I wouldn't even be able list everyone that I saw last night before the show, during the set, and after as I packed up. It was the first time it's taken me more than 15 minutes to pack up and load my kit because of everyone who came over to say hello!
It truly meant the world to me to have you all there. So many posted amazing photos & videos which include Annie, Rodger, Rupam, Wolfram, Ryan & myself! Thank you so much for taking those and sharing them!
If you saw me waving a number of times towards the "Potato Head Side of the Stage", you may have seen a massive hand - rising above the crowd, consistently in that area, next to the souvenir stand.
That hand is a special one no-doubt, and as often as I could, I would put mine up to wave back to which the response was a sorta-sideways, sorta-upright thumbs-up. That hand has played a very important role in making me the man I am today.
That hand taught me to work hard, always do the right thing, take the high-road, and always have fun.
That hand taught me very valuable practical skills in life.
That hand taught me survival skills, camping, how to fix things.
That hand produced the loudest clap at numerous recitals & concerts.
That hand used to hold the spoon to eat his Wheaties every morning and as a young child, would share the bowl with me and occasionally knock out the few flakes I had on my spoon. I would return the favor.
That hand also taught me how to dig to the bottom of the bowl where the sugar would pile up!
When he was a child that hand was used to knock out a kid in his class who tripped him while he was passing out papers to his class. -Best story ever! The teacher asked him if he had a nice fall and the other kids in the class laughed… when he came back around the next row, he jumped up on a desk and came down on the punk who tripped him. (insert “violence isn’t the answer” statement here)
When he was a teen & young adult - that hand would drive his car through Lincoln Woods - at night, with no lights on - the standard challenge to his friends.
That hand has been battle tested at times overcoming some significant health concerns or injuries.
(Some of those may have been accidental involving a chain-saw... nbd.)
That hand has always taken care of our needs before taking care of his own.
As family members, at times we feared that hand would break cell-phones, elevators or ATM’s as he seemed to have no gauge on how hard he would push the buttons on those various devices.
That hand was familiar with the position of being folded, in prayer for his family & friends.
That hand has wiped away tears from his eyes during times of grief & heartbreak.
That hand was once the strongest hands I knew, and believe me, he still can put a firm squeeze on a handshake, but as the years have passed - that hand is aging.
That hand belongs to my Grandfather who will turn 80 this October.
He married the love of his life, my Grandma on August 20, 1954, cruising in style towards that 62 Year Anniversary!! WOW!
He’s known as "Eddie", "Brother", "Dad", "Grandpa", "Great-Grandpa", or "Uncle Eddie"!
To some he's "Mr. Stanford" and others - "Eddie-Stanford", (smoothly spoken as if it's one-word)
He loves to shake hands and give you that classic Eddie Stanford smile and laugh.
(If you know him, or any family reading this, can do the impression Spot. On.)
I sincerely thank you all for coming!
You were all in the company of one of the greatest guys I know and one of my biggest fans.
Thanks for coming last night, Grandpa!
I Love Ya & it meant the world to have you there!
~"Bruce, ah, ugh I mean Benjamin"
(An inside joke... family and close family friends will get it right away - Bruce is his youngest Son and I'm the oldest Grandchild. Grandpa would always (unintentionally) call me Bruce. If just stopped and looked at him, he'd correct himself... other times I wouldn't say a word... he'd catch on eventually!)