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The Craziness Continues

This past weekend marked the first time I’ve seen The Texas Tenors since that crazy trip to North Carolina. Of course, all of the same people that were at the concert in North Carolina were there yesterday as well, plus several more. If I were Marcus, John, or JC, I would have been scared to see all of us together again!

Our trip was eventful as always. Why is it impossible for us to go somewhere without something strange happening? Aside from the dire urge some of us had to find a bathroom despite the fact that we were in the middle of nowhere in Illinois (and they call Iowa flat and desolate?), the most interesting part was our drive into Pella from Newton. This is the view we saw in front of us. Seriously?

12 tractor parade into town

There were eight of us that arrived in Alton, IL Saturday afternoon (the tractors fortunately didn’t slow us down too much). We immediately picked up where we left off in Keokuk. After quite a bit of chatting upon our arrivals, we finally made our way toward food. Naturally, it was dinnertime at that point, and none of us had eaten breakfast or lunch. Well, I take that back. Between all of us, we had consumed a bag of chips, a doughnut, a roll, and a candy bar. Talk about eating healthily!

We ended up at the Applebee’s, mainly because Mom didn’t want Chinese, Kathy didn’t want Mexican, and Red Lobster was too expensive. Nonetheless, it was really good. Of course, I think anything would have tasted good at that point since we were so hungry! I don’t think I’ve eaten that much in a long time! Why did Kathy and Judy have to get Blonde Brownies for dessert? They were too tempting for their own good!

After dinner, it was back to the hotel to continue our favorite game of Imaginiff. It’s definitely a riot. We couldn’t stop laughing! I’m not going to share some of the answers we came up with this time; they are too embarrassing for certain people and mildly inappropriate. Jeanette managed to win both games. I think she was cheating. Maybe she kept moving herself forward and conveniently forgetting to move everyone else’s pawn?

The night was over way too soon. We made sure to get our chairs moved back to our respective rooms so we wouldn’t get in trouble, and we moved Judy’s furniture back into place (although we thought about leaving it there). Bedtime. And one step closer to Tenor time.

The next day, we ended up at the mall to eat lunch at Olga’s Kitchen. This was especially funny for us after our game the night before. One of the questions asked was which female name my mother would be, and one of the options was Olga. Coincidence? I think not! We were having trouble deciding whether we wanted to go in or not initially, so we stood outside talking about it for a few minutes. At that point, one of the employees (Olga?) came up to us and asked us if we were coming in. Does that remind anyone else of the lady at the “bakery” in Nauvoo? Does our group have some magnet that causes people like that to be attracted to coming up to us?

Our group in front of Olga’s Kitchen, courtesy of Sabra Rieck

It was a very strange restaurant. Judy convinced me to eat the three-cheese curds appetizer as my meal since I wasn’t very hungry. It turned out to be delicious, and it gave me the opportunity to ogle at everyone else’s unique foods. For instance, Kathy had purple potatoes in her salad, and Glenda’s chicken was green. That’s not something you see every day!

At the end of lunch, Judy was struck with the brilliant idea to get something for John for his birthday. Even though it isn’t until the 12th, we knew that none of us (except for Sabra) would be in Branson that day to celebrate. Judy and I walked next door to the cookie place to purchase a huge decorated cookie that said “Happy birthday John” on it. They even put T’s on all of the balloons!

John’s cookie

Cookie in hand (more like in pizza box in hand), we headed over to the concert at the Lewis and Clark Community College. Two hours early! Our tickets were General Admission, so we wanted to be sure we were at the front of the line in order to get front row seats.

Our group in front of the venue

I have never seen so many people as worried about getting into a concert as these people! As we were standing by the main door into the auditorium trying to listen in on rehearsal, a man walked out and wanted to know if he could help us. We were caught. He told us to try going in one of the side entrances since not many people use it. That sounded like a good solution to me, but the others were worried that the side door wouldn’t be unlocked at the same time as the other doors. Then they discussed the possibility of posting several people at each door. Talk about a lot of work for front row seats!

We ended up staking out the side door like the man had suggested after he helped us hide John’s cookie. The doors opened 15 minutes early, and we raced in, only to discover we didn’t like the view from the front row after all. There were speakers in the way of several seats, and it was so close to the stage you had almost no legroom. Most of us moved to the second row.

