What Can You Say?

This day started like any other; coffee on the deck, and talking about what we wanted to do today. It went downhill quickly after the text from my girlfriend, telling me her husband passed away. He just entered Hospice care yesterday. This morning he is gone. I’m glad it was quick for his wife, my friend since high school.

What can you say about Lenny? He was a crazy man, he bragged about his Navy days, and days of he glory days of youth. He was a liver transplant survivor for about 10 years, I think. To say he lived life to the fullest may be an understatement. He loved rock and roll, the louder the better. He loved going to Bily McGuigan shows, Yesterday and Today in particular. He was an audience favorite and quite a few of his requests were played. One time, he requested “Nowhere Man,” and Ryan McGuigan had Lenny sing along for a few bars of it. That was a highlight of his life. Thank you, Ryan, from Lenny. Somewhere I do have a video of it, I’ll have to search for it.

My friend Kris has joined a club I dread becoming part of, yet there’s a 50% chance of it. Unless something awful happens, women in my family have longevity. The Babe suffers from ischemic heart disease, courtesy of Agent Orange in Vietnam. He has survived longer than we thought possible. And there are no guarantees. Our friend Lora just lost her husband this spring, and now another friend lost hers. We need to circle the wagons and help her as much as we can. And their kids will too, along with their adult grandkids.

Our other friend, Mary, lost her husband five years ago. She admits it was a hard time, yet she has found love again. So proud of her for being brave enough to try! She is engaged and working on downsizing stuff. It’s a challenge for sure.

In one week, we’ve gone from great excitement at getting together for a reunion to recognizing once again how fragile life really is. Kris seemed good today, but it was crazy busy at her house when I stopped by with paper products to use for all the food people always donate when death comes home. I know she’s in a bit of a state of shock right now; she’s been very good at doing whatever it took to help take care of him. She went above and beyond many times. He told us more than once he owes his life to Kris. And he meant it.

The VFW Post will be much quieter during Honor Guard steak raffles from now on. Lenny often voiced his displeasure at losing the raffles. He shared his moves with a touch down dance when he won. They became more elaborate with each win. He still puzzled over the “floss” dance. If you never saw it, it’s hard to say just what you missed. Nothing comparable may ever pass this way again.

The world will miss Lenny. We’ll miss his generosity. You couldn’t find a better donor to the Auxiliary Bake Sales or Ice Cream Socials. His last act of generosity took place this morning, a few hours after he passed. He gave me $100 cash last week to get food for Moving Veterans Forward to use for their Foster Care Visit Program. I ordered online to compare prices, etc. It all arrived yesterday, and I dropped it off to MVF warehouse this morning. Thank you, Lenny. The kids got some good groceries, thanks to you! I told Kris how fitting the delivery took place just as Lenny might have been talking to St. Peter. Could you imagine that sight? I’m sure it helped him enter heaven.

Hug your people. Value life. Live it. Don’t keep anything back for someday. Today is the day. Each and every day are special. Make memories. Don’t wait for later. Do it now. See you tomorrow.

A Sunday to Celebrate!

I’ve shared with you about the great day I had yesterday. If you didn’t see it, here it is. The day got even better! We got to see these guys with the Omaha Symphony. If you know me at all, you know I love these guys, and the lovely Tara Vaughn. Since it’s been awhile, let me re-introduce you. From the left, Matthew McGuigan, Tara Vaughn, Larell Ware, Ciaran McGuigan, Ryan McGuigan, Darren Pettit, Max Meyer, and Billy McGuigan. A couple guys are new, but they fit with the band like a glove. It’s like they all have McGuigan lessons before they join, yet they all are great on their own. All these musicians are multi-talented. They are all huge personalities. Ciaran is in training, taking guitar lessons from Max at the McGuigan Arts Academy in Omaha. He is indeed learning from the best.

Most of the country is open after COVID-19. Omaha has let it’s Mask Mandate expire. Yes, we’ve heard conflicting information, but the Babe and I had both vaccinations, and consider ourselves safe. I believe all these maskless marauders below had the shots, too. Tara Vaughn hasn’t performed with her boys since pre-pandemic, I believe. It was so good to see her back, and hear her strong, beautiful, resonant voice again. These guys are great alone, but now, the band is indeed back together! It became time to unleash this energy on Omaha again.

