November 7 – Opening Night

The day that led up to opening night was rather mild.  Han was in the studio with a new client, and I bounced around doing my errands and other household tasks.

We made our way to Carlsbad and got there a little after 4 pm. Some of the guys were already there loading in. The venue was a small theater, it holds about 100 people in 6 long rows.  There was plenty of hugging and general anticipation as they got their stuff on stage while those of us not in the band waited.

When Flan arrived, it was cool because he was just the same guy, but he just happened to have just won the World freakin’ Series five days before. For him, it still hasn’t sunk in yet, and he feels that it was beyond any of the players’ or his control.  Sometimes it’s just that way. But he had some great stories and he’s got some great new songs.

Slowly, everyone arrived.  Now you have to understand that these shows are no small production. There’s between 4-8 people on stage at any given time. Our friend, Jon, was running sound and doing a great job.  Our other friend, John, was running everything else and handled it all smoothly. After sound check, a group of us went to Mas Fina Cantina for pre-show food and beverages. Our friend, Barbara, was in town for the show from Austin, so I spent some time with her and our other friend, Becky.

When the show started, Flan went out on stage to thunderous applause. He had a t-shirt that had a silhouette of Brian Wilson’s head,  and Flan joked that Han was the originator of “Fear the Beard.” J

The show was great, if a little rough.  But the players are so outstanding that it sometimes doesn’t matter!  They got through the new songs, many of which the band had only just heard during sound check, and sparkled through the older songs.  Amidst set changes done on the fly, to spilled wine on stage, it all came across brilliantly.

After the show, as we got everything packed up, Flan invited us all to his house which was on the way home for us, so of course we went. And, again, it was all so familiar, it’s just that the stories were new and had that magical world champion shine to them. But it was beautiful.  We were there long enough to change our clocks back and celebrate that we had another hour to hang out.

Han & I rolled home and were in bed by 2:30 am.  We were exhausted from it all, but happy to know we get to do it all over again several times this music season. Next show is Saturday night!

November 8 – In Memory of James E. Berkley

On Sunday, November 7th, members of Han’s family gathered to honor Han’s grandfather, James Berkley, who died on October 19th.  We all went to his house, where his daughter, Frankie, now lives with her husband.  They had moved in to help care for him about a month prior to his death.

Instead of a formal funeral, Frankie just wanted a day at home with family to be together and remember him.  In December, he’ll receive a military funeral, which we’ll go to also.

It was a gorgeous, clear day in Paradise Hills, and from the backyard, you could see the Coronado Bridge, downtown and all the way to the ocean. Han’s sister and her son were there, along with his brother and step-mom.  His other sister couldn’t make it because she’s about 30 days away from giving birth.  Also there were Frankie’s 4 kids, Angela & her husband, Katherine, David, and Jacob along with his wife and their little boy. Then, of course, me, Han & DK were there.

We snacked and chatted for a bit, and then Frankie put in a video.  The title screen came up and it was “The Life of James E. Berkley, 1954-1990.”  The video was all old 8mm movies that Grandpa had added music to and narrated over.  It was neat to hear his voice and then to see his memories.  There was Frankie as a little girl, and Han’s dad playing baseball and walking Frankie to school.

As the years went by, we saw Christmases and birthdays. We saw them in front of the house we were in as it was being built in 1960. We saw trips to Colorado and Yosemite.  Then as the kids get older, we see them with their friends.  Han’s mom was in the video.  He had taken movies of them at a park (or someone had), at the beach, at a party.  It was quite something for Han.  His parents divorced when he was 3 years old, so he had never seen them be affectionate toward each other.  In the video, they were holding hands, dancing, and kissing.

Later on, we see Han as a little boy, and man, he & his dad were like clones.  Even from youth.  It was so fascinating.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to finish it, but what we saw was priceless.

After we ate a big barbecue meal and did some more chatting and photo-taking, Frankie gathered us all in the living room.  She explained that she had gifts for every person.  The gifts were things of Grandpa’s that she felt would be better shared.  It was obvious that she took time in choosing who would get what.  I received some books of poetry that he had along with a history of the Kumeyaay people of the region.  DK received his quilted, flannel jacket that still had a button of her head shot from one of the plays she’s been in with Junior Theatre. Han received his Shriner’s cap, that made him remember that every year, Grandpa would take him to the circus and he’d be wearing that cap.  It was very moving for Han. I don’t really know what everyone else got; it was a rather personal moment, though not secretive.  Everyone just accepted their gifts with gratitude.  It was truly a very special part of the day.

After that, it was just more hanging out, grazing, chatting.  We got ourselves together and left a little after 8 pm. Han went back on Monday morning to talk about the legal stuff with his siblings, read the will, etc. There’s still a lot that needs to be done, and Frankie is handling all of it.  Everything is going well, though.  Han brought home some more things of Grandpa’s, including his first guitar.  It’s a Sears Silvertone acoustic.  Sweet.

It was a great day to remember a great man.  May he rest in peace.

November 9 – A Breath

Monday night was pretty mellow. Han & DK went out to dinner together to spend some time with each other. I went to the grocery store since I hadn’t had a chance to go on Sunday, which is my usual day.  Then DK went to her friend’s house to spend the night since they have a school show for Junior Theatre tomorrow and don’t have school.  Han & I relaxed and watched TV, ate some chocolate pie, and went to sleep.  It was nice to have a night off.

Tonight, I’m going to a thing for work which should be interesting. I’ll be learning about the San Diego Zoo’s newest marketing campaign.  I’m looking forward to it.  When I get home, it will be more relaxing along with some small tasks.  Time to catch up a bit, time to breathe.


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