Friday, October 9, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
“From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another.” (John 1:16)
11:05 pm in Brooklyn, New York
We had planned to take a series of buses to Edinburgh Airport, thinking that it would be interesting to experience Susan’s mode of travel not only locally but regionally as well. Using Scotland’s nifty government-sponsored travel site, we plotted out the buses and routes that linked the various bus companies (plus trains and walks) from point to point. Good! The starting point was to be a short walk from the Burnview, and the ending point an hour or so later was to be the terminal at the airport. But we awoke to a stormy morning and realized that we would be soaked by the time we arrived at the airport, and probably wouldn’t dry out for hours. Thankfully, Colin was graciously available to call a taxi, so we departed the delightful Burnview Bed and Breakfast with extra gratitude and jumped into the taxi as soon as the driver arrived.
Well, well, well. It turns out this very driver had driven Susan herself in this very cab many times in the past! He lived in a neighboring village, but Blackburn was a regular service area for him. We were glad to pay the fare and tip as we were delivered, early and dry, to the terminal!
We had plenty of time to drink whipped coffee while waiting for the Delta counter to open. Once we were in line, a nice airline worker with a clipboard asked us the typical security questions, including whether or not we had any scissors in our carry-on luggage. My super-light packing did indeed include a small pair of scissors, and although the JFK security scan had not found this troublesome the Edinburgh team did – so I had to drop the scissors into a big transparent container bristling with unpremeditated weaponry. Well, the pen is mightier than the sword, so at least the laptops made it through security.
Settling into the T-Mobile wi-fi hotspot near our gate, I tried to log in to my previous account with the 30 minutes left over from July, but alas the time had expired almost immediately after the end of our first Scotland trip. So I paid another $8.33 for 60 minutes, and used about half of that to post a few messages and upload some photos to the blog before we were called for boarding.
Our international flight had free meals galore, so there was little time for snoozing between blogging and snacking. We arrived at JFK in fewer than 7 hours, quickly passed through customs wondering how we would have declared haggis if we had purchased some, and said our goodbyes as Marie continued on to San Francisco. Bless his heart, Del had anticipated our early arrival without baggage to claim, and he was waiting to pick me up as soon as I reached the curb outside. Within 25 minutes, we were home in Brooklyn.
A few days later, Susan’s CD version of Wild Horses hit the web, followed by the exciting news that she would be singing it the following week on the finals of America’s Got Talent. Wild horses could not have kept us from the Starbucks in Edinburgh, and they definitely will not keep us from buying enough CDs for a whole herd of family and friends! Marie and I will have to compare shopping lists as to who gives to whom.
Serendipitously, Marie was scheduled to be in Manhattan for a banquet the day before the AGT final, so we agreed that if our busy agendas could accommodate a joint viewing we would meet to watch Susan’s American debut together. Sure enough, the day cleared perfectly for us, and we decided even to post an invitation on the fan site and at the YouTube pub for anyone who could change their evening plans at the last minute and join us to Suevue in Manhattan.
Late in the afternoon on September 16, Del and I caught the subway, which near our house is an elevated train that later disappears underground. We decided to include photos of our little journey on the Blessing Blackburn blog, since we hope and pray that Susan will soon visit New York City! We saw her sights, and she can see our sights! We were thrilled that Susan felt so loved and welcomed in America, from the moment that she arrived at LAX, through her visit to Disneyland, during the filming of AGT, including her backstage interview for Today, throughout the fantastic news coverage of her astonishing performance, even to the point of 95+ percent approval on various enormous online polls.
We exited the subway at Broadway and Herald Square in front of Macy’s, walked along 34th Street past the Empire State Building, crossed Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue, then walked several blocks up Park Avenue to the Union League Club where Marie and Betty were staying. They were hurrying back from uptown by pedicab, and when we met them Betty opted to return to her room to rest while we scrounged around for something to eat in Manhattan. Our initial choice, a nearby bistro, was packed, so we headed toward the food court at Grand Central Station, but opted instead for a classy Chinese buffet a block away. We dined and dashed (paying, of course!), in time for the start of America’s Got Talent featuring Susan Boyle.
In her small, tasteful room at the Club, Marie fired up the laptop so we could watch the proceedings on TV while simultaneously interacting with fans virtually partying together on the sites. Susan stole the show and the follow-up media coverage with her fabulous performance, and we were delighted that newyorkrican from the YouTube pub actually phoned us to chat about all of it! Walking back to the subway, Del and I noted that the Empire State Building happened to be lit up in Susan’s official website colors, and of course we had to stop in at the Starbucks on the ground floor to purchase a little sustenance for our journey home.
Now, a few weeks later, we await the Thanksgiving week release of Susan’s CD, thinking how fun it would be if Susan could actually be the featured singer on the Herald Square platform at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It is televised by NBC, after all, and they have previously managed to find a little time in their schedule for the Scottish songbird. The playlist for Susan’s debut CD, just officially announced, includes 3 classic hymns – How Great Thou Art, Amazing Grace and Silent Night. These, along with the other 9 songs, will be sure to thrill millions, including Christmas shoppers on the day after Thanksgiving, traditionally America’s single biggest shopping day.
The final months of each year are always special to me because of the sacred holidays commemorating God’s provision, particularly through Jesus. The gift-giving season is a reminder of how much He has given, and still wants to give. This year, virtually the whole world is watching His grace at work in the life of one humble Scottish maiden with a God-given voice. He gives for a purpose, and He has a plan for each one of us – a plan that may be completely unexpected, and more than anyone could possibly imagine.
“For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17)