AN (UPDATED) - BIT ABOUT DARYL
- (text was recently copied & pasted below from a blog written
months ago... DD)
Now....on to other, a bit more personal, matters. Some of you have
heard me mention that Daryl has developed a tremor. He has actually
had it quite a while, but to a much lesser degree. It is NOT Parkinsons
Disease, thank God.
He was thoroughly checked out a couple of years ago for Parkinsons
at Stanford Medical Center by one of the top neurologists in the country.
His condition is called Familial Tremor, and it is exacerbated by
stress and anxiety.
Daryl's tremor HAS been diagnosed as PARKINSON'S
DISEASE. - - Read
The problem is, whenever he is involved in a public appearance or
social situation, the tremor causes him embarrassment, which then
makes him anxious, which then makes the tremor worse. You get the
picture. Consequently, he is less and less inclined to appear in public.
HELLO AGAIN | CAPTAIN'S HEALTH UPDATE | TONI HAS GONE TO THE DOGS
| PRESCOTT JAZZ SUMMIT
The piano tuner, a neatly dressed, polite older gentleman (probably
MY age) just arrived to tune the piano for the first time since
we moved into the new house. He discovered that Victor, our big
tuxedo cat, had deposited a hair-ball
(now old and dried up) on the hammers and strings. He suggested
that perhaps, in the future, the cats should not be allowed inside
the piano. Embarrassing.
Hello there, everyone. Since my last post, I have had many, many
emails from you asking for an update on how Daryl and I are doing
here in Prescott. You know, we have such an ordinary life right
now, it hardly seems there is anything particularly interesting
to tell you. That isnt false modesty.....it is just the truth,
and we really like it this way. Weve had ENOUGH stress and
excitement over our career. Now we are striving for a very low profile
in our senior
years. I can tell you truthfully, though, that I have never had
more fun in my life..... have never laughed so much or enjoyed life
The years of our very busy career were pretty stressful for both
of us. We loved the music, we loved the concerts, we loved our fans
genuine pleasure and joy in hearing our music, but the other stuff
that goes along with fame was uncomfortable for us both. Fame is
kind of a Pact
with the Devil anyway, in my opinion. Money,
recognition, privilege come with it, but you have to give up other
things that are precious to you. I wouldnt trade any of our
life and career up to this point, of course, but now is our time
to concentrate on each other, family, friends, music, and how grateful
we are for all that we have been given in this life.
THE CAPTAINS HEALTH UPDATE
Let me update you on Daryls health. His tremor has been bothering
him more and more, and is affecting his left hand to the degree that
he cant play up to his own high standards. His right hand is
much less affected, but his favorite piano styles, boogie and blues,
are dependent on the left hand. Consequently, he doesnt play
anymore and, although I have tried, I cant get him to do any
recording. He says he cant do it right now.
also embarrasses him and makes him even less inclined to go out to
dinner, concerts, any events that would place him in a crowd. He has
always been uncomfortable in social settings, but now more than ever.
He is also still trying to fully recover from his bilateral knee surgery
last October. He still doesnt trust his new knees,
and still uses a cane when he walks. He blames the tremor for making
him feel that he might lose his balance and fall.
In a couple of weeks, Daryl has an appointment with a top neurologist,
Dr. Holly Shill. She practices at a cutting edge neurological research
clinic in Sun City, Arizona. He will be re-evaluated to try to determine
what exactly is causing his tremor, which has been previously diagnosed
as Essential Tremor. We are hopeful that Dr. Shill can find a way
to ease his tremor, or stop it completely.
that, if we can get rid of the tremor, Daryls other problems
will be greatly reduced. Daryl is a very complicated man, with many
strands twisting and entwining to cause his problems. Keep a good
thought that we can get this under control.
Daryl's tremor HAS been diagnosed as PARKINSON'S
DISEASE. - - Read
TONI HAS GONE TO THE DOGS!!!
