What I’m about to tell you I told to the ladies at a luncheon in Las Vegas. They thought I should tell all of you.
On the day my story below was published, 2 years ago today, I was away from home until 5 o’clock. I walked in and turned on my computer first thing, of course. I went to my email and it was moving! I could see it was just kind of rolling. Oh No, computer problems! I looked closer at it and I could see they were twitter notifications of this story being passed around. My email moved so fast for a while I could only see the countries names. I could see it passed around by a German fan group then go to Australia, to Hawaii, to Portugal, etc. This lasted for over 2 hours! It was even “liked” by a group who leads explorations into the northern arctic. They were reading my story via satellite.
As thrilling a ride as that was, it paled in comparison to what I actually wrote about….
You know, the whole day before your life changes forever, it’s just an ordinary day.
Here is what started that next day (Grab a cup of tea. Pull up a chair. This is going to take a while.)
After seeing that hotel room view (Chap. 3) and thinking there was a possibility that The Boys really were just above me, I noticed the gym was merely 10 steps from my door. I took that as an omen. I know the Boys work out mornings. I got up at 6:30 a.m., threw on a t-shirt, sweat shorts and tennis shoes (no makeup – hair, well bad) and headed for the gym. No one there – Left.
7:00 – no one in the gym. 7:30 – no one in the gym. 8:00 – Two guys in the corner. Neither looked familiar.
I figured The Boys took off the night before if they were ever really there at all. I had been either sitting in a car or sitting at a concert for the better part of two weeks. At home I walk everyday. I was stiff and crampy so I hopped on a treadmill. Within five minutes someone jumped on the one beside mine. IT WAS PIERO!
Even writing that made my heart thump!
I took a deep breath and wondered why, since the place was almost empty and there were plenty of machines, he hopped on one less than six inches away. I vowed not to do a fan thing and just kept walking. He immediately said, “I see you.” I said, “Yeah? Well, I saw you too.” He laughed. I made Piero laugh! I will never forget that exchange! At this point I was walking to the pace of, “Oh Boy, Oh Boy, pause. Oh Boy, Oh Boy.”
Later, when I got back to my room I immediately wrote down everything I could remember. Michele made me run it all by her, word for word, in case I remembered more. Thanks Michele! I wrote a few more notes on a couple of envelopes in my purse in the car.
Here’s what I remember:
I told him I enjoyed the concert last night. He must have been in a chatty mood ’cause he kept talking. He asked what my favorite part of the concert was. I told him “everything” (my momma didn’t raise no fool!). I did say that I really liked the solo’s and the new Caruso arrangement. I asked him what his favorite part was. He said the big orchestra and the really nice indoor theater. He asked what I didn’t like. I told him the only thing I didn’t like was not being able to take pictures. He said that it was not their request, it was a rule of the theater. I asked him what he didn’t like. He honestly told me a few things. Think I’ll keep them to myself.
I had an easier time remaining sane then you might think. My nervous energy was lessened by the fact that I was on a treadmill the entire time. However, about this time I had a thought – “I can’t believe you’re walking beside me talking like a normal person when last night 4,000 people were screaming your name.”That made me pretty nervous and I tried not to think those thoughts again!
I asked him if there were sound problems last night. I said I thought I saw Ignazio giving hand signals to the sound guy. He agreed and said that it was only in the beginning of the show though.
I told him I thought I saw him drinking more water than usual during the performance. He said,“Not really. When I do this a lot. I need much water.” It’s hard to describe what he did, but he opened his mouth and made a hard whooshing sound out of his mouth and nose at the same time. I don’t think the average person could do this with such amazing force! He showed me this several times in a row. I said that I could see how it would make his mouth and throat dry. He said it did. He then told me that his solo “No Puede Ser” was the hardest song he ever sang.
Piero said he was glad they had two days off and could get some “good sleep.” I told him I thought his voice was sounding a little tired this morning. He said, “No, I always sound like Barry White in the morning.” Wouldn’t you love for me to say he serenaded me with a Barry White tune right then and there? He didn’t. Hey, a girl can only get so lucky and I was currently thanking my lucky stars, God, my parents, his parents, the treadmill manufacturer and everyone and everything within a hundred mile radius! All I said was, “that’s not a very bad thing, Piero.” He laughed again!
