing it!)
Nice To Be With You
Wasted Days and Wasted Nights
(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone
I’m A Believer
Shane: Of course, this was Sweetest Day, and there were several points in the show where the love-struck girls all came up to the stage to hand Jones flowers and cards. Those instances were most prevalent during the more familiar ballads...especially "Girl".
Cindy: Thanks to Janet, David was bombarded with purple flowers, which could be bought in the lobby!
MIA: From what I understood, there was purple everywhere! You Go Girl!
Janet: Yes, purple was everywhere! What other color could we have used to host the Host of "Meet the Royals?" It's not easy being purple, you know!
Cindy: Yeah, sometimes it’s a “royal” pain!
Shane: But for the most part, the audience was very well behaved, and with the exception of a few over-zealous fans who felt it necessary to yell out to him while he was trying to tell stories onstage in between songs, the crowd reactions were very nice, and very respectful of everybody else in the audience. Cindy and I kept a very careful record of the set list, which I am sure you'll find either somewhere in this story or elsewhere in this issue.
Cindy: Ahem Shanie! Look up!
Shane: I must tell you that it's quite a job taking notes, taking pictures, and enjoying the concert all at the same time. I don't know how Bonnie does it! (Missed you too, Bonnie!)
MIA: It’s all in a days work! I have learned over the years not to tap your foot or sing along to the songs whilst you’re trying to take pictures. It’s the quickest way to blur a photo. You don’t know how much I missed being there, too. I’m sorry, Janet! Same Time Next Year! I promise…there will be no weddings, no funerals, no bar mitzvah’s, ZILCH!
Janet: Even though there wasn't much time to chat with anyone in particular, I wished you were there Bonnie. However, I did wear the 'Janet' bracelet you sent me, and just when I needed the Altoids you included in my survival package, they were not on my person. I'm not complaining though!!!!
Shane: All too soon came the strains of "Daydream Believer". Cindy and I looked at each other when that started, and we really didn't have to say a word. That song always signifies the beginning of the end, and it's always a "sweet sorrow" to hear it at David's shows. This song, combined with the encore of "I'm A Believer" and "No Time", (always a good closing number!), brought the house on it's feet yet again, and sent the masses soaring up to the front of the auditorium. The show ended on a great, upbeat vibe, and I think everybody had to have left that night feeling happy that they had been a part of that evening's festivities.
Following the show, I had a chance to peruse, (had to throw that word in at least once for Colleen, lest she think I didn't care), the merchandise table, where I was able to get my hands on one of only a few autographed posters from one of David's book signings that were being sold. (Nor was that the only signed poster I would walk away from this weekend with, but more about that in a minute.) After a few minutes of milling around and chatting with friends, it was time to reluctantly call it a day and head back to the hotel. As Cindy and I left, we had an opportunity to briefly chat with a very nice older couple making their way to their car, who had seen the show and were absolutely impressed. It's always nice to note all the people, young and old, who enjoy this kind of thing, and appreciate it like we do. As we were making our way out of the parking lot, we noticed the limo outside which was now being filled with the Jones entourage no doubt, and Cindy wondered how funny it would be if it happened to just follow us all the way back. And then, once were within a few blocks of returning, she noticed a funny white car directly behind us, not knowing it was a limo! It turned out not to be HIS limo, (there were a lot of weddings going on in town, as the majority of the hotel's occupancy was a good indication of), but we had a good laugh out of that all the same.
Cindy: I am glad it wasn’t his limo. We run into the poor man by accident so much…. And David if you ARE reading this it truly is by accident…
Shane: Back in Cindy's room, we chilled out for just a little while, watched a little bit of Ocean's Eleven, (Viva, viva, viva...Las Vegas!), and called it a day. It had been a long, but very thrilling and enjoyable day. Besides, knowing our individual waking habits, (being the early birds that we are because of our jobs), we knew that we would be up and at 'em bright and early the next day.
I was actually the first person downstairs at the continental breakfast at about quarter of six, though Cindy joined me soon afterward. For a while, we were treated to the obnoxious musings of a group sitting nearby us who were too wide-awake and chipper than any human being had a right to be at that time of morning. Even the hotel staff were giving them curious little glances here and there. Thankfully, they moved on soon enough, and left Cindy and I to our own devices until various members of David's band came down and started checking out a short time later. I was discussing my squirrel dilemmas with Cindy when Dave Alexander happened past as he was going through the "chow line" and overhearing, shot me a curious little glance. I explained to him what had happened prior to the trip, and he responded by saying that he knew what that kind of situation was like, too. So Dave, if you're reading this, all's well that ends well, though I hope that never happen again! The band was on their way soon enough, and it was time for Cindy and I to get our things packed up for our return trip home, as well.
