Congratulations, Mama Carrie!

It’s funny, just this morning I was chatting with a friend who’s a country music fan, but who doesn’t necessarily keep up with the news about country music stars’ personal lives. But seriously, this dude must’ve been living under a rock for the past nine months, because he had no idea Carrie Underwood was pregnant!

“Well, she’s about due any second now!” I remarked.

Carrie's Precious Baby Bump

Carrie’s Precious Baby Bump

Hours later, the headlines were everywhere… “Carrie Underwood Gives Birth!” “Carrie Underwood Welcomes Baby Boy!” “Carrie Underwood Tweets Baby News!”

Turns out Carrie and her hockey player husband, Mike Fisher, pulled off a pretty neat feat for celebs of their status… They managed to keep the birth of their little one a secret for four whole days! Little Isaiah Michael Fisher was born on February 27. After some precious family time– with new aunts and uncles and two sets of proud grandparents almost certainly on hand– the couple was ready to share their joy with the rest of the world. Today, Carrie shared this sweet photo via Twitter and Instagram.

Little Tiny Baby Hand

“Tiny hands and tiny feet! God has blessed us with an amazing miracle! Isaiah Michael Fisher, born February 27. Welcome to the world, sweet angel!” the new Mom raved. Fans from all over the world were quick to congratulate the award-winning singer, with most of them adding messages of gratitude for naming the baby something “normal.” While Mike had joked that he wanted to named their kid “Fly Fisher,” nobody expected the couple to join the ranks of celebrity couples who’ve tagged their offspring with ridiculous monikers, such as North West or Blue Ivy. Both Carrie and Mike (who wed in July of 2010) are devout Christians, so it’s no surprise they chose a Biblical name for their little one.


With great-looking parents like these, I’m sure little Isaiah is just as cute all over as his itty bitty hand would indicate. We’re looking forward to meet the little guy… congratulations, Mommy and Daddy!

Sometimes Life Sucks

I love radio. The radio played throughout my childhood. Professionally, I have done radio all my adult life, first at WLNG, an oldies station on Long Island, then at Froggy 97 and Z93 in the great North Country. I have lived it breathed it, eaten and drank it every second of every minute of every day. I dream of music at night.

From the day I got my first tape recorder for my ninth birthday, I pretended to be a DJ. I acted out “Swap and Shop,” a popular local program on WLNG, an oldies station in Sag Harbor, NY. I played the parts of both the DJ and the listeners who were calling in to sell stuff. I’d  put records on the turntable… Olivia Newton John, Donny and Marie, or my Mom’s old Brenda Lee albums. When I was a teenager, I started following the Billboard music charts and listening to Top 40 countdown shows. There were three big ones at the time: Shadoe Stevens, Rick Dees and Casey Kasem. I bought all the current hit songs on 45rpm records and sometimes indulged in the newest high tech innovation, CDs. I’d make my own countdown shows, with sound effects and everything. During this time, I also started calling radio stations, for all reasons imaginable… to win contests, to make requests, and sometimes to correct something the DJ had said, as in mispronouncing an artist’s name or giving erroneous information about a singer or band. How obnoxious is that? Not surprisingly, I used different names when I called. (Although, I am lousy at disguising my voice!)

I visited a radio station for the first time in the late 1980s: HB107, a Top 40 station that broadcast out of Hampton Bays, NY. I told them I was interested in radio and I got permission to visit the station for an hour or so when the afternoon guy was on. It was an eye-opening experience. My first lesson in radio was that the people we listen to look nothing like they sound. Randi, the female DJ with the sultry low voice, was actually short, plump and frumpy. Lesson number two: radio people lie. Well, we exaggerate anyway. The jock I sat in with, I think his name was Mikey B, did a daily countdown show called “The Top 5 at 5.” He’d count down the 5 most requested songs of the day, and say: “Coming in at #4, with 15 votes…” Only I watched him take phone calls (he recorded and edited them on a reel-to-reel tape) and the honest truth was he got maybe 15 calls TOTAL in the hour I was there. He seemed embarrassed. Me, I was so flustered and in awe of everything, I couldn’t even bring myself to ask questions.