Of course, the concert was absolutely fantastic (as usual). Instead of a live band, Jeff Hughes was playing the piano for The Texas Tenors. This was my first time hearing him, and I was extremely impressed.

Courtesy of Teena Carter

In other news, Marcus got his hair cut! According to him, he won’t have a chance again to have his regular hairdresser cut it until the end of December, and he doesn’t trust anyone else. I don’t know about you, but I like it!

Courtesy of Teena Carter

The concert was over way too soon. Sabra ended up being the lucky person to win the raffle for the huge concert poster signed by The Texas Tenors. I think the rest of us are extremely envious! Wouldn’t that look perfect hanging on the ceiling above my bed? I do, however, know it will earn an honorary spot in her new condo in Branson.

Courtesy of Sabra Rieck

We all waited until the end of the line to talk to the guys as usual. Teena and I were next in line to get pictures when they decided they needed to go take pictures with the board, and the line dissolved. For some reason that always seems to happen to me! What are they trying to tell me?!  When we got them reeled back over to us, we took our picture with them at last.

Courtesy of Teena Carter

Once the pictures were over, we finally got to present the cookie to John. He seemed to love it!

Courtesy of Teena Carter

Unfortunately, this meant the day was nearly over, and we still had the long trek home to look forward to. There’s nothing better than a weekend getaway with some of your best friends that’s filled with lots of love, lyrics, and laughs. Thank you to The Texas Tenors for bringing us all together. Here’s to many more special memories in the future!

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2012 in Music, Travel

 

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The Bumps in the Road

I mentioned in my last post that I was thankful for all of the friendships that I have made thanks to The Texas Tenors. It is true that we have become one big family. I always have fun when I am with other Tenor fans, even when there is no Tenor concert for us to attend.

This is how I came to be in Keokuk, IA this past weekend with Judy, Dave, Jeanette, Sabra, and my mom–other fans. You see, there are absolutely no Tenor concerts nearby (unless we want to drive to New York) during the whole month of August. As a result, we are all suffering from major withdrawal. The group of us had so much fun together a few weeks ago when we drove to North Carolina that we decided to get together in August to have some fun without a Tenor concert. I suppose you could consider it our therapy session too.

Originally, we were planning on meeting in Keokuk next Saturday, August 18. Judy and Dave are from St. Louis, MO, Jeanette from Bettendorf, IA, Sabra from Cedar Rapids, IA, and my mom and I from Newton, IA. Keokuk is basically in the middle for all of us. However, Friday morning, I stopped at the Newton clinic on my way to the Bondurant clinic to see if I could take off next Friday. Instead, I discovered that I would without a doubt be working on the 18th. Saddened and crushed, I called my mom with the news that we wouldn’t be able to go to Keokuk with our friends. At that point, I came up with a brilliant idea and immediately called Judy and Jeanette. By the time I got to work 20 minutes later, we had set up a plan to meet in Keokuk that day instead.

After getting off work an hour early, I rushed home, packed in about 10 minutes, and then we took off. What does it say for us when 5 different people can spontaneously decide to go on a trip for the weekend like that? We must need more exciting lives!!!

All of us got to Keokuk at about the same time and decided to have dinner at Pizza Hut. Not exactly unique, but it worked. The worst part was trying to cram everyone in my car to drive to the restaurant. I drive a Chevy Impala which, even though it is considered a sedan, does not have the roomiest backseat. Thank goodness I was driving and didn’t have to squeeze back there. Instead, I had to move my seat forward until I was practically driving with my elbows! I’m not sure which option was really the best. After leaving my pizza box on the dashboard of my car to bake for the next day, we went back to the hotel and talked until we fell asleep.

The fun part of the weekend came on Saturday after we all met in the breakfast area of the hotel in the morning.

We got a surprise phone call from Sabra saying that she was on her way home to Cedar Rapids from Branson, and she wanted to stop in to see us. It was so good to see her! After chatting some more (we Tenor fans really know how to chat!), we finally decided to find something to eat. Sabra wanted to continue driving home, so we said goodbye and headed to the Hawkeye Restaurant. We couldn’t figure out if we were eating linner or lupper. What do you think sounds better? My vote is lupper, but Jeanette seems to think that sounds like leper. Hmm…

We were apparently too wild for that restaurant. It was so quiet in there, and all we wanted to do was laugh. It didn’t help that one of the first items we saw on the menu was a propane tank! I’m still not sure what that really was.

