It doesn't matter how many times I've done this, I still get butterflies.
As always, we were greeted by Kirsten. She led us back to the reception room. Again, I paid absolutely no attention to how the room had been decorated. I never do. Someone commented on it while we were sitting there waiting. I didn't even notice it until then. Hey, I was in the Barry zone!
I was feeling kind of uncomfortable in the room while we were waiting. I get very self-conscious because a lot of people criticize me for doing this more than once. I was even asked earlier in the day why I do it. Then Kirsten mentioned my having done it before. Then Doug came in and mentioned it. And that made people start asking me how many times I've done it. So, I was not comfortable while waiting.
If I had been an armadillo, I would have rolled myself up into a little ball. LOL! Okay, go look up "armadillo self defense". I guess that analogy came to mind because I had been at the Living Desert that morning. They were giving a demonstration with one of their baby armadillos. He had rolled himself up into a little ball when all the people started looking at him. Yes, I'm an armadillo!
By the way, I was very happy that Doug was there helping out. I really like Doug.
I was also very happy that I got candids this time. Yay! I've had the worst luck with that! They use a digital camera now. The photos came out great. And you can see in the photos that I haven't lost an ounce of enthusiasm - I still look at Barry as if he hung the moon.
So, when it was my turn, I went to the door where Doug talked to me until it was time to move on to the next step. Then I was called to the next waiting spot, where Mark Worrall and someone I'd never met before (Danny, I think?) talked to me while I waited. Then Kirsten called to me and led me down the hall, and Marc warmly greeted me at the door.
There was a man I didn't know standing just outside the door. And inside was another man I didn't know. No idea who they were, or what their function was. But the door was left open throughout the platinum, so basically, both of these strangers were in my platinum with me. And since the door was open, anyone standing outside (and there were people outside), was also able to watch and hear the entire meeting.
I can't even tell you if Marc gave any indication of who these guys were. I didn't care. It could have been Johnny Depp standing there, and I would have ignored him and headed straight for Barry. And that's what I did. The only person I wanted to talk to was standing about 15 feet from me - THAT's where I was going! But I was somewhat uncomfortable that people I didn't know were in there listening to my conversation with Barry.
As I approached, Barry commented on my weight loss. Some people might think that was inappropriate - and it might be, in some cases. But I've met him SEVERAL times now - and I've adored him since I was a teenager - so I didn't find it at all inappropriate. I was THRILLED. For one thing, I was already excited at the prospect of being able to take a platinum photo with a thinner face. And more importantly, Barry's commenting on the weight loss means Barry remembers me. That's, like, the ultimate thrill. Barry has thousands of fans - if you're lucky enough to be remembered...I can't even describe how good that makes you feel.
Anyway, as Barry said that, and as I started to confirm that I had lost weight, there was a voice (or maybe voices) behind me - or a sound - there was something, at any rate, that got my attention. I was too busy being elated about Barry remembering me to take note. But Barry's attention had been drawn to whatever it was.
Then, one of the men I didn't know (the one actually in the room) said, "Is this the Dana that takes the photos?" That, of course, forced me to turn away from Barry to look at the guy. I guess someone confirmed that it was me - I really don't remember. Actually, it might have been Kirsten - she said something or did something that got my attention, and I was smiling when I turned to look at her.
The guy said that he loved my photos, and I thanked him - but I immediately turned back to Barry. Our time with Barry is very short, so I wanted to get back to HIM, even though the compliment was very nice to hear.
Somewhere in that exchange, Barry made the comment that I made him look better than he really does. Hey, he should see himself through our eyes!
But it was during that exchange with the man in the back that I could tell the tone of the room had changed from the last time I did platinum. That was somewhat disappointing, because the last platinum felt familiar and comfortable. I was much more tense now. And Barry didn't seem as relaxed, either.
Then Barry asked me if I had seen the other shows on the Christmas tour. I confirmed that I had, and Barry leaned back and looked at me.
And then he said, "Dana!" It was one of those things that you could consider as a scolding. But in this case, Barry's eyes had a sparkle, and he had a slight smile, and his voice was warm, and gentle. So, it came across more as if he were saying, "you really shouldn't be doing this, but... Thank you!" Or maybe that's just what I wanted to hear and see. But that's what I'm going to choose to believe!
