Shoot Me For A Reason: And I Still Love the Osmonds

I’m a walking catastrophe.

Really I am.

Comics let me hang with them because I give them material just by being present. It’s true. You can ask them.

I told you I was going to see the Osmond Brothers right?

I did.

I loved the show. And I didn’t cry when I met them like I was afraid I would.

I still can’t believe I actually got to meet the Osmond Brothers. (Sighs, and private screams allowed) Several of us got to go back stage during intermission  – I took my husband of course – and met Merrill, Wayne, and Jay Osmond. Color me happy. And more than a little nervous. Remember how I said I don’t get star struck? Well I don’t normally, but I saw Merrill and fear hit my entire body. I can only compare what happened to when we were kids and waiting in line for Santa. We were totally excited right up until it was our turn, and then fear took over. It was kind of like that.

We waited in line back stage for our chance to meet the brothers and suddenly it was my turn. I took one look and Merrill and BAM, my heart dropped into my stomach and my feet felt like lead. I grabbed my husband and made him come with me so that he could remind me my name if needed. Which is good because I forgot it. Not only am I a walking catastrophe, I’m apparently a dork. Jay Osmond is warm and funny and snapped me out of it, but still. I froze like I’ve never frozen before. I’m amazed I even had the wherewithal to remember I was married and to whom.

Going back stage was a huge treat. It was wonderful. And I didn’t cry until..

I got my picture back.

You know that really pretty black blouse I bought?

I was rushed when I got ready and forgot to change bras.

They all look great. I look like I leaned over a table of powdered donuts.

And no. You can’t see it.

That is one photograph that even Photoshop can’t help (I know because I tried) and I do not wish to wind up on Ellen DeGeneres’ hall of shame.

The show itself was very sweet. Three of the original four, Merrill, Wayne, and Jay performed and they did a great job singing Christmas songs as well as songs from the years passed, including He Ain’t Heavy, Yo Yo, Love Me for a Reason and many more. My heart absolutely soared.

In case you are wondering,  Jim Osmond does perform with them from time to time and he is in England right now doing a play. (Yes, I still remember all of the words from Long Haired Lover from Liverpool.)  Donny and Marie are on Broadway and Alan retired last year because of MS. And did you know that Wayne had a brain tumor 19 years ago and is a cancer survivor? I didn’t. Amazing.

The three brothers (and their back up) did a wonderful job and as nice as it would have been to see the whole family again, I didn’t miss them not being there. The harmonies, the banter and the memories were relaxed and as comfortable as home. Jay can still play a mean drum solo, Merrill is as charming and handsome as ever and Wayne? Let’s just say he reminds me of that uncle everyone has, but no one talks about. His jokes and comedic timing were absolutely splendid. My husband cannot get over some of those jokes. They were that good.

It’s fun seeing a group of musicians, most my own age or older, who still have that natural talent, strong work ethic, and great sense of humor work together with such ease and comfort.  All those years of hard work still shines through in their performing. They are timeless.   

Will I see them again? Oh yeah. The show was wonderful and besides, I need a redemptive photographic do over that doesn’t come with a wardrobe malfunction. I’m claiming female prerogative on that one. Seriously if you saw the picture, you would totally understand.

Love Me For A Reason: Going to See the Osmonds

I was in my 30s at a Jim Brickman concert in Tulsa when I met Donny Osmond for the first time. I’d never heard of Jim, but Donny was performing with him and there was no way I was passing that up. Not to discredit Jim, he’s a wonderful piano player I found out (I own all of his CDs now), but I still have my original 45’s of Donny’s. Donny was my first musical crush. I can remember hearing Go Away Little Girl playing on the radio as my mother drove me across town to my first of many new schools in Oak Park Michigan. I’d make her turn it up every time.  I was six and I was hooked.

We were living at that time on Dearborn Avenue in downtown Detroit. This was a neighborhood full of crack houses, bars, pimps, dealers and prostitutes and was not a neighborhood for kids. Our house was owned by the company my mom worked for and was directly next door to their office. That way she could keep me close while she worked. The grade school was so violent that the principal would not allow my mother to enroll me and so we drove to Oak Park and every day we’d listen to the Osmonds on the way. I was oblivious to the reality of our surroundings and knew only the innocence of their music.

I got to meet Jim, Donny, and the rest of the performers after Jim’s Christmas show and while that was nice, what surprised me the most was my emotional response. It took everything I had not to cry. I’m not star struck, truth is I get to meet celebrities a lot. I have traveled the world and even gone to the Nobel Awards and was granted an audience with the King of Sweden himself, but meeting Donny face to face brought back memories that moved me to tears.

I don’t know a woman my age who didn’t play Osmond 45’s on our little turn tables at home for hours on end. We all had those small pieces of vinyl and wore them out. We wallpapered our rooms with posters. We watched the Osmond cartoon and we even watched The Donny and Marie Show. Most of us were also convinced that we alone were destined to be Mrs Donald Osmond.

We were wrong, but still it didn’t hurt to dream.

I’ve lived in over 20 different cities in my life. My portable turn table and collection of 45s was the one constant I carried with me from new neighborhood to new neighborhood. Music was my main friend in those years. Money was tight and sometimes my mom had to work two jobs just to make ends meet. We left downtown Detriot and had actually lived in Georgia and Florida before returning to Michigan four years later. Now, we were living in a very small, two bedroom house in Southfield Michigan in 1975. This was our fifth home in four years. My mother was a book-keeper for a construction firm in Detroit, and drove an hour each way to work so that we could finally live in a safe neighborhood. It cost a lot more to live there, we ate a lot of popcorn, rice, and hotdogs,  but I was safe and that mattered.  I was home alone, a lot.

The Osmonds were playing at the Michigan State fair that August and while the concert was free, admission to the fair wasn’t AND my mom got paid hourly. When she took the afternoon off to take me to the concert for my 10th birthday that meant she didn’t get paid. That might not seem like much, but my mom only made about $10,000 a year. An afternoon salary was a huge sacrifice. Taking me to that concert meant she went without food.

I’ve never forgotten that.

My life has turned out very wonderful. I am happily married and have two amazing sons. We live in a nice suburban neighborhood in Oklahoma. We are blessed beyond measure. Three of the Osmond Brothers are doing a Christmas show in Branson this year at Yakov Smirnoff‘s theater and my husband surprised me with tickets this week. I almost cried. Donny won’t be there, but that’s okay.

Jeff doesn’t have to go without food to take me — but I also know it’s not his favorite band in the world. He surprised me for the same reason my mother did all those years ago. Love.

Other than seeing Donny at the Jim Brickman concert a few years ago, I haven’t seen the Osmond Brothers perform since 1975. I’m looking forward to the concert and to the memories. I just hope I don’t cry again. That would be awkward.

What gifts do you remember giving or receiving in your lifetime? Which ones stand out for you?