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Dear Diary... The Podcast Archives: 2012

RandyThe best news of the year was the first news of the year: that Randy Hamilton joined the band. His beautiful accoustic/electric bass now became the solid, reliable heartbeat of The Flood, and his wonderful voice started bringing new vocal power to our harmonies and leads.

Randy was anything but a stranger. While still a member of the trio version of Sheldon Road, Randy had jammed with The Flood as early as the summer of 2006, two years before the podcasts began. In 2011, he and his old S.R. bandmate Paul Martin became regulars at the jam sessions.

Dennis-JoeA new notable guests jammed with the band during the year:

-- Floodster Emeritus Dennis Dobbs, Joe's baby brother, dropped in during a visit from Texas for a memorable evening.

-- Long-time Flood friend Sallie Sublette, a lovely singer/guitarist who was part of the 1970s parties where the Flood was born. Now a resident of Idaho, Sallie often sits in whenever she's back in the area to visit friends and family.

-- Huntington blues legend Chris Sutton and his sidekick Mike Lyzenga dropped in early January to share a few tunes, the same evening on which jam session regular Doug Imbrogno brought his singer/songwriter partner Albert Perrone of Princeton, W.Va.

ShirleyThe year ended on a sad note, as the Family Flood lost a new/old friend, Shirley Broh Davis. It was in early 2009 when our mutual friend, Rose Riter, brought Shirley and her husband, Norman, to their first Flood practice, and they came back almost every week. The session wasn't complete with their smiling faces in the corner. In fact, The Flood dedicated its "Wade in the Water" CD to the Davises and Rose to commemorate how much a part of our lives they had become. Incidentally, Shirley, Norman and Rose were featured in a 2009 feature on WSAZ-TV, when newsman Tim Irr visited a Flood practice. That just happened to be that first night the Davises attended a Flood do.

Finally, some of The Flood's favorite moments from the year's poddishness are "I'll Fly Away" (2/2/12), Ambushing Dave (4/12/12), Coon Sanders Live (5/17/12), Joe Dobbs Book Tour (6/28/12), "4th Street Mess-Around" (10/12/12) and "South Wind" (11/14/12).


         January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December


JANUARY

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Doug Imbrogno & Albert Perrone

Jan. 19, 2012.  It was a Night for Newcomers. It was a night for newcomers at the Family Flood's jam session last night. At the recommendation of Joe Dobbs, bluesman Chris Sutton and his buddy Mike Lyzenga dropped in to share a few tunes. And from Princeton, W.Va., singer/songwriter Albert Perrone came with his friend and jam session regular Doug Imbrogno. Finally, in the spirit of all things new, The Flood introduced its new band mate. Bassist/guitarist/singer Randy Hamilton of Willow Wood, Ohio, has become our newest member. Randy's been sitting in with us since late last summer, and we figured it was high time we made an honest Floodster out of him. You'll hear him on both of these tracks from last night's do. First up is Chris with a bluesy original called "Elevator." Then come Doug and Albert  with a wild and woolly rendition of that 1940s standard, "Enjoy Yourself." Doug calls our jam sessions the region's only weekly Irish caili. Well, thank to you guys, we certainly did enjoy yourselves!

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Chris Sutton

Jan. 26, 2012.  The Flood Celebrates the 75th Anniversary of Its Namesake. Seventy-five years ago, most of the streets of downtown Huntington -- and many other cities along the Ohio River -- were under water, devastated by the great 1937 flood. So, if you're a band named after that natural disaster and you have a jam session on its poignant anniversary, what do you play? Why, one of the fine flood songs of Bob Dylan, of course. Take it away, boys.

FEBRUARY

Feb. 2, 2012.  I'll Fly Away. Wednesday night means The Flood's regular practice session, but it's become so much more than that. The jam session has evolved into a weekly reunion of old friends and new friends, folks we see often, others we see only occasionally. Last night a recently departed friend was on Michelle Walker's mind when she suggested this great old gospel number. In the playing of it, it quickly grew into a celebration of all the friends who had come together on that particular rainy winter night.

