memphis in may

My friend Majed told me if he ever did anything for a charity, he’d donate to St Jude’s Children’s Hospital. I asked him where that was and he said “In Memphis.” I had no idea! Here I am, a kid’s songwriter, a mere 3 1/2 hours away. I emailed them immediately and worked with a wonderful woman named Jessica to set up a gig. In my life, I never would have dreamed that I would play my music in Memphis! I told my bassist and drummer that I was going and they jumped at the chance to play! Very cool. On that Tuesday in May, we loaded up the van and headed west. The drive from Nashville to Memphis is called Music Highway because if you don’t have music, you’ll be bored to tears! There’s nothing to look at but trees, and then, halfway, there’s Jackson. We arrived an hour early (thankfully) and was greeted at the door by a nice lady named Penny who got on the pa system and told all the kids that we were there to entertain them, just like we were big rock stars! (heck, we barely twinkle) She mistakenly called drummer Johnny Rampino “pampino”. I giggled. We met Michaela, who was our helper /guide (actually, she was there to make sure we didn’t play too loud). We got set up in a food court/ice cream parlor area where there were a lot of people walking through. This hospital has 4,000 people working there! They are truly angels and saints! We played our usual goofy songs,shaky in some parts, because Johnny had forgotten his hi hat cymbals. A few people had told me: “If you make one kid happy then, it’s worth going to perform”. I’m elated to say we saw quite a few smiles and a couple of kids even started dancing. It doesn’t get any better than that. A lot of parents and nurses came up and thanked us. We thanked them right back. As we were leaving, Penny told us that the young girl sitting right in front had been having a rough time lately .She said it was good to see her and her mom enjoying the show. It was truly an honor to be able to entertain those kids and their families. So, we hit the highway back to Nashville. About five miles from St Jude’s we saw another children’s hospital! It must be like drug stores. As soon as a pharmacy is built on one corner, another one appears across the street. I hadn’t ridden with Johnny very much, but if someone does something reckless on the road, he shouts “Where’s my pistol?!” That made the drive home very interesting…

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