I smiled at him. Barry's expression wasn't negative. If anything, there was some concern, perhaps. But it didn't look like it freaked him out that I had attended all those shows! Again, that's what I'll choose to believe.
I've been hammered so many times by people about how many shows I attend. I tend to get a bit of an attitude these days when I think I'm being criticized for it. And so a little of that attitude came through, and I blurted out, "I have to do it while I can." And I'm sure I had a somewhat defiant look on my face.
But that didn't seem to phase Barry. He smiled, and kind of laughed.
I can't remember if Barry asked me if I would be there in February, or if he just mentioned February. But he said, "That's going to be a big break!" He grinned. And then he said, "But we've got some plans." His eyes sparkled, but he let it drop there. And I didn't try to ask what his plans are. I was content to let him share what he wanted to share.
Barry folded his hands in front of himself, then asked what I had been doing. I responded that I was still taking care of my family and running the farm. For a moment, Barry appeared to remember that we had discussed that at the previous platinum.
But then he looked back at someone behind me, and backed off. I still had the distinct feeling that everything going on was being strictly controlled. I don't know, it was just a feeling. I could be totally wrong, but the atmosphere didn't feel 100% right.
The next thing I knew, Marc had moved forward to join the conversation. Marc and I have something in common, so his input is very relevant and welcome. I know it's my time with Barry, but Marc is part of the family. And I have Barry standing right next to me, so Marc is always welcome.
Both Barry and Marc participated in the conversation. Barry had a genuine look of concern on his face.
Barry talked for a while, and then Marc would talk for a while. The conversation went back and forth.
A couple of times I was asked a question, but when I would try to answer I was never quite able to get my full response out. Things still didn't feel right, it didn't feel like a relaxed conversation.
And then Marc apologized for talking so much. He totally didn't need to do that, at least not from my point of view. I kind of felt badly that he felt he needed to apologize.
Barry had a few more things to say about the topic. All very relevant, and true.
That part of the conversation ended then. I really don't remember Barry signaling for the official photo, but he obviously did.
As Barry reached to put his arm around my shoulder, the man in the back of the room said, "Let her take her own photo!" I wasn't quite sure how to take that comment. A few people laughed, so I laughed a little. There was a little bit of a smile on Barry's face, but I didn't hear a laugh.
We had the platinum photo taken. And then Chris wanted to take one more to be sure. This one at the top of the page with Barry having such a huge grin on his face is my favorite. The other one is very good, too. I guess I'll share it here below.
Barry's goodbye to me was very warm. He wrapped both of his hands around mine, and I think he thanked me for coming. I really don't know! When he looked at me and took my hand in his, my brain stopped functioning for several seconds! As I said, he still can hang the moon.
I'll admit that the presence of those strangers, and the slightly more formal atmosphere, had me leaving the room with a little disappointment. (although my hand in his definitely made it better!) But the disappointment was mainly because I was unable to understand the change from what I had experienced at the previous platinum. And me, I overthink... And I automatically assume I've done something wrong. So, I always beat myself up about this stuff.
Barry has this knack for taking the same songs that he always sings, and somehow making them relevant to what we're going through.
Actually, that topic came up before the platinum. There were some ladies standing there who weren't doing platinum. And one of them brought up that Barry somehow seems to know that someone in the audience needs something special, and he manages to do that special thing, tailored to fit what that audience member needs. And one of the other women spoke up with her own example of that. And I've certainly had several of those instances, including at this show right after my platinum. I think we all can attribute that to the "Manilow Magic".
So, Barry hit me with his magic a couple of times during the show - and I was feeling better when I got back to the hotel room. And the next morning I was feeling a lot better. And 48 hours later, I'm able to filter out all those things that were making me so uncomfortable, and just concentrate on my moments with Barry.
Now I feel very good about the experience. I'm very happy with my memories of this meeting.
He has so much warmth and kindness, and seems to be such a gentle soul... I'm so grateful that we have this opportunity to spend a few moments with him. As I told someone earlier today, he's the only one that can give me peace.
In my crazy life, my mind is never quiet. But Barry has the ability to make my mind be quiet, and to make me feel at peace. It's kind of hard to thank someone for that, because not everyone would understand it. But I definitely thank him for making a difference in my life.
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©Dana L. Holland 1980-2019 Manilow - The Absolute Best