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At Wyngate

Feb. 9, 2012.  Roger Samples Sings "Chemo Blues."A band that's been around for 40 years has a lot of graduates. And the undisputed valedictorian of the class of Floodsters Emeritus is Rog Samples. Roger is one of the four founders of The Flood, and his vocals and beautiful guitar work, along with the great songs he writes, were central the band's sound for its first 10 years or more, before Rog and his family moved from West Virginia to the green pastures of Mount Sterling, Ky. We still get together as often as we can, and Rog and his brothers, Mack and Ted, are treasured friends. Now, for the past michelleyear, our brother Roger has been making a remarkable, inspiring stand against cancer, and with his typical wit and artistry, he decided there had to be a song in there somewhere too. And so, out of the fight of a lifetime comes his original tune, "Chemo Blues."

Feb. 16, 2012.  Joe Dobbs Plays Tunes About The Ladies. One of the things we all love about the weekly jam sessions is how related tunes tend to come up in bunches like wildflowers. Last night was the perfect example. At one point, Norman Davis -- who, with his beautiful bride, Shirley, are beloved regulars at our Wednesday night gatherings -- asked Joe Dobbs to play that old fiddle tune with a girl's name in it. Well, that led to 10 minutes of fiddle tunes named after women, from "Rachel" to "St. Anne's Reel" to "Red Wing" and more. Let's start the track at the moment with Norman asked his question.

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Sallie Sublette

Feb. 23, 2012.  Sallie Sublette Brings Some Sweet Western Air. Our old friend Sallie Sublette doesn't get back to us very often. It's all day in airports -- it takes three flights to get to her native West Virginia from her home in Pocatello, Idaho -- but this week, Sallie blew back in and gave us another taste of that sweet western wind. Here she does "I Want to be a Cowboy's Sweetheart." While it was a great evening, it was all too short, because Sallie was flying out the next day. But before she went to cross the Great Divide, she also left us with a beautiful rendition of a Kate Wolf song on that very theme.

MARCH

March 1, 2012.  Paul Martin Sings His "Seein' Ain't Believin'."At a recent jam session, we were running through old tunes that were as comfortable as well-worn shoes. Part of the joy of the jams is revisiting melodies and lyrics are as familiar as dear friends. Then suddenly our buddy Paul Martin dropped into a beautiful song that most of us had never heard. As it went on, grins and winks were exchanged around the room, and at the end, when we asked, "Whose is that one?" Paul quietly acknowledged, "I wrote that." Now, Paul doesn't make it to the weekly sessions nearly as often as we'd wish, but you can bet that from now on, when he does, there will be a standing request for a repeat performance.

March 8, 2012.  Come Back to Us Barbara Lewis Hare Krishna Beauregard. We've been John Prine fans forever. In fact, Prine's debut album came out 40 years ago just about the time The Flood was stumbling into existence back in those hippy-dippy days of the early '70s, so it's only natural John Prine songs have been on our set lists since the very beginning. Dave Peyton, our Mount Union Road crooner, took this tune as his own as soon as it came out, and all these years later, it's still a regular at our weekly jam sessions.

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Dennis Dobbs

March 15, 2012.  Dennis Dobbs Revisits The Flood with Brother Joe. "Floodsters emeritus" is what we call all former members of The Flood, but the truth is there's no such thing as former members. Once a Floodster, always a Floodster. One of the earliest members of the band was Joe Dobbs' younger brother, Dennis. In fact, Dennis Dobbs was on stage with us at one of our very first gigs back in the mid-1970s, a weird and wonderful night when The Flood was among the warmup acts for country music legend Little Jimmy Dickens when he played Huntington's Memorial Field House. Nowadays Dennis and his family live in East Texas and don't back north all that much. But this week Dennis was visiting up here and, fiddle in hand, he came with Joe to the practice last night. Here the Dobbs brothers trade solos on a Bob Dylan standard.

March 29, 2012.  Basin Street Blues. Sometimes before the song's even over, you know you're hearing the highlight of the night. This time there was something about the grin on Michelle's lips as she launched into this great old jazz standard that told us all this was going the keeper of the evening.

