Pennys Adventure in Cleveland

Pennys Adventure in Cleveland

December has been filled with a series of life changing events.

It all started out Monday, December 5th, one of the wackiest days

of my entire existence. I’ll not tell you about the wackiness

now except to say that my friend Gayle blessed me with a front

row ticket to the acapella group Straight No Chaser show at the

Benedum for Tuesday December 6th. She let me listen to some of

their Christmas cd’s including their new one: I’ll Have Another

Christmas. I was impressed with how talented the ten guys

are–masters in their craft for sure. You can learn more about

the by watching them on YouTube and at:

 It was phenomenal seeing them and listening to them live.

Straight No Chaser has quite a following of solid dedicated

people whom they call Chasers. After each show, there is a meet

and greet where the vocalists sign items and pose for photos. My

friend Gayle and I were stunned when offered a pair of tickets to

two shows on Sunday, December 11th in Cleveland. This was truly a

Christmas blessing to Gayle because her chasing season has been

hampered by circumstances making it necessary for her to give

away the tickets to the Toledo show and the detroit show. She

gave her Pittsburgh ticket to me but then decided to buy a

cheaper ticket for herself. I was so thrilled to find out about

the Cleveland shows. I felt it an honor to bless her this

Christmas by arranging a trip for the both of us to Cleveland.

With the personal interest the ten guys show Chasers, I looked

forward to this trip. For the first time, I met a group of

talented musicians who take the time after each concert to allow

us to say “thank you” to them while it’s their way of thanking

their Chasers. None of this “elvis has left the building”

attitude. I am now officially a Chaser.

It was a pleasure to arrange a hotel and purchase Greyhound

tickets. I was looking forward to a very nice stay at a brand new

hotel called the Drury Plaza Hotel located in the former Board Of

Education building. We left our homes at 6:30 A.M. Sunday. Gayle

traveling in her electric wheelchair, and myself with Bryanna my

guidedog. It was a cold snowy windy day. The sidewalks were not

cleared off in Cleveland. We waited half an hour for the public

bus to take us to the hotel. Eventually, Gayle glided in her

wheelchair while Bryanna and I walked about 20 minutes to the

hotel. We got to the hotel cold and exhausted. The lady at the

front desk told us our suite was not ready, but if we would allow

them 45 minutes to clean the suite, it would be. After lunch at

the extremely expensive Urban Farmer where I experienced the

tastiest belgian waffle ever for $12, I expected our accessible

suite to be ready. Gayle was looking forward to a much needed

shower. Bryanna and I were looking forward to a much needed nap.

We knew it was going to be a long day attending both shows. We

were told it would be another 20 minutes before our suite would

be ready which would place us in our suite around 1:30. While

waiting, I asked a gentleman at the front desk to please work on

finding a wheelchair accessible taxi cab for us. We’d be able to

come to the room between both shows to change and freshen up and

eat dinner. Out of 11 taxi companies in Cleveland only one had a

wheelchair accessible vehicle. First we were told we had to book

3 hours in advance, and then we were told that we had to book 48

hours in advance but only to the airport. The taxi company told

the gentleman at the front desk that they would allow us to hire

the driver with the wheelchair accessible van from 5:30 to 9:30

for $180. I declined the offer.

It was 2:40 in the afternoon, the hotel still wouldn’t allow us

to check in, we did not know the public transportation system, we

were in a strange city, and we were going to be arriving late and

not appropriately dressed or freshened up for our 3 p.m. concert.

I felt livid as we walked from the Drury Plaza Hotel to the State

Theater. It took us about half an hour. Half an hour to wonder

why they had lied to us at the hotel saying that our suite would

be ready in 45 minutes allowing us to be in our room by 1 p.m.

when they had no intention of allowing us to check in till 3

knowing we had a 3 p.m. concert? Although they stored our luggage

for us, why couldn’t they understand that my dog and I needed a

peaceful place to rest? Why didn’t they make it possible for us

to fully clean up before having to appear in public again? Why

would a taxi company make it impossible for us to have two round

trips from the hotel to the State Theater? Why couldn’t I reach

any of my supportive people back home to talk to? Why, why

why?!!! During our walk, I prayed, I took a lot of deep breaths

and willed the joy to come into my spirit. After all, we were

here at shows we weren’t expecting to go to with the opportunity

to meet more wonderful Chasers. I had to put aside circumstances.

I had to frolick in the pleasure and the joy of Christmas. Just

as I had fully appreciated the atmosphere and the service given

to us by Kelly at the Urban Farmer resturaunt despite it’s

prices, I would not let anyone or anything dampen my spirit.

The two shows were amazing! Better than the Pittsburgh show. I

relished the moments of joy Gayle experienced as she met Chasers

she had been corresponding with for years but had never met. My

heart was touched by the kindness of the workers at the State

Theater especially Sharon, Val, and Kevin who made sure we got on

the accessible trolley back to the hotel. To top it off, the ride

was free.

At 11 p.m., we finally checked into our roomy comfortable one

bedroom suite. Daryl did a fantastic job at settling us in and

making us feel welcome. Bryanna felt a great sense of relief as

she finally was in a place where she could get the rest she

deserved for working so hard that day. The suite was the best

hotel suite I had ever been in providing privacy and comfortable


the next morning, we took full advantage of the hotel’s delicious

breakfast buffet. We asked for someone to walk us to the exact

corner where we could catch the trolley to the Greyhound station.

Alas, because I did not get adequate rest the day before which

could have been accomplished by an early check-in, we were unable

to treat ourselves to the pool and jacuzzi. Because of our lack

of accessible cab transportation, we were unable to go to the

hotel between shows to take advantage of the hotel’s cold

beverages, hot food and popcorn. As we waited for our Greyhound

bus which was delayed by two hours due to the weather from

Detroit to Cleveland, I went home late feeling my Christmas

vacation was hectic and incomplete. Over a week later, I finally

feel recovered and at peace. In my prayer time, I expressed to

God the confusion I felt as to why the hotel only apologized for

their mistakes and never offered us anything substantial to make

up for their dishonesty and inconsiderateness. Why the taxi

company was unwilling to transport us. God told me that despite

circumstances, despite how others treat me, I must find the joy

in the season. Not just the Christmas season but every season no

matter what hardships I’m enduring. How beautiful to have a God

who helps us put everything into perspective. A God who talks

with us and is always supportive. He doesn’t turn His phone off

or send you to voicemail. It truly is a Merry Christmas!

Note: I ordered 2 Straight No Chaser’s I’ll Have Another

Christmas cd Tuesday December 20th around 4 p.m. from:

and received them not even 24 hours later. What service!

One Comment

  1. Dear Patty,

    Thank you for posting this. I got it in my Spam folder, so I just saw this. I appreciate you so much! Penny

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