Meeting Neil – My “Happy Ending”

It was September 11, 2002. A year ago, the day had been filled with fear and anger. One year later, a dream came true for me.

Neil performed at the Sovereign Center in Reading, PA the night before. As luck would have it, we were staying in the same hotel as Neil and the band. At lobby call, I was able to give Neil a picture of his namesake, my 5-month-old (at the time) Maine Coon kitten, Princess Neila Diamond. Actually, I gave it to Neil’s security guard, but as they went down the stairs, I saw Neil take it.

The concert, as always, was fantastic! During the TCO tour, Neil was choosing ladies to come up to the stage during “Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon,” and like every other female in the arena, I was hoping to be picked. I wasn’t, but as Neil had the picture of Neila, I was content with that. Little did I know what lay in store the next day.

After breakfast the next morning, we checked out of our rooms; and as no one was in any hurry to leave, we sat in the hotel lobby and talked. People were bringing down tons of luggage. I swear, it looked like Neil and the band had packed for a year-long tour instead of a month! The band members came down to check out, and were happy to take pictures with us. As we reluctantly decided it was time to say goodbye and head home, we noticed a van and a bus outside the front door of the hotel. Then the band members came downstairs again and headed out the front door. Are we going anywhere anytime soon? NOT! Soon, Neil’s security guard asked us to stand in a line again, and so we do. After what seemed like forever, Neil got off the elevator, looked at us, grinned – and came over to us!!! He autographed an album cover. I decided that it was now or never. “Neil,” I said, “may I please have my picture taken with you?” Neil put his arm around me and said, “Come here,” and a lifelong dream was realized for me; I had my picture taken with him!

Neil stayed with us for about five minutes, and then he had to go. Everyone was clapping and cheering. Now, most of you know how emotional I can get; well, I was bawling like a baby! Tom Sadge was there, and he just put his arms around me and hugged. I’d seen pictures of fans with Neil, and had prayed that someday, I’d have one, too. It’s a picture that I’ll cherish forever.

Thank you, Neil, for a “Happy Ending.”

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