As for me....... I am doing just great! My broken femur has healed
nicely, and I am back running Canine Agility with my Australian Shepherd,
Smoky, and showing him in ASCA
(Australian Shepherd Club of America) shows. This past weekend, he
picked up a four point major towards his championship. He needs two
more majors to finish. The championship would be fun to earn, but
it isnt really important at all. I just have so much fun with
my Aussie Shepherd friends and their dogs. They are the source of
much camaraderie and laughter. I have been privileged to meet and
become friends with the nicest, kindest. most regular
gals, who all share a love for dogs, for life, and who care about
and support each other. What I love most is that they treat me like
a normal person.
They know about my past celebrity, but that is just what I used to
do for a living, and is rarely discussed, except to tease me about
it. I love it!
SMOKY AND I AT THE HOSPITAL
As a Delta Society Pet Partners team, Smoky and I visit patients,
their families and hospital staff at Yavapai Regional Medical Center
here in Prescott every Thursday. Smoky has become quite a star at
the hospital and has many, many fans there. He and I and two other
Pet Partners teams, also go to Sedona every other Wednesday during
summer to give a presentation on Pet Partners to the kids at the Sedona
Humane Society Kids and Kritters Day Camp. The kids just LOVE seeing
and petting the dogs and hearing about our program. Im hoping
some of them will decide to enter the Pet Partners program someday.
PRESCOTT JAZZ SUMMIT
The Prescott Jazz Summit is coming up soon. I will be doing a big
band concert here in Prescott with a 16 piece All Star band to help
raise money for music scholarships and education for young musicians.
I am really looking forward to singing again. I havent sung
in public since last year, and I miss it. Since Daryl isnt able
to play yet, I cant do Captain and Tennille music. But, at LEAST
I can sing with a fabulous big band, feel that great joy when the
band is cooking, and help some kids get some music education in the
process!!! Sammy Nestico and Matt Catingub have done such wonderful,
swinging arrangements for my big band book and I get such a kick out
of sharing the music with people (as long as I dont have to
travel... no more of THAT!!!!). Rusty Higgins, my symphony and big
band conductor for 20 years, is coming to Prescott to conduct for
me and add his fabulous sax playing to the other jazz concerts scheduled
during the weekend.
My concert is scheduled for Saturday evening, August 29th, at 7:30PM.
It will begin with a set by the Prescott High School Jazz Band, and
then I will do my complete big band show...... including some tunes
with Jack Peterson on guitar. He is a brilliant guitarist, and lives
right here in Prescott!. Ive never sung onstage with just guitar
accompaniment, so this will be fun for me, and a nice, more intimate
sound.... giving the audience a bit of a break from the dynamic sound
of the big band.
Most of you live much too far away to attend the concert,
but if any of you are nearby, you can purchase tickets at the Hassayampa
Hotel front desk, the Prescott Chamber of Commerce, or online at prescottjazz.com.
I am donating my singing as a way to give back to my new community
and to support music education for young musicians.
Well... the piano tuner has just about finished, so Ill close
for now. With everybody tweeting and twittering and texting and face-booking
and such, I just think the less added to the cyberspace chatter, the
better. But thank you so much for caring. I hope this update will
do for a while (until something really exciting happens
here in Prescott!!!). Until next time.... Keep
A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart.
SMOKY AND TONI DO AGILITY WORK |
SMOKY AND TONI DO AGILITY WORK- - watch 'Smoky'
in action, among many other dogs - click here
for info re. the AGILITY TRIAL event
SMOKY AND TONI DO AGILITY AND THERAPY
DOG WORK | HEALING BROKEN BONES AND NEW KNEES | NOTES ON TONI'S ORIGINAL
SONGS #11 THROUGH #15
It has been fascinating and very informative to hear from you about
which of my original songs you like best. What is most interesting
to me is that there really isn't one single song that stands out above
the others. Your responses to your favorites are as varied as the
songs themselves. Thank you so much for taking the time to write.
