I believe I left off with me about to do my shows in Dayton, OH...Walt Willey presents "Wild and Willey" at Wiley's! A real mouthful, to say the least...
|With Kristi and Jeff|
|Old Friend Kim Faris...hey why|
didn't we get a pic this time?
Owner Rob Haney was super-hospitable and did everything right, but all the shows were lightly attended (small but mighty!). Maybe because of the economy, maybe because of the beautiful fall weather and many festivals (even a sauerkraut festival, with everything sauerkraut, even sauerkraut brownies!), but everybody had a great time.
And sometimes there's another reason to be in a place...there sure was one this time. Kim and her station had arrange a listener meet and greet for lunch time on Friday. There was a woman there who - knowing of my involvement in autism and Asperger's issues - said "I have a son, 26 years old, who has Asperger's and is so unhappy...we've tried everything and he says he would like to just die!" Having a son with Asperger's myself, I know that it is rare that these individuals say things that they don't really feel, so this was a real cry for help. I suggested she bring her son to the show that night and we'd find some time to talk. I met with them before and after my first show that Friday night. This young man was absolutely delightful! Kind and well-spoken and just as beautiful a heart as one could imagine! We talked about diet and occupational therapy and speech therapy. It just so happened that there was a speech pathologist in the audience, and they made arrangements to get together to work on his stutter, something that was having an incredibly alienating effect. We traded email addresses and I'm awaiting an update which I will pass along.
And that is why I was in Dayton...and I am so thankful that all our paths crossed!
|The riverboat at Starved Rock|
I then headed over to Utica, IL just on the other side of the river. As I came over the top of the bridge I saw a quite a sight: a town of 1000 absolutely swarmed by at least ten times that many people! I found out in the newspaper the next day that the famed Burgoo Festival was visited by over 30,000 people! I found that easy to believe having seen the cars parked up and down Route 178 on both sides of town, the Dee Bennett Road jammed all the way to the lock, the vehicles parked in lawns and private lots for $5 a car. The place was packed!
I'd heard about the Burgoo Festival but had never been in town for it. No way I was going to miss it! I parked my car in someone's backyard and headed in the throng. Food, food and more food and bags filled with corn and emblazoned with sports team's logo for the ubiquitous "corn hole toss" game played in this area (it's like bocce ball, bean bags and skee-ball had a baby!) And more food. I did not, however, find even a spoonful of the famed Burgoo Stew...where the heck was it?
I headed back to Starved Rock, but the line of cars was a couple miles long to get in and park! Matthiesson Park was really jammed, Buffalo Rock was better. After a short walk there I made for Ottawa to have a walk around there. And then I remembered: the "Radium Girls" memorial statue was now up! I had to go over and check it out...
|Radium Girls statue in Ottawa, Illinois|
When the play was presented in Ottawa, I was lucky enough to be there. It was a moving experience, as the lives of these women were played out on stage. The survivors and their heirs in the audience were clearly moved, as were all present. A wonderfully healing experience....
Back to Chicago and a very interesting meeting with a radio station there. I have many friends in the media in Chicago and have been kicking around the idea of joining them for some time.
|At The Rosie Show!|
In the audience were her children, friend Suze Orman, and - wonderfully! - folks she'd just run into on the streets of Chicago! It was so exciting to see Ro "back in the saddle"! I wish her the very best!
I headed back to pack for Nashville and Jackson, TN...and one of the best experiences of my life!