I FILLED IN at the last minute for Liz Bentley yesterday at the Illinois Veterans Home. As usual, I'm the one who got the most out of it.
Liz plays there regularly but was under the weather. I showed up at the Elmore residence hall and the staff was very excited. Soon the room filled with residents, all very curious and a few disappointed Liz wasn't there.
"Well, I'm three times her age, half as talented and not quite at good looking," I said. "Other than that, we'll be fine."
They laughed and seemed to get it. And for the next hour, they paid undivided attention, tapped their toes and sang along. Way cool!
I was nervous about what songs to pick. Turns out after going through some stuff there's tons of material from back in the day - maybe not the 1940s or 50s, when most of the residents served, but they knew quite a few of the songs. And let's face it - they just don't do 'em like Hank Williams Sr., Ricky Nelson and Eddie Cochrane did.
What fun! It was an honor and a privilege to play for them, and I can't wait to do it again.