SMOKY AND TONI DO AGILITY AND THERAPY DOG
I am still doing great after breaking my hip in December. My Australian
Smoky, and I are back practicing agility and preparing to enter
our first Agility Trial in May. He and I will run as "Novices",
of course, since we have never run competitively before. We don't
expect to win any points... he's still technically a puppy (he'll
be two in June), and I am just learning how to guide him through the
obstacles... but we'll have a great time doing it. If you happen to
be in Chino Valley, AZ on May 2nd and 3rd, check it out. The Trial
is sponsored by our canine agility club, TOP DOG. Smoky and I are
also continuing our work as a Therapy
Dog Team at our local hospital. We visit patients, their families
and hospital staff every Thursday. We have met some terrific people
as we make our rounds and I am finding it very, very rewarding.
HEALING BROKEN BONES AND NEW KNEES
As far as my own recovery from my accident, I just have a bit of soreness
and stiffness when I first get up after sitting for a long time..
.OR... when a storm front comes rolling through Prescott. I used to
laugh when older people claimed they could predict a storm coming
because their "arthritis acted up". Well... it seems to
be true. I can now tell when a front is coming through even BEFORE
I check the National Weather Service site!
Daryl's recovery from his October bi-lateral knee surgery is another
matter. He is having a difficult time even now..... six months after
his surgery. His knees have healed perfectly, but his natural tendency
to anxiety and negative thinking.... AND his tremor..... have really
made the road to recovery difficult for him. We have some new possibilities
on the horizon for helping Daryl, and in the future I will let you
know how that goes. In the meantime, he is not able to create any
tracks or do any recording because of his physical limitations. I
am at a standstill creatively because I simply can't do what he does.
I can write the songs, give him some production ideas, but only he
can create the tracks. As you know, there is really no musician quite
like him! I am really hoping it won't be too long before he recovers
so he and I can start creating some new music together.
NOTES ON TONI'S ORIGINAL SONGS #11 THROUGH #15
Now....here are more notes on my original songs, which you
can hear on my TT website.
11. KEEPING OUR LOVE WARM - In 1980...about the time I had
my talk show.... I was in New York City to participate in the Lighting
of the Christmas Tree ceremony at Rockefeller Center. Daryl had stayed
behind in California for this short trip. It was a chilly day in The
City and I decided to take a jog around the Central Park Reservoir.
As I ran, I was thinking of Daryl and how much I missed his being
there with me, and the phrase, "Keeping our love warm" popped
into my head. As I continued my run, lyrics began to form in my head,
along with an initial melody. It became a song in which a girl reassures
her lover that she is "keeping our love warm... keeping myself
on cool". By the time I got back to the hotel room, I had the
song fully formed in my head and wrote it down quickly before I could
forget it (which I WILL do if I don't write a song down immediately).
I just love how this track turned out. In my opinion Daryl captured
the mood of the song perfectly in his production. I always thought
I would love to hear a "soul" singer do this song.... sweet,
mellow and warm.
12. LOVE ME LIKE A BABY - Daryl decided that I should record
this one with just my own piano accompaniment... very, very simple...
let the song speak for itself. This song came to me when I began to
think about people who work very hard in very stressful situations.
At work they have to be tough and strong...... "Out there it's
a crazy world.... I get so tired of being strong." And then the
incredible relief when they come home to the one they love most in
the world and can forget their stress for a while in their lover's
arms.... "Baby, baby me. Safe in your arms I'm free... .where
I can hide and leave the world outside." Perhaps you know what
13. LOVE SURVIVES - Long time C&T fans already know the
story behind this song. In 1984 Daryl and I had moved to Lake Tahoe.
Soon after our move I received word that our dear friend, Howie Greenfield
had contracted AIDS and was near death. Howie was Neil Sedaka's long
time friend and writing partner. Together Howie and Neil wrote hit
after hit, including LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER. Howie contacted us
through our record company, A&M Records, the very first time he
heard LWKUT on the radio. He invited us to his beautiful home in Beverly
Hills which he shared with his partner, Tory Damon. Daryl and I adored
those two men, and we became fast friends with both of them. We ended
up losing both of them to AIDS... what a terrible loss. After I heard
the news of Howie's illness I went for a walk in the woods around
our Tahoe home, thinking of him and all the joy he had brought to
people with his songs. The phrase "Love survives in a song and
a memory" came to me as I walked. By the time I got back to our
home, about an hour later, I had almost the entire lyric ready to
be written down, along with the melody for the chorus. Since we were
no longer having hits at that time, I had hoped an artist like Whitney
Houston would be interested in recording it. I actually gathered my
courage (and fear of rejection) and sent a demo to her through Clive
Davis. He did write back, but turned the song down, saying she had
enough tunes for her next album. Daryl and I were used to people in
the business thinking of us as kind of "fluffy" and "superficial".