APRIL

April 5, 2012.  Georgie Buck. Charlie was a little ticked at himself for forgetting to have us record "Georgie Buck" when we made our newest CD last August. Dave Peyton brought us this Aunt Jennie Wilson tune several years ago and we'd been doing it regularly in shows, but when it came time to record the album, it completely slipped my mind. Well, everything Randyhappens for a reason. Lately, we've been reconfiguring The Flood, and now we've got stronger harmony vocals from Michelle Walker and Randy Hamilton, so suddenly old Georgie Buck's got a whole new lease on life. This is one of our takes on the tune at last night's practice session. I think by the time we record that next CD, "Georgie Buck" will be front and center.

April 12, 2012.  Red Wing/Snow Deer. Brother Dave was tired after nearly two hours of practice last night and was ready to pack up his Autoharp and go home. But then we persuaded him to put his picks back on for one more tune. He did, only to find Joe laying in wait for him.

April 19, 2012.  Dusty Boxcar Wall. We're forever revisiting tunes from our youth. Here's an old song from Eric Andersen that Dave Peyton, Roger Samples and Charlie Bowen used to do 40 years ago in the earliest days of The Flood. The tune's been lying dormant for decades. But lately, The Flood's been reinventing itself again and Michelle Walker and our newest Floodster, Randy Hamilton, have been working on some tight background vocals. As we've Sambeen looking for vehicles to show off their good work, this song came floating back to the surface of our collective memory. On the evening this particular track was recorded, most of the current Flood members had never heard the song before and you'll hear them still working out their parts, but already you can hear Michelle and DaveRandy nailing down some vocal ideas on the choruses. It'll be fun to listen to this arrangement coming into its own in the months ahead.

April 26, 2012.  Walk Right In. At a gig last week, a thing that we've been using just as warmup tune got such a nice response that we're thinking it's gonna start making its way onto The Flood's regular set list. "Walk Right In" was a monster hit back in the 1960s for The Rooftop Singers, but it's originally a jug band tune. The great Gus Cannon wrote the song and recorded with his band, The Jug Stomper, back in 1929. Most recently the tune was revived by The Carolina Chocolate Drops. Here's our take on it from last night's rehearsal.

MAY

May 3, 2012.  Blue Skies. As we noted in a recent podcast, The Flood's at the start of another reconfiguration -- new instrumentation, new tunes -- and so lately the weekly rehearsals have been especially interesting as fresh ideas come to the fore. Here's a case in point. For a while now, Joe Dobbs and Charlie Bowen have messed around occasionally with Irving Berlin's "Blue Skies" and at last night's practice session, Michelle Walker stepped up to put some vocals on top of that. Oh, it's still a work in progress -- consider this a report from The Flood's New Projects Committee.

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Coon Sanders, 2011

May 17, 2012.  Our Annual Jug Band Breakfast. The Flood always keeps open the third Saturday morning in May in order to play our favorite gig of the year. The Coon Sanders Nighthawks Fans Bash is an annual gathering of traditional jazz players and fans who come to our town from all over the country for three days and nights of good music and good times. The Flood's so honored be part of this. For more than a decade now, we've played the Saturday morning session with what we call "the jug band breakfast," serving up generous helpings of hokum with their bacon and eggs.

May 24, 2012.  The Flood Celebrates Bob Dylan's Birthday. It was the eve of Bob Dylan's 71st birthday. Who saw THAT coming? Bob has always been a huge part of The Flood's musical landscape. Hardly any weekly Flood practice goes by without at least one Dylan tune. Anyway, on this night Michelle, Randy and Charlie had a rare vocals-only Flood practice and before the night was over, they were trotting out this favorite Dylan number from the "Nashville Skyline" period.

JUNE

June 7, 2012.  Back to Tamarack! Tamarack is a West Virginia treasure. Based in Beckley, W.Va., it is a rich deposit of Appalachian crafts, food, music and just plain pure joy. And The Flood is honored to regularly be invited to perform there in the Gov. Hulett C. Smith Theatre, one of our all-time favorite venues. We're heading back there this Sunday, June 10. At 2 p.m., The Flood will be back on stage for our 8th performance at Tamarack. And we're especially happy that our long-time buddy, guitarist Jacob Scarr -- home from college in Colorado -- will on hand to sit in with us for this very special show. Come on out and party with us at Tamarack, this Sunday afternoon ! Meanwhile, here's a tune from last night's rehearsal as we prepared the set for Sunday's show.

