Home Again – By Heart

Nana had a glass candy dish . . .

One of my earliest memories is the sight of it sparkling on a little table in her parlor.

It was usually filled with Canada Mints.


As a very young child, whenever I’d visit Nana’s house, there were three things to relish:

First, the moment I came through the door – she’d be waiting. She’d gather me into a big hug, my cheek at apron-level, and we’d both let out little squeals of delight.

Second, an ever-present aroma of something wonderful cooking on the stove.

And finally, there was that candy dish!

I was fascinated by the fact it was always so accessible! This was not the case in my own home, where my mother had a few small children and probably felt that unattended candy could be a choking hazard.

But at Nana’s, you could have a piece any old time you wanted! Her only admonition: “Don’t take more than a few – you’ll get a stomach ache!”

Gosh, I loved those Canada Mints!

Recently, I thought about them and decided to try and find some in our area. I bought a package marked “Canada Mints”, but when I opened them – I discovered they were a rather poor version of my childhood treat. The rounded edges were chipped and very uneven – as if the candy mold had been ripped off too quickly. The word “Canada” was blurry and even the flavor somehow seemed more artificial.

It was a bit disappointing, but as most of us learn by the time we’re grown; we can’t really “go home again” . . .


The thing is though, if I close my eyes – I can still smell and taste that original candy from so long ago.

And if I listen very intently, I can still hear Nana’s soothing voice . . . and feel the warmth of her hugs.

Aren’t we lucky when a happy memory, all by itself, is enough? 🙂



Part 2 of Our Date with Rocket Man

Seeing Elton was an emotional experience, the depth of which caught me completely by surprise.

Sure, I’ve been a fan and admire his charitable work, but on the drive to the concert, my only thoughts were that it would be a night of fun. I wasn’t expecting anything more.

The following day, I tried to explain to my daughter how deeply moved I was by the show, the music, and especially by Elton, himself. After listening to my attempt to put my feelings into words, her reply summed it up very well: “Mom, you were touched by his sincerity”.

It was true. This man is a mega star. After such an incredibly successful career, he could be jaded, bored, selfish, with an attitude of ‘just do the minimum, get off the stage, and count the money’. I’m here to tell you… that is NOT Sir Elton.

He was on the stage for THREE hours STRAIGHT. No breaks! Performing every number. After a couple of hours he gave the band a break but HE stayed and played alone while they were gone! He continually jumped off his bench after each song and ran to every corner of the stage and bowed and waved with animated appreciation for the fans. He played countless hits and each one with every bit of his power. No holding back, no “phoning it in”. It was amazing. He will be 64 this month, but his performance surely belied that fact. I realized we were witnessing something very special. He is at a place in his life where he is still in his prime musically, but has arrived at a point of peace with himself.

His conversations with the audience were so sweet. He had a little gesture – an unconscious way of softly brushing his hand against the top of the piano as he was speaking – giving the sense that the words were coming directly from his heart. He said that the last year has been his best musically. He introduced Leon Russell explaining that this was the man that he (Elton) had “wanted to sing like.. to play piano like…” It was very touching to see the pride and joy on Elton’s face as his old hero came on stage.

Towards the latter part of the show, I lost it when he sang, “Candle in the Wind”. Why? I’ve asked myself the same question. It isn’t even a favorite of mine, though I do like it. He sang it as if it were the first time – with his whole effort. It was incredibly beautiful. I suddenly thought how extraordinary it was to be in the same room with him as he sang this song, a song that the whole world could recognize and associate with a memory in their own lives. Tears were steaming down my face. To be honest, they are now as I write about it.

This is turning into a novel. I should add that when we first arrived, we decided to have a pre-show drink at the Elton John Premium Lounge. 😉

We figured it would be a good photo op for the memory book.

I liked the table decorations – a champagne glass with a tea light nestled amongst colored glass stones.

We only had the cell phone for pix. The tickets specified “no recording or cameras with extra lenses”. Imagine our surprise when they seemed to have been smuggled in all around us!

Our seats in the arena were good! We were above the stage, with a wonderful ¾ angle to see Elton and also his hands on the piano keys. In addition, the big screen was nearby, so we had great close-ups whenever we could pry our eyes from the stage.

I’ll end with a youtube clip from the show. In it, Elton has come back to the stage for an encore. You may want to skip the first few minutes in which he is signing autographs. If you move the red slider to about 3 minutes into the video, you will see him go to the piano for his encore song.

These are his words just as he’s about to play –

“Thank you, Worcester; thank you so much. It’s been an amazing year. It’s been an amazing life, and the thing I love about playing more live now than I ever did is that I really, really appreciate you guys so much more than I could ever explain… Thank you for buying tickets to this show, thank you for being so loyal, and so great. I’m a lucky man…. And I’m going to dedicate this song to all of you. I send you my love and hope that everything in your life is as good as mine right now….”



Our Date with Rocket Man

I promised you a concert report. 😀

I was still a teenager when I first heard his music.

Funny how we remember the little details . . .

It was spring – one of those glorious days when it’s finally warm enough for the windows to be flung wide open. On such a day, deliciously fragrant breezes were billowing the curtains at my friend’s house. She wanted to play a new album for me. As the needle hit the record and the music began, I was mesmerized by the earnest voice of a young man who accompanied himself on the piano. His name was Elton John.

I don’t have to tell anyone what happened to him in the following years. While he rose to fame and had hit after hit, I met a prince and raised a family.

I’ve always had affection for his music and so has Sir Beads. Elton has the kind of songs that make permanent bookmarks in your memory – you remember what was happening in your own world when you first heard them.

We did shake our heads whenever stories surfaced that Elton was playing the role of spoiled rock star but, at the same time, we accepted him for what always seemed to lie just beneath the surface – his very kind heart. His work with charities has always been exemplary.

Lately, we’ve been especially touched by events in Elton’s personal life. For example, his current tour is the result of his wish to help his old “mentor and idol” Leon Russell, a man legendary in the music business who had fallen on very hard times. Elton put the wheels in motion to record a duet album with him – as a tribute, as a thank you, and a means to provide for Leon’s golden years . . . a very generous gesture, indeed.

And then there was Elton’s desire to adopt a Ukrainian child with aids, but the application was denied. Though he was crushed at the news, Elton pledged to provide for the child (and his brother), anyway! Eventually, Elton would become a Dad – on Christmas 2010.

I believe it may have been during a discussion of current news concerning Elton that was the spark for an idea our daughter had this past December. She heard that Elton would be performing on March 12th in our area and was on the phone placing an order for tickets the moment they went on sale in December. She surprised Sir Beads with them on Christmas morning! They were perfectly disguised to enhance the experience. She handed her Dad a gift-wrapped Elton CD, and he, assuming it was the latest release, put it in the player to hear. After a few seconds of Elton music, our daughter’s voice suddenly boomed through the speakers with the announcement that Sir Beads would be going to the upcoming show!!!

We were incredibly excited. It had been years since we’d been to a concert – and never to see Elton John. As the day approached, our excitement grew. We were in no way prepared, however, for the emotional experience ahead . . .

To be continued.



Monday Aready?

Whew! The weekend certainly flew by. Here I am back at the keyboard, but I haven’t finished putting the final touches on some blog posts I am planning for the future.

What to do? Well, I searched back to around this time, two years ago, and found a post you might like. As often happens, Carol has seen it before, but I’m hoping she won’t mind reading it again! (Love ya, Carol)

For my article called: “Saving Dollars . . . and Sense”, please click here