I began pestering the friendly folks at WLNG radio in 1988. Although they were an oldies station, they did a “Big Sound Survey” countdown of the Top 20 current hits in the nation. I was annoyed by the fact that instead of Warrant’s “Heaven,” they were erroneously playing a different Warrant song. It was like the “B” side of the wrong single! I brought them the correct song on a 45. I remember the station’s treasurer, Ann, saying how nice that was of me, and the DJ, “Big Ed,” saying what a relief it was to play the pretty ballad instead of the mess of hard rock noise that the other song had been. I felt proud of myself! After relentlessly bugging the station’s General Manager, Paul Sidney, I got permission to do a “new music spotlight” segment, as “Holly C,” where I gave a bunch of info on a certain artist in all of 60 seconds, then segue into their latest song. This evolved into me co-hosting the Big Sound Survey, first with Ed, then with Bob Aldrich, and then with another Ed. I loved it! I had to, because I didn’t even get paid for it! Eventually, I landed a paid shift, doing overnights. Fun… lots of freedom, and I got to be “edgy,” because surely no one was listening at those wee hours. (Wink, nudge.) When the six-to-midnight guy walked off the job, I was asked to “temporarily” fill in for him. It unofficially became my permanent slot. I did that for about ten years.

Eventually, I got restless. I was sad that I didn’t get a chance to do live remote broadcasts like the rest of the ‘LNG crew. Also, the equipment there was antiquated. I felt I should be learning new technology to better my chances of continuing on to a bigger market. I still loved my job, but I felt like everything in my life had stagnated. My job, my relationship at the time, my finances… I could not afford to live on my own in the Hamptons! I was back living with my Mom. She was my only family, the only thing holding me there.

Also, I had started listening to country music. If you’d told me in, say, 1994, when I was listening to angry rock like Alanis Morissette and Matchbox 20, that I’d one day be a fan of Trisha Yearwood and the Dixie Chicks, I’d have said you’re crazy. But yeah, it was true. I accidentally flipped may Walkman (yes, I’m showing my age) on 92.5 instead of 92.1 when I was lying in bed one night. I heard Pam Tillis sing “Maybe It Was Memphis,” and I was hooked. I started listening to the Y107 morning show, with Jim Kerr and his sidekick, Karen. I felt like I was sitting around the breakfast table, drinking coffee with them. I wanted to create that same feeling with my talent and my listeners, in a country format. I sent my meager resume and a CD of one of my best “airchecks” to some listings on a radio jobs website. A few months later, I received a message on my answering machine from the Program Director of a country station in Watertown, NY, saying he was interested in my demo. At first, I thought it was a practical joke, because he sounded just like a friend of mine. But no… it was a real offer! I researched Watertown, NY. I saw how much lower the cost of living was. I realized this was my chance to make a brand new start.

My last day at WLNG was August 3, 2001. My first day on Froggy was August 6. I started out doing middays. Oh, and did I mention that my new name was “Cricket”? It was a choice between that, Sally Mander or Polly Wogg. I chose Cricket. It fit. I’m tiny. I had never had a nickname before. Now, I’ll never get rid of it.

My early days on Froggy were shaky. I had to learn the “clock.” I was giving the weather at the wrong time, that kinda thing. I talked too fast. I got called out on my Lawn Guyland accent. “Whatta ya tawkin’ about?” I replied. I had to learn to sound like I could be from “anywhere.” I over-compensated by enunciating a little too strongly. Eventually, I found myself. Then I got moved from the midday shift to morning show co-host. And it was like starting all over again.

James Pond and I never hated each other. But we did not click right away. The listeners hated me, because they missed Beanpole (James’s former co-host and the guy that had hired me.) James didn’t like my sense of humor, nor the fact that I didn’t laugh at his jokes. He didn’t even like my trivia questions! But six months into our partnership, something “clicked.” Literally, one day we just had a really good show, and we looked at each other and knew that something had changed. From then on, the Morning Splash became a force to contend with! I am proud to say that we won the New York State Broadcasters Award four times!

