Peekskill, NY

I’ve been nagged in the back of my mind for a long time about the origin of the name “Catskill” and now more recently (we played here last year, too) about Peekskill. It’s the Dutch! New York was originally called New Amsterdam. 400 years ago, there was a long strip of Eastern Seaboard territory that extended from Delaware to almost Cape Cod in Massachusetts. This was called New Netherland. The word ‘kill’ means ‘stream’ in Dutch. There’s a town called Fishkill, too, in the same area.

For us, it’s a beautiful New England sort of faire right off of a Courier and Ives Christmas card, and with the new falling snow, it’s a winter wonderland.

We’d been warned that ticket sales were slow and could have thought there would be some dampened enthusiasm—WRONG! People from these surrounding towns with romantic-sounding names (Tarrytown, Pleasantville, Sleepy Hollow, etc.) came and brought not only their Christmas spirit, but a real obvious “Go, Al, Go! We’ve loved you a long time! Don’t stop!”

There was Jimmy on the left aisle who taught Stallone to be Rocky, and a young mid-twenties blond guy who came down front who high-fived me and shook my hand so hard and said, “You’re the man, Al, you’re the man!”—All this like I just scored the winning touchdown. Believe me, I don’t have any delusions of being “Thee man.” But I do it with all my might and with all I got, and I swallow hard, and I never forget that when people acknowledge it and clap me hard on the back.

The Paramount Theatre’s marquee is smaller than the campus theatre marquee at my 800 student college in Ripon, Wisconsin… Just enough for my name and Russian Boys Choir in December. But when you see it, your heart suddenly spills over ‘cause you can see in your mind young couples of the past—the girl with hair in a flip, poodle skirt, and saddle shoes going in with her beau to see the brand new Blackboard Jungle or Rebel… just a beautiful reminder of times past.

They sang so strongly on choruses when they sang in unison, “Oh come, let us adore him.” It was like a church on Christmas Eve. I have a picture of it in my mind and it shimmers with light.

Merry Christmas, Peekskill. You were awesome. Band, thank you for preparing so well ahead of time.

God Bless this Christmas Season and God Bless us all… Everyone. And God Bless Tiny Tim

Love, Al

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