Janet: I had every intention of meeting you both for breakfast at the hotel. However, I was SO tired, there was little I could do on Sunday except smile:-)
Shane: It didn't take me long to get my things together, so after I got myself situated, I went and got the luggage cart again and stopped by Cindy's room. While she was getting her things together in the bathroom, I happened to prop the hotel room door open for no particular reason, and wouldn't you know, shortly thereafter I spy David passing by the room on the way to the elevators. I quickly motion to Cindy, thinking this might be our only chance to say goodbye to David, so we quickly had a few words with him in the hallway. Cindy asked him if he was headed back to Beavertown. He said he was, but that one of his horses would be racing in Charlotte, NC (I think that's right), later that week. He seemed very proud that his horse had just finished 3rd in a recent outing. Then Jones was off to the breakfast downstairs, while Cindy and I finished loading the luggage cart.
On our way to the front desk to check out, we noticed that David was milling around the breakfast area pretty much unobserved. As I noted earlier, there were a lot of weddings going on at this particular hotel that weekend, and I doubt that too many people even realized that there was a Monkee in house. A few people did, though...one of them was a nice hotel employee who was in charge of keeping the continental breakfast going. We had talked with her briefly earlier that morning, and she had mentioned that she was hoping to get a chance for an autograph. On the way to check out, realizing an opportunity that I didn't have when we were in Arlington Heights earlier this year, I approached Jones about signing a poster that I had been toting around with me. Now let me explain a little something about this poster--it has had quite a history. It's just one of those old fold-in things that came with one of the Japanese vinyl albums that I have, it's gotten a little battle weary from all the travel, but it's pretty compact and easy to carry around with me. Plus it has kind of taken on it's own personal challenge over the years as to whether I would ever get it signed. I think I have brought it with me to about 4 or 5 different road trips over the past few years, and each time there hadn't been an appropriate opportunity to get the darned thing signed. But this time, noticing that Jones was alone, and didn't appear to be in a big hurry, and with Cindy's blessing, I walked up to him and asked him for the autograph. And of course, he was happy to oblige. That's when the nice hotel employee took her cue, as well, and got her signed little something. The smile on her face really told the whole story there--that would be something to go home and tell the kids about.
Cindy: Normally I am pretty adamant about not disturbing David…especially at meals but Shane has been so patient about getting that poster signed, and David had been so nice that I told him to go ahead this time. As we stood there talking to David I saw the hotel employee who had wanted an autograph and told David she had also wanted one and she was off grinning ear to ear to get something for him to sign. Later she told me he was sooooo nice…. yeah I know! While she was off David made small talk…how far were we from home? I told him it was a two and a half hour drive, and he didn’t think that was too bad.
MIA: Compared to most of our trips! Radius is not a word in our vocabulary!
Cindy: I told him it was such a lovely day I would enjoy it immensely. He said he found himself driving more and more these days, too. Hey, David it is only 5 turns from your house to mine! Okay it is about 800 miles too!
MIA: I say, “Come on down! The Price Is Right!”
Cindy: We said our goodbyes and he said he hoped to see us again soon.
MIA: Heavy sigh!
Shane: Shortly after that nice little encounter, and after checking out of the hotel, Cindy was nice enough to sit and wait with me in the lobby while I waited for what I thought was the right time to call a cab to take me to the bus station I wanted to start my journey home from. The nearby town of Joliet was only a short ride from our hotel, and I figured that starting home from there would be a lot easier than going all the way back across Illinois again. While we were waiting, we saw Debbie and Susan loading up their things and getting ready to leave, and being the friendly folks that they are, they came and talked with us as well while I waited to call my cab, too. It had been a very long time since we had seen Debbie at a show, so it was wonderful to catch up with her. Both Debbie and Susan have such busy lives outside of this Davy Jones stuff, that I honestly don't know how they do it. After a bit, David's limo pulled up, and we amused ourselves watching a little boy run outside to get an autograph for his "gramma", who was nervously watching from in the lobby. Too cute. Shortly after, David was gone until the next go-round, and then things really did feel like they were winding down.
Cindy: Shanie Shanie Shanie! What happened was the GRANDMA ran out and got the autograph for the little boy - that was what was so hysterical. He showed it to his mother and she sent Grandma back out to get one for her! David has always had a soft spot for little old ladies! It was so cute!