As Cricket, I had so many unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime, priceless moments… Interviewing and meeting Keith Urban, picking up Pam Tillis at the airport (and taking her on a beer run!),, opening (with my short-lived band) for Aaron Tippin), giving away thousands of dollars on the air, and meeting countless wonderful people, our LISTENERS AND FANS, who weren’t even famous. Regular folks who were handicapped or who had cancer or were otherwise disadvantaged, who counted on US to make them happy… just by being ourselves. What a powerful, satisfying, wonderful feeling that was. I never took my job for granted.

Working at our sister station, Z93 was a blast, too. After 12 years of being happy Cricket, I could visit my darker, edgier side, as the newly anointed “Holly Rivers.” And I got to relive my youth (for better or for worse) by playing music that I enjoyed in my teens and 20s: Aerosmith, Alanis, Nirvana, Joan Jett… and the list goes on. Jay Donovan and Dianne Chase are wonderful people to work with.

It has been a rare thing when my personal life has interfered with my work. When my mom died on December 12, 2006, I took the rest of the year off. But I never talked about it on the air. I had the occasional sickness and hospitalization, but I always bounced back, good as new. But this time…

I was born with a genetic disorder called Neurofibromatosis, or NF for short. It makes benign tumors grow all over my body. It also causes bone deformities and hearing, vision and dental problems. Many NFers I know lost all their teeth in their 30s. In my case, I have had problems wit receding gums and loose teeth over the years. I thought that was as far as it went. But it turned out to be far more serious.

Recently, I experienced extreme pain and sensitivity in my mouth. Specifically, the lower front teeth. This would be a nuisance to anyone, but to someone who earns their living talking… well, it is a detriment, an almost impossible obstacle to overcome. It is something you cannot ignore. I had to- for the first time in my career- leave my shift early a couple of times, because the pain was too much to handle. After visits to Urgent Care, the ER, and several dentists, I had my official diagnosis: severe periodontic disease. Really severe. As in: 60 to 80% bone loss in my lower jaw. 50% bone loss in the upper jaw. Terrible, nasty, horrid infection in my lower front that would not respond to antibiotics. I could tell it was starting to affect my speech on Z. I used to be the Queen of Information, but now I didn’t want to say anything more than I absolutely HAD to say. I felt so sick, I literally thought I was dying; that my mouth was killing me by slowly dripping poison into my system.

What is the solution? Well, it costs about $25,000, which I do not have. I also do not have insurance. I need teeth extracted, bone grafts in my jaw, dental implants, dentures… an expensive, painful, 8 months-long process. I will have to temporarily, indefinitely be off the air. My livelihood. My outlet. My world. I feel lost and afraid. Putting my trust in the hands of a virtual (but very smart, skilled) stranger. Hoping that I will be able to speak “normally” again when all is said and done. Praying that there will still be a job waiting for me once I am healed. Not knowing where the money’s gonna come from. Trying to trust in God.

Hope to talk to you all soon…

Holly/ Cricket

Sara Evans Concert Review: Verona, NY 1/11/14

Sara Evans played to what appeared to be a sold-out crowd in the showroom at Turning Stone Casino  in Verona, NY on Saturday, January 11, 20014. The show had originally been slated to take place last November, but was postponed for unknown reasons. Tickets purchased for last year’s no-go show were honored at the rescheduled concert.

There were no local radio personalities on hand to introduce Ms. Evans, not even a disembodied, booming voice from offstage. Sara’s band simply walked onto the stage at a couple minutes past 8PM, then Sara herself strutted onto the scene, to the delight of an appreciative, boisterous audience.

There was no “hello, how y’all doin’ tonight?” or any sort of greeting from the singer. She just launched headfirst into a stockpile of hits, beginning with her #1 smash, “Born To Fly,” and continuing through six more songs before she spoke a word to the crowd. Sara announced that this was her band’s first gig in six weeks, and shared amusing anecdotes about how crazy her holiday season was, with seven kids in the house. I can imagine she was only half-joking when she said that getting back to work was like a much-needed vacation for her. She was not only referring to getting back on the road, but also getting back into the recording studio. Sara announced that she will have a new album in stores on March 4. She performed two tracks from the upcoming CD: “Put My Heart Down,” which she described as one of her favorite tracks on the disc, and the current single, “Slow Me Down,” which is the title track.

