April 9, 2000
Scene 1: Sunday morning, April 9, 2000
The day begins with a great breakfast at Gail's, which Douglas would have loved too - fresh bagels and lox! It's another beautiful day, and Rachel is off for a photo shoot in San Francisco. We load our luggage in Gail's car, say goodbye to John, Ali, Elizabeth and Chris and in no time at all, Gail, Merrill and I are off to the SF airport where we will drop Merrill in plenty of time for his flight back to Seattle. Gail and I head for Joan's place in Modesto and the rest of the Ballfest!
Did you guys really think we had forgotten Michael? :-)
Scene 2: Early afternoon:
We stop to pick up a few things - a heather plant for Joan, some postcards for Douglas, William, Matt, DB and Greg, and some tidbits for the snack table and soon we arrive at Joan's and the rest of our Ballfest weekend is on!
We joined Joan, Jean, Kitty, and met Cathy (Joan's daughter-in-law) and Claudia, who is a brand new MBFC member, and I am sure Michael must have been there in spirit, at the very least. Did you all know that there is a Michael Ball Museum in Modesto, California? Joan's house is a real tribute to Michael, and he is smiling at us from everywhere - even inside the kitchen cabinet doors! :-)
We were sorry you couldn't all be there in person, but you were all with us in our hearts as we looked lovingly at Michael on the TV and in photo albums, on walls, in picture frames, programs, t-shirts and more memorabilia than I can possibly describe to you, but it was an awesome experience, to be sure! What a collection! Thank you so much Joan for sharing it all with us!
There was a lovely table of snacks, and in-between eating, chatting, laughing, sharing stories, and watching Michael videos, we passed around my 7 Ballfest photo albums and Ballfest autograph book. Thanks to everyone who sent photos of Ballfests and Michael for our Bay Area group to enjoy.
We also wrote messages on SF postcards for our Scarlet Pimpernel cast friends which will be delivered to them in Sacramento on Easter Sunday by Claudia and Joan! Lots of pictures were taken, and everyone has promised to send me copies to share with you all. I was having too much fun to take even one picture myself! What a Ballfest this really was! If you are thinking of moving anytime soon, I can heartily recommend the SF Bay area!!!! You will certainly find lots of Michael Ball fans there! It would be impossible to adequately describe our get-together, except it was wonderful beyond description.
Scene 3: late afternoon and early evening
It might still be going on, except that for some reason I had a feeling that we should check with Rachel, to be sure she had figured out how to meet us at the Oakland Amtrak station. Turns out that she really wasn't sure how she would get there, so with hugs and some very sudden and quick goodbyes, and an even quicker change of plans, Gail and I were soon on our way back to the car rental agency to pick up Rachel and her luggage, and hopefully make it back to Oakland in time to catch our train! I had wanted to stay forever, so maybe it was a good thing after all!
Thankfully, Gail is an excellent driver and somehow managed to get us there in spite of the Sunday night traffic...the train was a little late too, which was a probably a good thing as well! A zillion hugs and goodbyes later, we were on the train and on our way...
Scene 4: Finale
They even served us a complete dinner although the dining car was officially closed! We settled in for the night in record time, the train trip was lovely, and in 24 hrs we arrived in Seattle, where Merrill met our train, took Rachel home and we headed for Bremerton, exhausted to be sure, but having had the time of our lives, and a Ballfest weekend we will never forget.
Curtain Call: Applause, Three Cheers and a Standing Ovation! Bravo - Bravo - Bravo!!!
Huge thanks, flower showers, kudos and best wishes to Gail (and family,) Joan, Jean, Kitty, Lillian, Fiona, Liza
and Terri, Cathy, Claudia, families, friends and SP cast, DB, Matt S, Matt F, William and Douglas for everything! You guys are all wonderful and we had such a great time! How can we ever begin to thank you!!!???
This was such a great and memorable weekend for everyone involved, that the group has decided to make this an annual part of Bay Area Ballfest scheduling. Next year, Merrill and I plan to include a stop in the Bay Area on our way either to or from the STAGE weekend in Los Angeles for the next Bay Area regional Ballfest. We hope to see even more of you next year!
If I have overlooked or neglected anything or anyone, please forgive me everyone...my mind is still swirling! Also forgive the delay between Acts Two and Three, but we somehow managed to squeeze in a weekend with our Jeff
who was visiting from Los Angeles, an afternoon at POTO, a brief meeting with Ted Keegan who starred as the phantom, and William Solo (a Les Miz veteran and friend of DB Bonds,) and celebrating our granddaughter
Shannon's fifth birthday!
Love, hugs and God bless...Jackie :-)
Thanks to Everyone who helped make this a fantastic Ballfest Weekend