Friends traveled to the West Coast on concert tour. Upon arrival, they were notified the lady’s mother had died. Plans were made to fly the singer’s wife and teenage son home and he would finish the tour alone. He says it was his first tour alone. That tore open memories.
We were a several days out on an extended tour of Fla., Ga., S.C. with two multiple-day meetings, and several one-niters. We got word that Carole’s mother needed open heart surgery. I put Carole on a plane in Nashville and began my own first solo tour. I had done solo concerts when the women were sick but this time I was ALONE.
Most of the accompaniment tracks were in my keys –or with scrunched eyebrows could be—and I was the preacher/teacher. The truth is that Carole brings a dimension to a seminar or concert larger than her voice. A pastor evaluated us: “Dean does a good job, but when Carole is in the meeting—it’s dynamite.”
All I had with me was separation anxiety. The meetings went well. I got into a groove blending an eclectic sound of country to southern gospel to inspiration and big band. We recorded some songs with background singers and some we sang back-up. I certainly had a full sound. Some dynamics surfaced that I had not experienced before. My own emotions and spiritual sensitivity gave an edge to the words in messages and tears will sell a song.
We made plans to meet up in a close city as soon as Carole’s mother got home. Those plans changed because Carole had severe bronchitis before her flight home which would not yield to meds or prayer. As I recall, my wife saw 8 doctors prior to and on the trip from Iowa to Nashville. Stressed! Carole’s mother did well. Our daughter had pregnancy-related complications which sounded terrible. I wondered if I would ever see loved ones again.
On that tour, people told me stories. I was involved in conversations that still astonish me. People spurred my faith. After a concert in Waycross, I was changing into travel clothes in the men’s room. Hanging my dress clothes over the stall walls. A man in the next stall said encouraging things to me about the evening: “… for sure God has you where He wants you….” I laughed and thought “Yeah, in a toilet?”
Two or three weeks into the tour, I was drained and very scared. I went to the Macon Mall to visit a large book store. I read a medical book about Debi’s affliction and the possibilities put me close to the edge. I couldn’t do anything to fix anyone or anything and it was as if I were on a different planet. I have cried in bookstores, but I sure didn’t want to lay on the floor clutching a medical book in the fetal position. I had to do something with the adrenalin; I walked the halls of the mall.
In my journey, I found a pet store. There was a fluffy puppy. The clerk said it would be okay if I held the dog so I did. He cuddled into my neck, sloppy kisses and expressed delight. For a few minutes, that pup was an angel aware. Far more than an emotional support companion. I do not know why I didn’t buy the pup. Window sticker probably.
I pray God will release resources and His best people to minister to my friends in this tough time. And to you. (I have no dog resources, but I know someone who can supply up to six kittens per client.)
Ten days later I picked Carole up in the Columbia, S.C. airport. “Lord, we do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (2 Chronicles 20:12).
©2019 D. Dean Benton—Writer, Wonderer, best with my wife.
More travel stories and emotional support animals are in my books listed on website: firstname.lastname@example.org.