Evans, who was decked out in tight black jeans with a wide belt, a leopard print top, and impossibly high, sparkly gold heels, continued to belt out more hits, from the anthemic “A Little Bit Stronger,” to the rollicking “Suds in the Bucket,” to forgotten gems like “Coalmine.” Her voice remained strong and powerful throughout her performance, never faltering or losing steam. After singing “Real Fine Place to Start,” Sara took a breather offstage for a couple of minutes before returning for an encore. Possibly influenced by her aforementioned seven kids and stepkids, Sara treated the audience to three recent Top 40 radio hits: a gender-twisted version of Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man,” “Just Give Me a Reason,” by Pink and Nate Ruess (Sara sings it with her guitar player, Billy McClaran), and the Neon Trees’ “Everybody Talks.” The Pink song, in particular, seemed to elicit the biggest crowd response.

Surprisingly, Evans did not perform her very first chart-topper, the 1998 hit, “No Place That Far.”

Photo courtesy Sara Ober

Photo courtesy Sara Ober

Sara put on an outstanding show. One is left wondering why she’s not a superstar, a la Carrie Underwood. She certainly has the pipes to contend with any of the top-selling female artists of any genre that’s out there today.

Another note: her merchandise table was seriously lacking. There were only two designs of t-shirts to choose from, one 8×10 color photograph, and one CD, “Stronger.” No hats, no hoodies, no Greatest Hits CD, no guitar picks… What was up with that???

Sara and two band members

Here is Sara’s complete set list from this concert.

Born to Fly
As If
Saints and Angels
I Keep Looking
Backseat of a Greyhound Bus
Put My Heart Down
Slow Me Down
A Little Bit Stronger
My Heart Can’t Tell You No
Suds in the Bucket
I Could Not Ask For More
Real Fine Place to Start
When I Was Your Man
Just Give Me a Reason
Everybody Talks

Keith Urban FUSE review!

“Fuse” is Keith Urban’s first studio album in three years, and expectations were running high. So was curiosity, as it was revealed that Keith not only enlisted the assistance of producers he’d worked with before, like Dann Huff, but also some surprising choices, like Mike Elizondo (best known for working with Eminem) and Butch Walker (Pink, Avril Lavigne). He brought in EIGHT producers in all for this record! Coulda been a “cluster,” but, for the most part, it all “fuses” together quite nicely.


Somewhere in My Car Keith certainly has a lot of songs with references to cars and driving (Put You in a Song, Days Go By, etc.). The latest is a deceptively uptempo, bright-sounding song that’s actually about a breakup. He  is bummed out about coming home to an empty apartment, wishing he could bring himself to take the pictures off the walls that only remind him of this girl that is gone. “I know you’re never coming back, But in my mind, we’re somewhere in my car…” A good song, but I’m not convinced that Keith is really the type of guy who’d live in the past and mope over some a broken relationship. Nor do I believe that any gal would be crazy enough to leave Keith Urban!

Even the Stars Fall 4U Keith has said in interviews leading up to the release of “Fuse,” that he didn’t want to keep on making the same album over and over, and this track highlights his eagerness to think, write and play “out of the box.” This song would be more at home at Pop/ Top 40 radio than on a country station. Catchy and pleasant, in spite of the fact that the title sounds like one of those bad pickup lines in those ads.

Cop Car Keith is a little old to be singing about getting arrested with a gal and thinking “your dad is gonna kill me,” then falling in love “in the back of a cop car.” Unless he’s thinking back a good 25 years or so. Pretty little love song, and the lyrics paint a clear picture: “I was too busy watching you go wild, child, to be worried about going to jail.” Maybe Keith’s much-younger sound-alike country compadre, Hunter Hayes, would’ve been a better choice to record this song.

