Make a wish
There's a commercial out there that says, “Where there's a wish, there's a way”. I can get behind that.
A few months ago there was a post on Facebook about the Make-a-Wish program. I was speaking with my brother about it, and I asked if he had a “'make-a -wish”. Was there something he wished he could do just once? My brother has Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer and the idea that there might be something that he still wanted to do intrigued me.
He looked at me quizzically and asked, “Do you have one?”. He seemed surprised that people would actually think about that. “I have two”, I replied. One that I live every time I can, and one that's a real dream. The first, I explained, he knew about. I always say that if I had to pick one thing to do in my last minutes, I would sing, “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” with my brother. We used to do it whenever we could. It's obscure, but it is just more fun than anything else I do. Granted, it's a strange song to sing with my brother, but I just love the energy it has. You can see a very poor, very old version that a friend posted on YouTube at 'Sky and Penny at Pretzels' if you are unfamiliar with the song, and I'm guessing you'll know it when you hear it. The second, is a goal outside my current reach. I dream of singing “G-d Bless America” at Yankee Stadium during the 7th inning stretch of a Yankee game. Big dream.
Finally, I asked him again, “So, do you have a wish? Is there something you would like to have the chance to do that you haven't?” His answer truly surprised me.
We have been singing since we were children. We have had vast opportunities, mine different from his, but music has always been a major focus in both our lives, and our careers. We have performed together and separately, we have done theater, clubs, meetings, concerts, religious holidays and more. I have sung a Carnegie Hall, Walter (Sky) has starred off-Broadway, I have done High Holiday services for a group of thousands and it was broadcast over the radio to thousands more, we have sung for children, adults, and seniors, and delighted family and friends. Imagine my shock when he said he never really had a chance to sing with a band. He got up at The Jewish Pavilion's Gala in 2017 and filled in for part of a song so that Paul Stenzler – whose band was performing for the event - could dance with his lovely wife, Dr. Terri Fine Stenzer. That gave my brother the bug.
I left his home on a mission. I wanted him to have all his dreams, and this one, I just might be able to do something about. I am blessed to have many friends, but I knew immediately that Paul Stenzler - past President and Board Chair for JP - would make this happen. I called him and he immediately went into action. He made some calls and arranged a special performance. He knew a wonderful band that performed at many elder-care facilities and Walter would be the perfect fit for them.
In December, the perfect time, the perfect date, the perfect venue and the perfect band led to the perfect performance. It was the holiday season, so the choice of songs was easy. There was no doubt that the band knew the numbers, and my brother was thrilled. He sang several songs, some holiday, some standards and had a great time. He had been tired from the aggressive chemotherapy that he was undertaking, and his strength wasn't what he wanted, but he more than found the energy to make his make-a-wish come true. The band was overjoyed and invited him back anytime he wanted. The residents were over the moon to be serenaded by such a special performer, I, of course, was overwhelmed by the idea that he was able to live this dream. It was a magical evening for everyone.
Do you have a make-a-wish? You should. Now the key is making it happen.