We've all been asked the question whether it was in an email survey or a MySpace bulletin blast or even in conversation over coffee and fries: What would your perfect day be like?
I've never really cared for that question because I don't have an answer for it. There are so many things I like to do, so many people I like to be around....any combination of those things could very well constitute a "perfect day." And just what exactly makes a day perfect? Is it the way I feel at the end of the day? Or could it possibly be the way others feel who I encountered? I don't have an answer, and won't pretend to be wise enough to tell you what would be the perfect day.
But I'm also not naive enough to deny when I've been blessed with a pretty good one.
Saturday was one of those days. I won't go into detail on how it began but suffice it to say Sarah and I are newlyweds and we enjoy partaking in activities that are common to those usually stereotyped with the recently-hitched.
I had an audition for a play at 1:20. Because it's a darker show I couldn't go in with my usual Steve Martin ha-ha monologue I usually use. I went in with a new one I had just learned a couple of days before and was ushered in to the audition room while Sarah waited in the lobby, excited to be joining me on an adventure where I had promised her sightings of intense actors in "audition mode".
The two guys conducting the audition were really friendly. They took my picture, I did my monologue, we chatted for a few short seconds, and I was finished. I felt good about the audition but then again I've felt good about other auditions and nothing came of it so I don't have any expectations. Auditioning is actually much easier than many of my friends seem to think. It's my theory that ever since "American Idol" came around people tend to assume all auditions are conducted the same way. You go in, do your thing, and the panel tears you apart if they didn't like you. Fortunately, most people actually conduct their auditions in much the same way an 8th grade boy dates a girl. You go in, try to put your best foot forward (or at least an acceptable foot) and if you're not what they're looking for you just...never hear from them.
I left the audition and described to Sarah what went on inside as we returned to the car. From there we drove to Chuck and Ann's place. It seems they had a recliner they no longer needed and Sarah and I were more than happy to take it off their hands. Their house was all decorated for Christmas and it felt nice and cozy inside (not that their house isn't always nice and cozy. They definitely have what I refer to as "a grown-up house." Or at least a "more-grown-up-than-mine" house. There are no Simpsons DVDs on kitchen shelves or boxing trophies in the front room.). It's always nice to hang out and visit with Ann and so our little jaunt to Strasburg was a nice little boost to an already-pretty good day.
A few hours later Sarah and I drove to the station, picked up the video camera and the station van, and made the 40-minute drive to Reading, PA (pronounced redding....and yes, they do have a Reading Railroad) to catch up with my old pals The Katinas. They were one of the bands signed to Gotee Records while I was still there back in 2002-2004. They are five brothers from Samoa and are definitely the real deal. They actually remind me of hanging out with my uncles and cousins. Lots of laughing and then more laughing. The only difference is, these guys can sang. They are on the road with Michael W Smith and "American Idol's" Melinda Doolittle as part of a Christmas tour.
I hadn't seen the guys since December of '03 and I was really excited to get a chance to hang out and catch up. I had contacted their manager Niel about getting with them to record an interview for the station and was hooked up with their road manager Zander. He met us at the back gate and greeted us with a hug and a smile (we would later learn that Zander is the guys' cousin, which immediately explained how accommodating and welcoming he was). He led us through the backstage maze and into the guys' dressing room, where we would be doing the interview.
Four of the guys were finishing up eating in the craft services area but Joe Katina was already in the green room and I got a chance to introduce him to Sarah and catch up on what he's been up to. We talked for about 10 minutes and soon the other brothers began to trickle in. Sam, Jesse, and the twins John and James. There were of course lots of hugs and laughs and reminiscences (who could forget their endless hours of Madden NFL on the tour bus?) and after a few more minutes the interview was underway.
The guys did a great job - as always - and as I reached the end of my questions I decided to put the guys on the spot. I asked if they wouldn't mind singing a bar or two of something a capella. Until you've heard these guys sing, in person, with no instruments, you haven't heard singing. The guys smiled, whispered to each other for a moment or two, and then out of nowhere broke into an amazing version of my favorite Christmas song, "O Holy Night."
With their first note I felt my arms painted in goose bumps and Sarah teared up as well. Even though the camera was still rolling, she couldn't help but clap when they were done. Our own private mini-concert with some of the best vocals I'd heard live since I don't know when. It's hard to describe in words, so here's a link to the video I recorded of the song.
We wrapped up our time and Zander told us we could hang on to our All Access passes and stay and watch the concert. It was such a special night and I was so glad Sarah was there to share it with.
After the concert was over we got to check back in with the guys for a few more minutes and say our goodbyes. They even gave us three bags of Hawaiian coffee before we left!! When Sarah and I left the venue, we were still reeling, almost unable to believe what a great night we had. And it wasn't over yet.
After dropping off the video camera and the van at the station, we made our way to Reflections a bar/restaurant to watch Stacey's brother Aaron, who is the drummer for Kheris. Considering we were at the Lancaster Coffee Company the night before to see our buddy Tom Herr play (with percussive accompaniment by Mindy Lapp) this had indeed become a weekend full of great music (and friends!).
So, was it the perfect day? I don't know. I don't even know if such a thing is possible here on Earth but Sarah and I both agree that this weekend we got pretty darn close.