Shame is a stark self-examination in which Keith seemingly takes inventory of the mistakes he’s made and the people he’s hurt. “Promises I made and bills I never paid, another missed birthday, Shame on me, shame on me, Bridges that I burned and lovers that I hurt, lessons never learned, Shame on me shame on me.” Never too late to make amends, Keith! A very good candidate for a single. Shows the kind of emotional maturity I would expect from KU at this stage of his career, as opposed to the two tracks it’s sandwiched in between. (While it sounds autobiographical, Keith did not have a hand in writing this. The tune boasts no less than seven songwriters!)

Good Thing This isn’t country… but it’s still, well, a good thing! Starts out with crunchy rock guitars, then a thumpy, disco-like bass line kicks in. Lightweight lyrics, but they work with the song’s addictive groove. A cross between Keith’s earlier hit “Sweet Thing” and the 1978 Exile smash, “Kiss You All Over.” “The possibilities, Mmm they’re killin’ me, like you’re killin’ every dude in the room with the way you move,” Keith sings slyly.

We Were Us A duet featuring my favorite male and female country artists, Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert??? Thank you, God! Ladies first: Ran starts, Keith takes the second verse, and when they come together in the chorus, it’s magical! Keith has some of the best lines: “Shotgun sunset, a cool mint kiss, back seat promise, breaking it.” The hook of the chorus is, “Money was gas, dreams were dust, love was fast, and we were us.” Interesting that it was composed by three outside songwriters. I’d have been interested to hear what Keith and Miranda might’ve composed together.

Love’s Poster Child “Show Me How it’s done this side of Dixie. I’m a broke down truck, Baby, won’t you fix me?” Um. I’m glad Keith didn’t write this one! LOL But the man can sing anything with conviction!

She’s My 11 Oh, here’s my country Keithy! More conventional sound here, sounds like it coulda been a track off KU’s 2002 “Golden Road” CD. Nothing special or original in the lyrics here, but it’s great to hear Keith jamming on his ganjo!

Come Back To Me Mmm… Now this is a sexy song! A slithering, sensual rhythm, reminiscent of KU’s “You’ll Think of Me,” only that was an epic breakup song, whereas this is an overt overture of seduction. “”If there’s lips that you wanna get drunk on, Ferris wheels that you wanna get stuck on, go… See everything you think you need to see, then come back to me.” How creative… and did I already say “sexy”? Yeah, well I just said it again! Even sexier is the fact that Keith loves her enough to let her go, if she’s too free a spirit. “I wanna hold you, but I don’t wanna hold you back,” he croons. Swoon! Kinda breaks my heart that he didn’t write it, though…

Red Camaro Of course KU would include a song called “Red Camaro” on an album. I like the instrumentality of the song, ganjo and fiddle. better than the actual content of the song. “Staring at your legs on the leather of my red Camaro” sounds a little creepy, like a dude lookin’ to “get some” on the first date. (This song also brought to you by Coca Cola.)

Little Bit of Everything We’re all familiar with this one by now. The album’s affable first single recently became KU’s 15th #1 single. I still like the imagery of hanging “a disco ball from an old oak tree.” Kudos to the Warren Brothers on some great songwriting, as always. One of my favorite hook lines of the year, “I know that I don’t need a whole lot of everything, I just want a little bit of everything.”

Raise ‘Em Up (with Eric Church) I expected something more. Harder. More rockin’. This song is pure, front porch pickin’ country. Melodically, there are parts that sound like Keith plagiarized his own song, “Somebody Like You.” The phrase “Raise Them Up” doesn’t just refer to raising your beers in the air for a sudsy toast (as the presence of E.C. might lead you to believe), but also to raising your voice, your flags, your babies.

Heart Like Mine Keith gravitates to the piano for this ethereal, heartfelt ballad, which finds Keith trying to undo mistakes he’s made and salvage a relationship he’s almost destroyed. “I’m the son of a son of a headstrong man, so defensive, so full of foolish pride. But I just will not lose you, Baby…” Another decidedly un-country song, one that leads me to believe Keith has been listening to a lot of Maroon 5.