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The Flood at Romney, WV

June 14, 2012.  Off to Romney, WV, with Guest Artist Paul Martin. The city of Romney -- population 5,873 -- is West Virginia's oldest town, celebrating its 250th anniversary this year and The Flood was honored that we're invited to be part of it. We headed to Romney to play a free concert at The Potomac Center. Oh, we were so pleased that our old buddy, singer/songwriter Paul Martin, was able to join us for the trip and was a guest artist at the concert. Here's a sample -- at a recent Flood rehearsal, Paul led us on a moving rendition of a great Bob Dylan standard.

June 21, 2012.  Happy Birthday, West Virginia! It was West Virginia Day, the 149th anniversary of our state's birth, and that was much on their minds as Michelle, Randy and Charlie got together for one of The Flood's occasional vocals-only practices. They found ourselves thinking of little-known West Virginia tunes, like this rare gem from the great singer/songwriter Holly Near. Now, obviously, this arrangement is nowhere near ready for general consumption --

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Jacob Scarr

we're eager to hear what Joe and Doug, Dave and Sam bring to it in the weeks ahead -- but one of the things we'd like to do with these little podcasts is to sometimes document the evolution of an arrangement. So, with that mind and for the record, here's our first take on "West Virginia Friend."

June 28, 2012.  Welcome Home, Youngblood! Our good friend and Floodster Emeritus Jacob Scarr is pretty busy with his new life -- college in Colorado and at home right now working a 40-hour-a-week summer job in Charleston -- but Youngblood's still got time for his old buddies. He sat in with us last night. AND Jacob's going to be on hand as a guest performer at all three of the free concerts next month in our Joe Dobbs Book Tour. We'll be telling you all about it in the weeks ahead. For now, though, just mark your calendar for the days between July 12 and July 14 when The Flood will be playing shows in Boyd County, Ky., and Cabell and Kanawha counties in West Virginia to help spread the word about Joe's new book.

tour


JULY

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June Apple, 1981

July 19, 2012.  June Apple ... Then and Now... Our dear friend, Floodster Emeritus Chuck Romine, dropped by last night to show off his new tenor banjo and that got us nostalgic for the old tunes -- including SOME tunes that even pre-date Chuck's six-year stint with the band by, oh, several decades or so. For instance, The Flood has featured Dave Peyton and Joe Dobbs on this version of "June Apple" since its earliest days. Last night, Michelle Walker called for the tune and Joe and Dave delivered. Oh, and here's a little extra -- and an interesting footnote on that tune. Just this week, The Flood officially released its first-ever DVD, called "Making of 'Wade in the Water.'" While most of the DVD features videos shot last August as The Flood recorded its latest CD, it also includes a few videos built around some of The Flood's earliest recordings. Among them is a version of "June Apple" recorded at a party more than 30 years earlier. For a hoot, in the Video Extra at the right you can compare last night's rendering with what we did with it in 1981.

July 26. 2012.  We Do Requests ... Even from Facebook! The Flood occasionally gets and plays requests, but here's a first -- a request that came in from Facebook! Our old friend Strat Douthat lives in Plainfield, Vermont, these days, but back in the early 1970s, he lived near us here in Huntington, where he was in charge of the local Associated Press bureau. Strat and wife Gail were regulars at the parties where The Flood was being born, serving as spiritual advisors, if you will, in the band's formative years. Well, recently, Strat was checking out our Facebook page and left a message saying, "You guys still do 'Blackberry Blossom'?" Joe Dobbs remembered that was always one of Strat's favorite fiddle tunes, so Joe ran off a fresh batch for him at the next rehearsal. By the way, if you haven't checked out our Facebook page, we hope you will. Click here.

