Early Valentine Day morning, B. J. awakened me from a deep sleep. Before I could get the cobwebs out of my eyes and brain, she hit me with a proposal: “Happy Valentine’s Day. Let’s eat breakfast at the King and Prince this morning.”
Enough said. The cobwebs rapidly disappeared as we prepared to dine at one of our favorite breakfast haunts on the beach.
Greater things were yet to come.
Later on Valentine Day, Laurie Jo Upchurch whisked her big SUV into our driveway all bubbly with excitement about her concert at Magnolia Manor. Since she had her equipment in her vehicle, she fell in behind Big Red and we headed to Magnolia Manor where many people anxiously awaited her appearance.
We go back a long way with Laurie Jo and Kenny Upchurch (Kenny and Triniti didn‘t come this time). Laurie Jo has sung and performed for me for years at revivals, homecomings, birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas parties, Valentine celebrations, Fourth of July commemorations, festivals and numerous other events. She has appeared at Magnolia Manor on St. Simons and St. Mary’s several times; they love her and are always eager to see and hear her.
Entering the Manor, we were greeted by wound up well-wishers and our able, affable, popular and handsome activities director, Gerry Mize who had conversed with Laurie Jo a number of times on the phone but had never met her in person. I turned Laurie over to him and he escorted her to the microphone and briefed her on the technicalities of the music center.
After familiarizing herself with the sound system, Laurie rejoined B. J. and me. We mingled gleefully with some of the residents for a few minutes before we were politely seated at an attractively decorated table and served in fine fashion our fare of tasty salad, steak, lobster, asparagus, baked potato, biscuits, and a dessert of raspberry cheesecake--oh so delicious.
On Valentine Evening, the lovely, talented, vivacious and smartly attired Laurie Jo was in her best concert form as she raised the spirits of all at the gala St. Simons Island Magnolia Manor Valentine Banquet.
Singer, songwriter and scriptwriter Laurie is always a hit with her audiences whether singing a cappella or with musical accompaniment. A few of the numbers she livened us up with are listed: Debbie Reynolds’ “Tammy”; Julie Andrews from Sound of Music and Mary Poppins; “Amazing Grace”; “America”; Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA”; “Love is a Promise” written and recorded by Laurie Jo; “It Must Be Love” by Laurie Jo; “There’s a Little Rhythm” by Laurie Jo; “king of the Road” by Roger Miller; “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden” by Lynn Anderson; “Happiest Girl in the Whole USA by Donna Fargo; “Downtown” by Nancy Sinatra and other favorites. There was applause after each rendition.
Following her concert, she mixed and conversed with the residents and staff. B. J. and I could tell by the atmosphere that an encore at St. Simons Magnolia Manor is in the making.
The folks down at St. Mary’s Magnolia Manor are green with envy and are hard on my case for a return performance by Laurie.
However, since Laurie is so absorbed with this year’s presentation of Tales of the Altamaha “Front Porches, Rocking Chairs and Sweet Tea” that is running April 12-21 at the Blue Marquee Theater in Lyons, Ga., that we can’t put too much more on Laurie Jo now.
She loves to do it though and she is looking forward to the next performance.