Tale of Two Cities - Double Gig Day (June, 2 2024)

This past Friday's Tale Of Two Cities double gig day was chock full of surprises and laced with supreme joy...every time I think I've seen and done it all, I am so happy to be proved wrong once again...
First stop was for a group of adorable gals (and a couple of gents here and there) I have been playing for over 12 years in Daly City, CA...their fashion plate Syrian activity director is such a lovebug and always brings me beautiful hand-me-down clothes and jewelry that look brand new, and even though the size of the group ebbs and flows as the years go by, their warmth and energy never wavers. Most are from the Philippines, some are from elsewhere around the world, they love music, and many still love to dance, all in their 80s-90s now. They all appear the same to me today as when I first began playing there!
It was one gal's 90th birthday named Angie and so I decided to pull up "Angie" by The Rolling Stones and wing it for the very first time and it was such a hit, with them singing "Annnnnn-gie!", I decided to let them call out whatever songs they wanted to hear, and if I could remotely pull it off, I would go for it. 91-year-old Anna called out "Hotel California"!! That was a total surprise! She got up and pretended she had a lighter in her hand and was at an Eagles concert for the whole song, 91, people!! Then this firecracker lil' gal named Inez, who never stops moving and plays my tambourine like a pro, called out, "Bee Gees"! Seriously?! Which song? "Stayin' Alive'!! You've gotta be kidding me, no way can I pull that off solo. But for YOU, I will try! And suddenly we were in that Saturday Night Fever disco and I was singing all the parts, even Barry Gibb's falsetto and everyone was singing "Ah ah ah ah, stayin' alive, stayin' alive", I was laughing so hard in between hitting all those crazy parts, it was HYSTERICAL!! But we did it!! These women are all in their late 80s/early 90s!! And they certainly still keep me on my toes!!
And then they insisted I eat from their beautiful lunch buffet after the show! "You must eat, Kimberlye, eat! We love you!!" Hugs from everyone!! Priceless.
Next stop was at San Mateo Medical Center Hospital for a group of patients with various mental/physical health challenges, and various ages/ethnicities, run by my extraordinary friend Frances Ancheta Becker, who is a talented singer/songwriter in her own right and gives 100% of herself for these folks ceaselessly. Whenever I come, I do my best to remember all their names and learn the new ones, and that includes the staff members and security guards, who I dedicated โ€œShe Works Hard For The Moneyโ€ to, because these are tough, thankless jobs where I bet they mostly feel invisible, and they need acknowledgment too. One longtime patient named Charles loves Bob Dylan, so he got "To Make You Feel My Love", and a new gal named Zina from somewhere in the Middle East (she said it's complicated) asked for Shania Twain, another challenge I took on, and pulled off "Still The One" without ever having played it in my life and she loved it, I was on an all-day roll!! Another guy wanted Elvis and I told him only if he promised to dance, so several of them got "All Shook Up" and rocked out!
My favorite parts were when we celebrated my late music partner Rich Armstrong's 57th heavenly birthday because he played for this group with me many times, on Zoom during the pandemic and then live when restrictions lifted. They remember us playing together so fondly and Frances asked for "Home" by Phillip Phillips, which was one of Rich's signature songs that we always included. It's a tough song for me to sing w/o him now, but I did my best to oblige, and everyone kind of held me up through it, moving to the music, some singing along. Then Frances asked for my original song "Rope Of Faith", and even though my voice was pretty tired by then, I gave it my all, and I swear, it felt like the whole room became hushed and their collective energy gathered around me like a group hug and lifted me up.

Whatever any of you think about me, or wonder who I am, at the end of the day, this is where I do God's work and these folks save me every single time. No matter what else is or isn't happening outside of these rooms in my life, no matter how challenging it may be to navigate, when I walk through these doors, I know who I am and what I am supposed to do, and I endeavor to make it unique and special for each one of them so they feel seen and heard. It's what they deserve and it's why I was put on this earth. There is no separation. We save each other. It NEVER gets old. On my 13th year of this mission and my calling until my next nine lives...


From Yer Lil' Redheaded Guitar Gal Pal Kimmy G...be KIND and love each other, even when it's difficult...




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