AUGUST

Aug. 16, 2012.  Joe Gets His Happy Birthday Song. It all started at a gig a few years back when a Flood fan said, "Hey, my brother's in the front row and it's his birthday -- would y'all play 'Happy Birthday' for him?'" We had to admit we didn't know "Happy Birthday." Well, that's Joe-booknot exactly true -- we recognize it when we hear it; we just never learned to play it. Then the fellow said, "So, what DO you play for birthdays?" Right there on stage, we huddled a minute and then said, "Well, how about that old jug band tune, 'You Can't Get That Stuff No More"? That got a laugh, we played the song and a new Flood tradition was born. From then on, The Flood's marked birthdays with that Tampa Red tune. Well, last night, one of our own celebrated a birthday -- Flood co-founder fiddler Joe Dobbs turned 78 -- and we had him playing on his own birthday serenade.

Aug. 23, 2012.  Doug and Randy Trade Places for the Evening. The Flood has a lot more options in instrumentation these days. Doug Chaffin can play mandolin and guitar, even fiddle, not to mention his superb work on the upright bass. And our newest Floodster, Randy Hamilton, usually plays bass these days, but also is an excellent lead guitarist. Recently we decided to mix things up a bit -- we asked Doug to bring his bass and Randy to bring his six-string. The results were memorable -- but hey, judge for yourself. Here Michelle Walker leads us through Gershwin's "Summertime."

Aug. 30, 2012.  A Teaching Moment. These days the weekly rehearsals are largely about figuring out what tunes we'd like to put on the next Flood CD which we hope to start working on later this year. That means checking out new songs but also revisiting pieces we used to play a lot but some reason have let slip away. A case in point is Dave Franklin's classic fiddle tune, "Cincinnati Rag." It was a regular of ours at gigs 10 years ago or so, but it never ended up on a CD. At a recent practice, Joe Dobbs brought it out again. This resulted in an obvious teaching moment -- you can hear us discussing the chords as Joe lays down the melody -- but by the end, everyone was in agreement: this tune needs to be back on the regular set list.

SEPTEMBER

Sept. 6, 2012.  A Taste of Honey, Take 1. During a break at a gig last summer, our good friend Wendell Dobbs dropped by the bandstand and said, "Hey, I know a great song for The Chick Singer -- 'A Taste of Honey.'" As soon as he said, our eyes lit up. Yes indeed. It's a wonderful ballad that's been recorded by everyone from Sarah Vaughan to the early Beatles. Our Michelle Walker had never really tried the song before, but she was game to give a go and last night, at one of The Flood's occasional vocal-only rehearsals, we tested the waters. As you'll hear in this track, Randy and I are still figuring out some harmony parts, but Michelle is already nailing the lead. In the months ahead, this podcast may be revisiting the tune as we introduce it to the rest of band, but for now, here it is: "A Taste of Honey, Take 1."

Sept. 20, 2012.  The Coffee Rush. The drink of choice at The Flood's weekly rehearsals is Community Coffee from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. But there is a downside. After a few cups of this strong, rich, dark brew, the tunes tend to get a bit livelier. There's a standing joke that after Charlie's had a coupla mugs of joe, he starts kicking the tunes off too fast. Here's a case in point. We don't usually do "Blue Moon" at such a lively clip as this. But, hey, some of us kinda like it like this -- it's got a nice kick to it, though we're not sure you'd wanna dance to it. Oh, see what you think.

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At Woodlands

Sept. 27, 2012.  Sentimental Journey (The Maiden Voyage). While preparing for a show at Woodlands Retirement Community up the hill from us here in our hometown of Huntington, West Virginia, and we' got to thinking about the music that folks there might like. At a rehearsal, Michelle Walker suggested "Sentimental Journey," a tune that Joe Dobbs has been doing his solo performances for years. Now, of course, the spirit of this weekly podcast is to share The Flood's not-ready-for-primetime moments -- that is, songs still in development -- and here's a prime example. This is literally the first time the band as a whole has tried this tune and obviously we have some … uh, opportunities. The harmonies need tightening, we need to work out better cues for the solos and smooth out the accompaniment, but for now, I love the enthusiasm everyone's bringing to the song. And it may be fun in a year or so to look back and see how the tune has evolved and mellowed with practice. But first, a voyage of discovery. All aboard!