Shane: At about quarter after ten, I had the front desk call my cab. The bus that I needed to get me to downtown Chicago from Joliet was due in at 11:20, so I figured that this was plenty of time to get me to where I wanted to go. But I figured wrong. I knew things were bad when the front desk told me that the cab could take up to 45 minutes to show up. Now, the front desk staff had already told me when I checked in that I would need to give some advanced notice for a cab, but I never realized that I needed that much time! But there was nothing I could do about it by then but sit and wait and hope for the best. So I returned to the lobby by Cindy, Deb and Susan and waited. And waited. And waited. After a half hour, I really started to get nervous. (Sorry if I looked a little out of sorts, ladies, but I was getting frazzled!) Finally, the darned thing shows up at quarter to 11. After saying some really quick goodbyes to everyone, I hopped in, and we took off.
I have had some good cab drivers in my day, and some bad ones, (just like the Greyhound drivers!). This guy was one of the bad ones...he was constantly smoking some of the worst smelling cigarettes I have ever had the displeasure of dealing with, plus he had an equally foul mouth to go along with it. But what could I do? Demand another cab? Yeah, right. Thinking I still had enough time to make Joliet, I told him where I wanted to go, only to learn ten minutes later that he wasn't familiar enough with the streets in Joliet, and that he would have to radio in for directions to where I needed to go in town. The guy on the other side of the radio wasn't very helpful; he couldn't even find the street on any map. Not a good sign. Plus we were running late as it was. Once we passed a sign that said "Joliet, 15 miles", and it was already past 11, I knew that I was screwed and just had him turn around and take me *all the way* into downtown Chicago to the bus station there. (At least he knew where that was.) This was probably the most expensive cab ride of my life, the cost of which I do not care to relate in these pages, but beggars can't be choosers, so they say. Thankfully, I got to the Chicago station in plenty of time for my connection, and counted myself thankful for that much and just paid the piper. No education is free, and should I find myself in this neck of the woods again, there will definitely be some things I'll do differently.
Cindy: I am so sorry that your cab ride was such a nightmare Shane! At least you had lots of good memories and a signed poster to show for it!
Shane: The rest of the ride home went pretty smoothly. I gave Cindy a couple of calls on the cell phone during the trip home to let her know I was okay, as I know that she was worried about my travels, too, and by early evening I was back at home again in an apartment which thankfully was still rodent-free. It was amazing to me how much we did in such a short period of time this time around. The trip started out on a Friday morning, and by Sunday night I was back home again. Considering that a lot of my time was spent on the road for this outing, it seemed pretty amazing to me. I was certainly glad to have been a part of this show, though, and as always I have my many PFG friends to thank for it. Cindy, of course, Janet (and Tom, too), who worked so tirelessly to put this show together...Debbie and Susan who are always so nice...Kimmi, Bonnie and Colleen, while not with us physically were there in spirit...and of course David and da band, without whom none of this would be possible. Thanks to one and all--let's see what the New Year brings.
MIA: Oh come let us adore him!
Cindy: Whenever 2 or more of us are gathered in his name…
Shane: Who knows where we may be going next!
MIA: Do you think maybe he’ll be comin’ to our town again?!?
Cindy: I have said this before, and I will say it again…now that I know David is reading: The real gift that David has given us…that the Monkees have given us…besides the music and the laughter, is each other. Had it not been for them, Shane would be in Oshkosh, Janet in Chicago, Colleen in St. Louis, Kimmi in Huxley, Bonnie in Bettendorf, and me in Muscatine; and my life would not have been as blessed as it is with such wonderful friends. We would all be so close and yet so far. I cannot imagine life without these dear friends and the memories we have shared because of the Monkees. No, Micky, it is not brain surgery. It’s much much more! I hope that all of you reading this are equally blessed, and when you are out there Monkeeing around, try not to take it or yourselves too seriously. Remember to laugh at the slammed doors and the squirrels, jump on the beds, and eat lots of candy (right Kimmi and Hannah?!), and spend as much time as you can with the people you love. That’s what it is all about!
MIA: That’s what it’s all about, Charlie Brown. I’ve said it time and time again that our love for The Monkees (and each other) is no different than having season tickets to pro football games (all across the country) and tail-gating before or after every game. The only difference is that we do not paint our faces purple. We have had some “Incredible” memories. We have been so blessed to meet each other and share our unique but common interest. People say we Monkee around, but we’re too busy singing, to put anybody down!
Cindy: Hmmm…… faces… .purple…… paint……
Janet: I'm the newest member to all this, so I want to add my thanks to David for continuing to share his gifts with all of his fans. And also to thank you for the gift of bringing people together that would not have otherwise met if it wasn't for our common thread of being your fans. I was truly honored to be able to host this show. It was an experience I will remember forever. I'll still be talking about it when we're all in the new rest home "All Jones, All The Time." Thank you David, I will always remember your kindness as well as your music.
Cindy: Until next time…..
And in absentia ….