And it was epic! The sign on the door of the beautiful Holland Center said masks were suggested. We took note of that, and once inside, saw the majority of folks maskless. I’ve never been in jail to be let out of it (except in Monopoly), but it felt like getting out of jail. We were free for the first time in a very long, time.

The conductor for the Symphony had a spring in his step all evening, too. To hear the hits of the era we grew up in was so cool. They sounded so good with a live symphony to back them. One violin player had a constant smile on her face. She enjoyed it, too! The other members kept their stoic faces. Lots of toe-tapping going on, just not smiling. The music filled the heavens of downtown Omaha. I’m sure their Dad Bill McGuigan, had a front row seat from heaven. I wonder what that is like? If I get there someday, I’ll have to ask him. Remind me of that, ok?

I think I’m speaking the God’s honest truth when I tell you it was so apparant these musicians all enoyed performing with each other for the first time in a long time. Their faces were extra-jubiliant. Their execution was right on! Their knowing looks cast at each other and smiles told you you were seeing them at their best. And with these people, you can be sure of that.

We plan on seeing every show they have planned, whether in Omaha, Glenwood, or Papillion. Go to their website and get tickets for the summer series. You will never go away disappointed. If you disagree, we cannot be friends. Go see them. The sooner the better. You’ll be set free, too.

Thanks for reading. Take care out there. Enjoy the fresh air. See you tomorrow!

Hedwig and The Angry Inch

See this! It doesn’t matter your age, your beliefs, or your taste in music, there is something for everyone here to appreciate. The Acting. The Music. The stage presence of the actors and the band. Even the pre-show where Billy McGuigan sings some old songs and a few from his new album, “Together.”

It felt good to be attending a live show again. When the Babe retired, we tried new things we’d never done before. We became members of the Omaha Community Playhouse, and saw many plays of high quality, and the annual Christmas Show “Yesterday and Today,” which is a Beatles tribute show performed by Billy and his brothers Ryan and Matthew. A very talented group of musicians. Billy has a pool of amazing musicians to choose from and uses everyone in the best way possible.

The people at the Waiting Room did an outstanding job of only selling 25% capacity for the show. We were more than socially distanced, seated at our table. We could remove our masks while seated, which was good. It was safe and gave us a sense of security with the precautions they enforced. The Waiting Room is in Benson, at 6212 Maple Street. Get there super early! Parking is hard. Doors open at 6:30 pm, Billy performs at 7 pm, show starts at 7:30 pm.

Hedwig has one heckuva voice, whether singing as herself or as himself. The Angry Inch is a rock band who backs up Hedwig, the internationally ignored superstar (in her mind). You learn of her past life, her later life, and her quest to escape East Berlin before the wall fell. It was an historic time for sure. Her desperation to leave Germany was so intense, she resorted to some drastic measures.

The quest to find your “other half” is something we all experience. Hedwig’s was of utmost importance to her. Part stand-up comedy, part rock musical, and part play, it has it all! The female lead was fantastic. What a voice! She rocked the place in fine fashion. And the best part? Evelyn Hill is a senior at Central High School. What a young talent! The possibilities that lie ahead for her!

Jesse White is incredible as Hedwig. The stories and songs tell the story how he started out as Hansel in East Berlin. He came to have a sex change operation, which was botched. No wonder he’s angry!

It was hugely entertaining for a chilly Saturday night in Nebraska. It was worth the drive and the price of admission. When it ended, we wanted more. More shows open later this spring and summer. There are post cards available at your seat to remember dates and places of other Rave On Production shows this year.

It’s going to be an exceptional year, being entertained by the genius that is Billy (always up for a challenge), Ryan (he has quite the stage presence, folks! Pay attention, you’ll see why!), and Matthew (the most excellent musical director) McGuigan, Max Meyer (one of the best lead guitarist’s you’ll ever see), Jay Hansen (Superman), and Larell Ware (Drums – my he’s good!). And I have to say, Kate Whitecotton, House Manager and CEO of Rave On Productions, is the most organized person on earth; she excels at coordinating everything for the performers. Kathleen Kersey is the Volunteer of the Year, selling merch at most of the shows. She knows her stuff, and which versions of the bands performed which version of the CD’s.

For your mental health, make a date tonight or next weekend for the remaining shows of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, at the Waiting Room Lounge. You will not be disappointed. Thanks for checking in today. We’ll see each other tomorrow. I look forward to it.