He asked how many concerts I had been to. I told him four. He asked which ones. I said Vienna, Virginia first. He said, “Oh yes, rain at first.” We talked a little about Sterling Heights and Elgin, but I don’t recall what was said. I know he talked about them being outdoors. I told him that last night was my last concert. He said he had 3 more concerts in the U.S. and Canada. I asked if he then would get to go home. He said no, they will leave the U.S. and go to… He has a heavy Italian accent you know and I had trouble understanding the word “Cannes.” At one point I said, “Canada?” He said, “No Cannes. Kah-inn-zzz.” I got it. I asked when he would get home. He said not until July 6th or 8th. I had another thought here.“I’m awake, right? No one is going to believe this. Not even me!”
He asked where I lived. I told him Ohio. He said, “I know Ohio,” but looked doubtful. I said, “You’ve been to Cleveland Ohio.” He said, “Oh Yes.” I could see the light go on in his eyes.
Keep in mind we were side by side this whole time. I’m still walking and he’s started some serious running. I wanted a brief full body view, so I slid back a little on the treadmill. My sneaker hit the side and made a squeaking noise. He grabbed my upper arm and said, “be very careful.” I said, “Thank you. I can’t believe you’re running so fast and still talking.” He said, “I run like this every morning.”
I noted the timer on my treadmill said 30.58 minutes.
Piero soon stopped running and talking (darn). He got on some leg machine behind me. I was still walking and trying hard to remember every word of our conversation. Pretty soon I felt a tap on my shoulder. I looked around and it was Piero. He said, “Will you stop please?“ (WHAT?!!) “Sure.” Of course, I couldn’t find the off switch and I pulled that plug people use to attach themselves to the machine (Michele is still laughing about that). He said,“Can I take a picture of your tattoo?” Ok, right then I thought I might get sick. He knew who I was! He could not have read the small tattoo on my ankle while I was walking on the treadmill! Now was my chance for proof of our meeting! I said, “Sure, if I can get my camera and take one of you.” He said, “sure”. He got down and took a couple of pictures. I flew to my room got my camera and called Michele.
When I returned he was back on the leg machine. He got up and asked me to join him in the picture. No make-up and dripping with sweat, I refused. He grabbed a barbel and posed for these:
After I took those two pictures do you know what he said? “Is that enough?” What a man! Then I said, “Piero, I’m with the Flight Crew.” He said, “I know.” (Oh yes he did!) I said, “then you know I will probably write about this.” He said, “Yes, certainly.”
I got back on the treadmill. Pretty soon, tap-tap again! (Swear to God!) This time I was sure he was going to invite me aboard that big black bus headed for Italy. I know there’s water. I would paddle! I pulled the plug (stop it Michele) and got down. He took my right hand in both of his and said, “I’m happy you enjoyed the concerts. I hope I see you again next year.” I said, “Oh, you will!”
He put his towel around his neck, picked up his water bottle and went out the door. I don’t know how long I stood there staring at the door wearing a t-shirt that I hoped was wet from sweat and not drool or tears.
My Dear Piero,
If by chance you’re reading this and I now think there’s a good chance you are, I tried to tell this as accurately as I could. I hope you agree.
You are not only in possession of one of the three greatest voices alive, but you are one of the nicest people I’ve met anywhere. You have surely raised my expectations of you. Next year and the year after that and ten years after that, after you receive much more deserved notoriety, I expect you to be as honest and real with as much kindness and grace as you showed me on that most unforgettable morning.
Yeah, the day before was so ordinary.
Update: I have to add here that when I saw Piero at the hotel in Ft. Myers last March (2016) I asked if he remembered meeting me. He told me he did. I must have had a “yeah…sure” look on my face. So he told me the year, that it was in a hotel exercise room and that I had Il Volo tattooed on my ankle. He just couldn’t remember the name of the city. What a memory! Especially since he has probably met about a million people since then. Gotta love that guy!