We’re Still Standing

Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels.com

Three years ago I was hunting for a really good gift to give my husband for Christmas. He wants very little aside from an electric car and a trip back to London, so each holiday season I have a difficult time finding a present that will bring a big smile to his face. Three years ago we were planning a trip to Scotland in the spring, so travel was already in the bag and I was not inclined to purchase an automobile without his inspection and approval. Out of the blue I saw an announcement that Elton John would be coming to Houston the following July for his Yellow Brick Road farewell concert. I instantly knew that I had found the key to a great surprise for my sweet and always generous man. 

I rushed to Ticketmaster and found two great seats, reserved them with my credit card, and printed the confirmation. I placed the exciting paper inside a lovely box and wrapped the treasure for Christmas Day. I was a ball of excitement, feeling certain that my husband was going to be incredibly happy with the prospect of seeing Elton John perform. When the day for opening gifts finally arrived I could hardly wait to see his reaction. I was not disappointed and neither was he. The gift was a hit and he immediately put the date and time of the performance on his calendar. It seemed like fun times lay ahead in the coming year.

Of course, the rest of the story is wrought with twists and turns. The whole world became undone with Covid in late February. By early March cancellations began all over the globe. Not long after that we got notice that Elton John would be staying home until further notice. All of his concerts were temporarily cancelled, but our tickets would still be good whenever it appeared to be a better time for assembling large crowds. We were assured that we would receive notice far in advance of the new date when new arrangements were settled. 

We waited and waited, wondering if Elton might eventually decide to scrap the whole project. Month after month went by with no word alerting us to a new date. So much time elapsed that we almost forgot about the concert that had once filled us with so much anticipation. I’d check my texts and email, but nothing ever came. 

One evening I was flipping through posts on Facebook when I saw photos of my daughter and son-in-law wearing glittery glasses and crowing about how much fun they were having at Elton John’s concert in Houston. I was stunned and immediately checked and rechecked my email hoping to find that there had been some kind of mistake. In fact there was no communication at all. The concert was happening and we were not there. I was devastated and had little or no recourse for compensation. I simply took my daughter’s word that it was a fabulous night of world class entertainment and fun and chalked it up to one of those crazy things that happen from time to time. 

A few days after the Houston concert Elton John came down with Covid and cancelled dates in some cities once again. I comforted myself with the thought that my husband and I might have become sick if we had gone to the musical extravaganza. I decided that it was probably too early for us to risk our health no matter who was performing. I put my disappointment behind me and moved on to other more important things. 

Lo and behold, almost one year after we should have seen Elton John in concert in our city and three years after I purchased our tickets, we learned that Disney +, which we have, was going to live stream his concert in Los Angeles. We would get to see what we had missed after all. Even better was the fact that we would be able to enjoy the music in the comfort of our home. 

We were unable to use our large television with a movie theater sound system because the concert would not start until ten in the evening and my father-in-law’s bedroom is adjacent to our great room. He has come to live with us since the time that we had so many grandiose plans for 2020. We set him up in the master bedroom so that he would not have to climb the stairs. He retires for the evening at around eight thirty because he is ninety three years old. We have become accustomed to using our upstairs television which is small, but useful for the video games that our grandchildren play when they come to visit. It would have to do for our viewing pleasure of Elton John and it did the trick. We donned our pajamas and reclined on our couch rocking along with Elton into the early morning hours.

Elton John at age 76 performed with only minimal breaks for all of the almost three hours. He demonstrated why he is revered all over the world in a tour de force of his many great hits. He is a bit stiff in the knees these days, but his fingers still glide across the keyboard with precision and joy. His impish ways are still there and were emulated by the huge crowd donned in sequins and feathers. He was in perfect form as he performed songs that made us smile and dance with joy back in the sixties and seventies and even unto this very time. For three hours we were young again and everyone was happy and loved and understood. Elton has uniting people with his wit and his talent and his compassion. It was a moving performance that left us smiling and sometimes shedding a few tears.

My husband finally received his gift, albeit in a very different fashion than he had imagine and it was okay. We were okay. Somehow it felt good that in spite of all that has happened to change our lives and the world we are all still standing and walking with one of the greats of our time beyond the yellow brick road.