*These last three songs are “bonus” tracks” found on the Deluxe Edition of the CD. Only one of which I think is good enough to have been on the regular album.

*Black Leather Jacket These are the type of nostalgic lyrics we’ve come to expect from Kenny Chesney, who tends to revisit his youth again and again, in redundant tunes like “Young” and “I Go Back.” I wouldn’t expect to find this type of fluffernutter on a Keith Urban album. “I wore a black leather jacket way back in high school, and man, lookin’ back at these pictures of us, we were so cool…” My least favorite song on the album.

*Gonna B Good This song makes me want to don some jean shorts and swing my legs off the back of a pickup truck. Keith really lets loose on a bevy of instruments here: electric, acoustic and slide guitars, ganjo, bouzouki and baby sitar, as well as harmony vocals. A lot of KU bang for the buck! “Red sun in a lazy sky, sittin’ on the end of my hood, Turning in a Friday night, Yeah, this is gonna be good!” Great Friday night song, even if he hadn’t actually said the words “Friday night!”

*Lucky Charm A happy, fast trip that sounds like Keith probably wrote it in half an hour. It also sounds like the Gin Blossoms, back in their 1990s jangle-pop glory days.

I am much happier with Fuse than I was with KU’s last release, “Get Closer,” which I wound up giving away. I wonder and worry about the fact that Keith only wrote about half the songs on this new project, but I guess he’s making songwriters happier and a little bit richer by doing so. My faves: Shame, Come Back To Me and We Were Us. Four out of five stars.

Toby Keith, Kip Moore invade Syracuse!

Toby Keith brought his “Hammer Down Tour” to Syracuse on August 23, stopping at the New York State Fair, and bringing rising star Kip Moore along for the ride. It appeared to be a nearly sold-out show (from my vantage point waaaay up in the Grandstand, I could spot some empty seats in the handicapped section).

I was just as excited to see Kip (okay, maybe more so) as I was to see Toby, being a huge fan of the young hitmaker’s debut album, “Up All Night.” The CD has earned him the moniker “Hillbilly Springsteen,” from critics. Kip opened the show with one of the standout album tracks, “Crazy One More Time,” then proceeded to strut, saunter and slither his way through a total of ten songs, including his hits “Something ‘Bout a Truck,” “Beer Money,” and “Hey Pretty Girl.” He gave the audience a sneak preview of some of the new tunes that will appear on his upcoming sophomore CD. There wasn’t a lot of stage banter with Kip, and what there was sounded scripted, and was peppered unnecessarily with salty language. He went off on some well-rehearsed tangent about there being three stages to every heartbreak (a story/ joke that I’m sure his bandmates are sick of hearing night after night), but, as my concert buddy Janelle pointed out, you couldn’t understand him. No, it wasn’t Kip’s Georgia accent, but rather microphone distortion, that rendered most of his rambling indecipherable. Well… he looked good, anyway! (Fortunately for those of us seated miles from the stage, there were two giant screens on either side of it.)

There was a long wait between the end of Kip’s set and the beginning of Toby’s, which came as no surprise, as it’s well-known that TK puts on a show with lots of special effects, so extra setup time is required. A lot of folks had waited until towards the end of Kip’s set to start trickling in, most of them with beers in hand. By the time TK’s band started cranking their instruments, people were ready for a show! The roar of the crowd hit fever pitch when the star of the show finally appeared. Toby launched into a double dose of patriotism, with “American Ride” and “Made in America.” When he wasn’t celebrating life in the Good Ole U.S.A., you can bet TK was singing the praises of alcohol (“Whiskey Girl,” “Beers Ago,” “Drinks After Work,” “Red Solo Cup,” “I Love This Bar,” and more). A couple of Fan Favorite non-singles made their way into the mix, like “Get Out of My Car” (an album track from Toby’s 2010 album, “Bullets in the Gun”) and the cult classic “bus song” “I’ll Never Smoke Weed With Willie Again.” I’d heard that Toby doesn’t include any of his older hits in his live shows, but this turned out to be untrue. He treated the crowd to his very first number one smash, “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” and “A Little Less Talk and a Lot More Action”(both circa 1993), as well as the 1999 single that is considered his breakthrough to superstardom, “How Do You Like Me Now?” The predictable encore consisted of another patriotic two-fer, “American Soldier” and “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American).” Like his opening act, Toby kept the between-song banter to a bare minimum (more time to play as many hits as possible, I guess). Neither Kip or Toby introduced their band members to the audience, which is kind of a dis to the talented musicians and background singers, don’t you think?) Pyrotechnics were peppered throughout the show, for maximum effect. The concert started at 7:30 and wound up a little after 11. A good time was had, and a ton of beer consumed, by all!