After that, we once again crammed into my car to go for a drive. There really isn’t all that much to see in Keokuk, so we ended up crossing the river into Illinois and heading to the town of Nauvoo. To me, that sounds more like a planet from Star Wars than a town in Illinois, but it certainly proved to be an interesting place to stop. It turns out that Nauvoo is a historic community that offers a temple for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (aka Mormons). Visit http://www.historicnauvoo.net/ to find out more about this community!

We drove around the town for awhile until Judy decided she wanted to stop at the bakery. Just as we pulled up, parked, and piled out, we noticed that there was a group of people coming out of the tiny building munching on cookies (or half-cookies, according to Judy). Then we realized it was a tour of what used to be a bakery, not an operational bakery. While contemplating cramming back into the car, a lady in a long dress with beads around her neck came up to us and asked what we were doing. Awkwardly, we said we were trying to decide that and walked down the sidewalk a bit.

The bakery, courtesy of http://www.historicnauvoo.net/

Then Dave realized that he left his window all the way down in the locked car, so he and my mom went back to guard the car. Jeanette, Judy, and I continued on past the little outhouses to the Family Living Center. We peered in the window and were scared by another lady in a dress standing right there. Laughing hysterically, we started back up the path to the car. Of course, we had to stop and pet the fuzzy plants right next to the path first! I’m not kidding, they really were fuzzy. Imagine seeing three adult women standing on the sidewalk, leaning over, and petting the plants. How odd! I hope they weren’t poisonous…

The adventure picked up with us driving back to Keokuk without any bakery goods. I realized that the bumpy streets of Nauvoo and the curves between Nauvoo and Keokuk made the ride very uncomfortable for those in the backseat. The evil Sarah came out then as I started speeding up around the curves and searching for the roads with the most potholes.

This got even better when we opted to tour the National Cemetery–one of the few things to do in Keokuk. My mom is a huge Civil War buff, and the cemetery is a Union cemetery. However, what she really wanted to see was the Confederate statue that she learned was there. The cemetery has quite an interesting history behind it. Go to http://www.keokukiowatourism.org/cemetery.htm to learn more.

Judy, Jeanette, and Dave can attest to the fact that the roads in that cemetery were the bumpiest yet, and they got the pleasure of experiencing them over and over and over again. After about the fourth time around, we found a different direction to go where I wasn’t slamming the brakes on for squirrels crossing my path. We finally found our statue.

Courtesy of Jeanette Allison-Glaser

Finally satisfied, we went back to the hotel. At this point, we prepared for our 8:00 concert of The Texas Tenors. Actually, we were just watching their concert DVD on Jeanette’s laptop, but it’s close enough. Just don’t tell Marcus–I’m pretty sure we had him worried for a minute when we said we were excited for the concert. He said it must be The Texas Tenors tribute band that’s now touring. Can you believe they were just as good as the real Texas Tenors?

The rest of the night was spent playing the hilarious board game Imaginiff. If you’ve never played it, definitely check it out sometime (http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/2750/imaginiff). We were all laughing so hard we were in tears at times. I think this game is going to become a must anytime we get together in the future. Here are some of the things we discovered while playing this game:

  • If Jeanette were an insect, she would be a louse (actually a firefly, but I really wanted to pick that one)
  • If Judy were a wheel, she would be a hamster wheel because she kept going around in circles in Nashville on her trip to North Carolina to see The Texas Tenors a few weeks ago.
  • When Helen has an impatient driver behind her, she likes to wink and lick the window (we had to call and tell her that one).
  • If Mom were a parcel, she would say “This Side Up”.
  • Mom is also the item in the vending machine that is still stuck.
  • I am a shrub.
  • And much more!

To make a long story short (even though I literally just wrote a novel), we had a blast this last weekend. I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in a long time (or at least since we went to North Carolina). We’ve decided that whenever we have a month in the future with no concerts, we will have to add Keokuk to our schedule. It definitely broke up the monotony of Tenorless weeks. Plus, it was so good to see some of my newest (and best) friends. Only 4 more weeks until the concert in Godfrey, IL!!!

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2012 in Music, Travel

 

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