Dear Ellen

Dear Ellen,

Say, I hear you dance like no body’s business! I think this is exciting news. Yes, this is very good news! Good news for ME because, you see, my dancing needs improvement. I’m still dancing like it is 1979 and I’m at the prom with the boy whose name I can’t remember and then my mom shows up with her camera and…well, you get the picture.

“So”, you may say to yourself, “What has that got to do with me?”

Well, let me explain.

This may take me a couple of letters. Maybe a couple of months worth of letters. I’m not sure. But I know where to begin. The beginning. Cuz, as you know, the beginning is a very good place to start.

I’m not starting at the beginning, like, where I was born (Jacksonville, NC) or when I first started playing the guitar (when I was 7)
or how I knew I wanted to make the world a better place at 5 (after a bath, it just came to me while my mom was drying me off; I declared, “I’m an angel and I’m sent here to make people happy!” and my mom said, “That’s nice, dear!”) No, I won’t bore you with all that stuff. I’m going to get right to the heart of the matter.

It was 1977, and I was fourteen years old. I was standing in a field outside of my grandparents house, just standing, staring at the sky through the trees, feeling the warmth of summer on my skin. Just relaxing. Well, the darndest thing happened. At that very moment, I realized I had lost a very precious ring that belonged to my great-grandmother. And as it hit me that the ring was gone, my eyes
woke up to the fact that finding the ring would be impossible…there were wildflowers and tall grasses as far as I could see. That ring was a goner, for sure.

I went inside, tears in my eyes, guilt on my heart. My step-mom, Gaye, was sitting at the kitchen table, talking to my grandma. When I told her what happened, she told me to close my eyes and visualize the ring. So, I closed my eyes,
and tried to visualize the ring. Gold. Round. Two jade stones and engraved letters on the inside of the ban. I was thinking, “This is silly.
Why am I doing this…?” Blah blah blah. My mind wouldn’t stop being negative! But, I focused on the ring…

Well, Gaye says, “I’ll be right back.” She leaves the kitchen, heads down the porch stairs and my grandma and I watch her walk, with
grace and confidence, out into the field. She was standing very still, and suddenly, she moved with determination to a spot out halfway into the weeds, bent over, picked something up, turned to us and hollered, “Is this your ring?”

AND IT WAS!!!!! It WAS my ring.

So, Ellen, this is why I believe I will get to dance with you some day. These stories to tell: I’m just going to keep telling them to you.
These stories have led me to a place where I truly believe nothing is impossible. All anyone has to do is work hard at their craft, have faith, and, oh, yes, write a lot of letters!

In my mind’s eye, I see me (nervous and excited), and I see you (smiling and confident) and we are standing on the soundstage of your show, and I am laughing out loud as I learn to boogie-oogie-oggie to your happy steps.

And I see me (playing the guitar and singing) and I see you (with mic in hand, singing along) as we lead your audience in something we can all sing along….

Well, I will close for today. I have chores to do and house to clean and Girl Scout cookies to organize. We still have about four boxes of Thin Mint, if you are interested! Or, if you are calorie concious, we have the Lemon Pastries. Mmm.

As my friend eight year old friend Clara says,


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