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Tales From The Road

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Instead of management advice this month, I’ve decided to share one of my most recent road warrior stories. It is hard to put into words what I am about to say. I believe as a society, we work too much and play too little. In the course of my latest speaking tour, I discovered that my favorite group, David Crosby and Graham Nash (of CSN) were going to be performing in Asheville, NC. I grew up to their music and it seems that they were in every early, defining moment of my life. I am an Ohio girl who was touched by their music and their message. The concert was at an old charming theater in Asheville and it was the first night of their tour. They sounded better than I even remembered. I had David Crosby’s latest autobiography and I gave it to someone who took it back stage and David graciously signed it for me. People have told me that they think they “know” me after they hear me give a speech. Likewise, I feel like I know David Crosby after reading his story.

The next night they were in Louisville, KY. Spontaneously, I decided to go to their concert again. I wanted to show my appreciation. While I was on the road, I stopped and picked up a big bouquet of flowers. During the encore, I threw the flowers on the stage with an attached note thanking them for their gift of music to us. The flowers hit the monitor and David walked right over and picked them up. Then he read my note in front of 2,500 people. I felt like I had died and gone to Heaven.

Right when I didn’t think it could get much better, I was called by a client to go to Washington, DC. Coincidentally, (I don’t believe in coincidences) Crosby and Nash had worked for four years with Reverend John Chane (Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Washington) at the Washington National Cathedral to put on a Pray for Peace Concert and Prayer Ceremony on October 16, 07. Miraculously, I was able to get tickets to the event at the last minute. My seat was directly behind Graham Nash’s wife…four rows from the stage. The band asked the audience to sing some choruses and at one point, she turned around and said to me, “Girl, you can sing!” I will forever remember that compliment from Mrs. Nash. I told her, “That’s what happens when you’re the only white singer in a black choir.” Sitting next to Mrs. Nash was their family friend, Mike. We were chatting before the concert. He was certain that he had seen the Dalai Lama in the National Cathedral parking lot before the concert. In fact, the opening prayer ceremony presented a choir of Tibetan Monks. It is the tradition to perform special chants in honor of His Holiness the Dalai Lama at auspicious times in his life. This was one such occasion. The next day, President Bush was to present the Dalai Lama with the U.S. Congress highest civilian honor, the prestigious Congressional Gold Medal.

The entire National Cathedral was packed. Almost 4,000 people from all over the world were praying and celebrating that night. At least ten faiths were represented. David Crosby, Graham Nash, Jackson Browne, John Hall, one of the Indigo Girls and many others made this a once in a lifetime event. When the concert was over most people filed out of the Cathedral, but I waited near the pulpit where the performances had taken place. We were all basking in the “high” of the moment when Graham came out to talk to the few of us that had stayed after. I suggested that this concert and prayer ceremony be a once-a-year event. Graham told me that David Crosby had just told him the same thing. This event had been Graham’s brainchild four years earlier and it was an amazing success. I told him that the only change I would make is to broadcast the entire ceremony to the world.

I was still standing by the pulpit holding David Crosby’s earlier autobiography, Long Time Gone. He walked over, said hello and offered to sign the book. We had a brief conversation and he told me that he is trying to stay healthy on the road but that it is hard. I relate. He is one of the most talented and gentle-spirited men I have ever met. We hugged goodbye and my closing words were, “We love you, David.” Yes, a generation of us love CSN. We thank you, David and Graham, for the message, the memories and the music.


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