Boy’s Baseball Dreams Stolen!

Last Thursday, I was working, doing the afternoon drive on Froggy. It was fortuitous that I was asked to fill in the day that I did. I received a phone call during the “all request” part of the show, that had nothing to do with music.

The caller was Steve, a grandfather from Watertown, and he was at the end of his rope. He’d tried other local media outlets, such as Newzjunky and Craigslist, to no avail. His twelve-year-old grandson, Daniel, had just visited the area, from Palo Alto, CA. Prior to coming to Watertown, Daniel had been at baseball camp at Cooperstown Dreams Park. Daniel is a budding baseball star, traveling all around the country playing in tournaments. Pretty cool, huh?

Well, here’s what’s NOT so cool. Last weekend, Daniel, and his grandparents were headed up to Cape Vincent for a family outing. They met up with another family member, Daniel’s aunt, on Airport Road, when the aunt noticed the tailgate of Grandpa Steve’s pickup was down.

Turns out, two items had fallen out of the back of the truck. One was a cooler, packed full of food and beverages. The other, was a duffle bag, belonging to Daniel. Inside, were Daniel’s personal baseball camp mementos, souvenirs and a diary. The family immediately backtracked, searching for the items, hoping to find them in the road, somewhere along the path they’d traveled. But their search turned up nothing. Somebody had obviously picked up both the cooler and the duffel bag and had made off with them.

Nobody involved in the recovery effort cares about the cooler. All of its contents are long since eaten/ drunken up. The cooler itself can be replaced inexpensively at Family Dollar. The duffel bag and its contents? You can’t put a price tag on that! Distraught, and feeling guilty, the grandparents offered a cash reward for the return of the bag and, more importantly, its contents, but their plea fell on deaf ears. They had to send Daniel home without his priceless belongings.

I played back Steve’s phone call over the Froggy airwaves. I’m sure it must have been heard by hundreds of people, at least. I put the story on my personal Facebook page, where it was shared 577 TIMES!!!!! But… no bag. No nothing.

My theory is that some young kids, not Dry Hill residents, or necessarily even local people, found both the cooler (whose contents they devoured) and the duffle bag. Maybe it was a really nice duffle bag, and they kept it. But why they would keep its contents, which would be blatantly obvious to the simplest of simpletons, to be the belonging of a CHILD??? It isn’t like it’s Justin Bieber’s diary, which you could sell for a million dollars on eBay! These are things that would be valuable only to Daniel, and his family, who are so proud of him. I shudder to think that anyone could be so callous as to casually flip through a boy’s journal, realize it wasn’t something they could resell, and toss it into the garbage, but I fear that is what happened.

I do NOT believe the “criminals” are local. They would have heard about the reward by now, and they would have come forward, with their hands out. Grandpa Steve even gave me his Swan Road address, imploring the finder to drop the bag off on the lawn in the middle of the night, if they were too ashamed/ embarrassed to come forward in person. No luck.

I still have my journals and diaries from when I was a young girl. Two BOXES of them! They helped me research my own history, when I was writing my most recent book. More than that, those old notebooks know more about me, than I remember about me. I haven’t read their yellowed pages in decades, but I know that they are a history of my heart and soul. At least Daniel, at twelve years old, can start over. Maybe one day, when he’s in the Major Leagues, he will share the story of what he lost in the Summer of 2013… and what he has learned in the meantime.


UPDATE… After an ad appeared in the Watertown Daily Times, the duffel bag was returned to the family!!!!