Life is full of pleasant opportunities and surprises if only we are open to them.

Attending an amazing presentation by an author of a recent book I reviewed – highly recommend to your reading “The Survivor, the Hero, the Angel: A Mother’s Story – one decade– just last Thursday (what a special treat hearing this mother and caregiver for her two highly disabled young sons share her very uplifting, positive and spirited family challenge), we were gifted by a special friend with two tickets to Friday’s performance of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

We quickly made plans to attend and found ourselves seated in the best seats in the beautiful Kimmel Center’s music hall – third row from the orchestra, center seats – “Wow!”. Scan_Pic0036  Normally that might be a little too close, but with this performance it was the perfect seats to see every movement and especially when their world renowned featured soloist, violinist Janine Jansen, played like an angel on a 1727 “Barrere” Stradivarious – which didn’t mean much to me as it may not to you – but the sounds she produced on it made me an admirer of both her and that priceless instrument.

Quite an afternoon of Britten and Mozart, one a little too modern for my tastes, the other brought me to tears with her beautiful playing.  Not something for every day, but a very special treat thanks to Sue, a very special and thoughtful friend.  “Thanks, Susan!

Scan_Pic0035Coming off the classical, we were attending a 50’s R&R musical event the next night, again spiced with two very special friends, Bob & Sue, for dinner and the event.  Not front row center this time, but still great seats, we enjoyed “A Night of Pop, Rock & Soul” with the Philadelphia’s own Duprees, the First Ladies of Rock & Soul (each singing in the style of famous female singers of that era), and finally, the headliner of the show, Bobby Rydell.

This was made even more special by the fact that Bobby had a liver and kidney transplant in 2012 and his hometown of Pottstown, PA, where this event was being held, declared it Organ Donation Day in honor of his appearance.

Now I have to confess I’ve heard other R&R groups and artists before and some half a century beyond their prime, their teen voices have been left far behind, so the backup bands play extra loud to overcome any vocal shortfall.  This is what I expected from Bobby tonight.  I have to say I (and everyone in this 2,700 member audience) was totally “blown away” to hear his voice sounding even better today than in past years.  I mean he belted out those famous songs as the audience joined in this shared music memory of songs from our own youth (many, many grey haired heads in that audience!).  We loved it!  He was great, sharing his successful transplant story supported by this energetic performance for almost a full hour (overall we got three hours of great entertainment for our money).

But that wasn’t all, as they say.  After the show, Bob & Sue made sure we were in the front of the autograph seeker line.  After a long wait, there he was, THE Bobby Rydel, in person, up close and so friendly and patient as we talked one-on-one, sharing our own transplant story to connect with him in a unique way.  And of course there were the photographs – he was GREAT!  Pam even got him to autograph her green “organ donor” rubber bracelet, a unique souvenir to remember the special night.

Yes, life is full of opportunities and surprises, most of them good surprises.  Keep open to them every day in your own lives, and when they appear, embrace them for the life gifts they are, and don’t forget to share them with special friends that make them even better.