OCTOBER

Oct. 12, 2012. 4th Street Mess Around. A few years back, we started messing around with "4th Street Mess-Around," a 1930s classic by our heroes, The Memphis Jug Band. But somewhere along the way, the tune got dropped from the practice list. Well, at the rehearsal earlier this week, we dusted it off again for another try. Now, you tell it's a work in progress, because as the track begins, we're still schooling each other on the chords.

Oct. 26, 2012.  Ashland, Ky., Here We Come! The Flood's fixin' to roll into Ashland, Ky., this Sunday afternoon, Oct. 28, to play at "The Picnic on Judd Plaza" downtown. We'll also be helping out with a fundraiser for the community's Dougremarkable "Clean Start" program, which has come to the rescue of so many down and out folks in these tough times. And listen, if weather doesn't cooperate, c'mon down anyway -- the picnic will just move indoors, so don't get a little rain keep you away. The band will be on hand from 2 to 5 p.m., playing old Flood standards, but also some new things in our repertoire, maybe like this one from the American songbook, featuring our star vocalist, Miss Michelle Walker.

NOVEMBER

Nov. 14, 2012.  South Wind. Sometimes -- okay, MOST times -- the highlight of an evening's rehearsal comes from the totally unexpected. Here's a case in point: We had wrapped up for the evening. In fact, at the beginning of this track, you hear Dave Peyton and others saying their good nights. But Joe Dobbs and Doug Chaffin felt like doing at least one more tune. They picked the beautiful Irish aire "South Wind." Now, they both knew the tune, but had never played it together, and this was the result.

Nov. 22, 2012.  West Fork Girls. The Family Flood has much to be thankful for, especially decades of friendship. Recently, rehearsing on Thanksgiving Eve, we were full of stories, nostalgia and old songs, some of which we've not played in years. One such piece was that great old West Virginia fiddle tune, "West Folk Girls," which also provided one of the best laughs of the evening, when… well, check it out for yourself … It comes about midway through the track.

DECEMBER

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Shirley & Norman Davis on WSAZ-TV

Dec. 14, 2012.  This One's for Shirley. We were just beginning the rehearsal when got the news that the health of our dear friend Shirley Davis has taken a bad turn and she's now in hospice care here in Huntington. Shirley and her husband, Norman, have been regulars at the Flood's weekly rehearsals for almost four years now. It was in early 2009 when our mutual friend, Rose Riter, brought Norman and Shirley to their first Flood practice, and they've been coming back almost every week. A Wednesday night isn't complete with their smiling faces in the corner. In fact, The Flood dedicated its latest CD to the Davises and Rose Riter to commemorate how much a part of our lives they've become. Usually, when there's a lull in the action and we ask Shirley what she'd like to hear, she calls on Joe Dobbs for a lively fiddle tune. Here's what we sent out to her this week. This one's for you, Shirley.

Incidentally, Shirley, Norman and Rose were featured in a 2009 feature on WSAZ-TV, when newsman Tim Irr visited a Flood practice. That just happened to be that first night the Davises attended a Flood do. That video is at right.

Dec. 20, 2012.  My Dear Companion. Whenever The Flood has been doing a tune for several decades, we're a little reluctant to go back and listen to the original from which we learned it. That's because we prefer to let a beloved song evolve in our care, with the lyrics and the tune changing subtly -- and sometimes not so subtly -- with the ever-altering currents of our moods and latest band membership. Here's a case in point -- this tune, which has been a Flood standard since the 1980s, has been reborn recently, largely because of the tasteful vocal harmonies of our new Floodster, bassist Randy Hamilton.

Dec. 27, 2012.  Thank You, Shirley! As we've said before, friends Norman and Shirley Davis have brightened our lives in so many ways, coming out to be with us almost every Wednesday night for nearly four years now. Well, we lost Shirley -- her 96 years ended peacefully at the hospice house here in Huntington, and recently Norman and all of Shirley's children, traveling here from all over the Eastern United States, came together for a magical evening to remember Shirley just as she'd want us to -- with laughter and smiles, and just a few tears. From all of us: Thank you, Shirley.