I was in the car on my way to Northern Virginia with my 94 year old Dad and his girlfriend. My Mom passed away in 2005 and Dad’s been dating Rosemary for 2 years now. “Did you know Neil Diamond is going to be in Charlottesville December 8th? “ Rosemary asked. I replied that I had already purchased tickets to go with one of my co-workers. “Oh I wish I’d known, I would love to go!” Rosemary sighed. I told her I thought there were still tickets available if she wanted me to check then turned to look at Dad, “Would you like to go see Neil Diamond?” I asked. “Sure, I’ve always wanted to go to a big concert,” he replied with a wink and the game was afoot.
Mirna and I arrived early to collect Dad and Rosemary for our big outing. Dad was a little concerned about being able to hear as he confessed his hearing aid had been sent out for repairs. “Oh, I think the concert will be loud enough for you, Dad.” I said
After eating at Panera Bread and almost losing Dad and Rosemary in Barnes and Noble we finally drove to John Paul Jones Arena an hour before show time. I got a good parking spot so we didn’t have far to walk. Rosemary came prepared to crochet during the long wait before the show started. I gave everyone their tickets and we went through the check points. Mirna and I went first. Purses were thoroughly searched since no cameras were allowed. I thought Dad and Rosemary were right behind us but when I turned around I didn’t see them. I looked back at security and heard Rosemary say, “Weapon? That’s not a weapon! It’s a crochet hook! It’s not even sharp on the end!!” To which the security guy replied in his kindest tone, “I’m sorry ma’am but you’re going to have to leave it behind.” “But what must I do with it??!” Rosemary asked as I drew closer. I couldn’t hear what the gentleman told her as I offered to take the offensive little hook back to the car. She wasn’t having any of it. She continued to plead her case with security and I noticed Dad standing off to the side with a big grin on his face. Rosemary was finally allowed to stow her crochet hook under a table outside the main entrance.
Unfortunately we didn’t purchase our tickets at the same time so we weren’t seated together. Mirna and I escorted Dad and Rosemary to their seats and determined to meet back at the “crochet hook table” after the concert. The ushers offered the elevator but Dad said there was no need, he could manage steps just fine, thank you very much, after all he square dances once a week. Then he pulled me aside and asked “There aren’t that many steps are there?” I assured him he would be fine. We left them at their seats and headed across the arena to where our seats were located.
I noticed there were people of all ages attending Neil Diamond’s concert that night from college kids to folks my Dad’s age. Everyone was singing along to the classics like “Cherry, Cherry,” “I Am I Said,” “I’m A Believer,” “Holly, Holy.” Neil even got a standing ovation for “Sweet Caroline,” and repeated the chorus. I overheard some college girls appreciate this because that was the only song they knew.
Neil told announced that proceeds from the merchandise sold at his concerts would go to benefit the people of Galveston and Houston, Texas devastated by Hurricane Ike. After hearing him sing “Man of God,” “America,” and “Brother Love’s Travellin’ Salvation Show” I felt like I’d been at a big tent revival. It was great!