But Clive actually said that we did not have the "cachet"
required for the music business (as he saw it). He was probably right....
we certainly weren't thought of as "hip", but LOVE SURVIVES
is a wonderful song. I'm proud of it and I hope someday some terrific
singer will record it. Howie is gone, but his music lives on in our
hearts and memories. LOVE SURVIVES is my tribute to him.
14. SMILE FOR ME ONE MORE TIME - I'm SURE you know that I wrote
this one for Daryl. I have lived with him for 37 years and I can tell
you for certain that Daryl is not a "smiler". He hardly
ever smiles, let alone break out in a great big grin. That's probably
why he has a lot less wrinkles than I do! This song was my way of
encouraging him to smile once in a while.
15. THE WAY I WANT TO TOUCH YOU - I wrote this song in the
early 70s in a boring, brown, dismal businessman's hotel at the airport
in Passaic, New Jersey. I was on my first Beach Boy tour as the only
"Beach Girl". Daryl had convinced Carl Wilson that I could
handle the acoustic piano parts and Carl hired me sight unseen (and
piano-playing ability unheard). I thought it was pretty darned incredible
that he would trust Daryl's judgement in that way... .especially since
I was not a "boy"! . Daryl taught me all the parts, and
I must say that I was well-prepared musically. Of course, I was falling
madly in love with Daryl at the time. I was trying to think of a way
to express my feelings to him, and music seemed to be the way to do
it. While I was staying at this uninspiring airport hotel, the song
began to come to me. I went to the front desk and asked the desk clerk
if there was a piano anywhere on the premises. He told me there was
one in one of the conference rooms, but that he thought it might not
be a very good one. Total understatement!!!! It was horribly out of
tune. But it was all I needed. I wrote THE WAY I WANT TO TOUCH YOU
on that terrible piano in about an hour. It became our second million-selling
Thank you all so much for reading TONI'S TAKE. I hope you will continue
to do so, and I will try to be better about writing more often. Until
next time... Keep
A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart.
Mar 23, 2009
ON TONI'S SONGS | GENERAL UPDATE FOR TONI AND DARYL AND SMOKY
A couple of weeks ago Daryl showed me that he had found a way to
post some of our recordings
to our website so fans could listen to the songs and purchase
them if they wished to. I asked him if it would be possible to post
the songs I have written over the years in the same type of format
so our fans could listen to them as a collection. I thought Daryl
would just pull the songs I have written for each of our albums/CDs
and put them all together in one place.
Instead, he went through the C&T archives, and pulled out songs
I hadn't heard in years! Some are only in demo form. Some I wrote
with other artists in mind. Others I wrote for various projects,
including a couple of songs for a Mattel Toy Company promotion,
and a song I had hoped would become a special "seventh inning"
sing-along (along with TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME) for the Los
Angeles Dodgers fans. That song ,THE DODGER STADIUM SONG, still
makes me laugh every time I hear it. Some songs I wrote for fun
for a "girl group", and others for a concept CD I had
in mind that would feature a different guy's name in each song title.
I think you will find, as you listen to these songs, that my songwriting
is pretty versatile and eclectic. Most of you know my basic musical
background is classical , jazz and standards, but I also enjoy and
appreciate all kinds of music, including soul, classic country,
rhythm and blues, classic rock, and even folk music. If you listened
to BUTTERSCOTCH CASTLE, BUT I THINK IT'S A DREAM, PETE WON'T DANCE,
and THE GOOD SONGS one after the other, without knowing who had
written them, I doubt if you would have believed they were all written
by the same composer.
I thought you would enjoy reading some comments and notes for each
of the compositions. I find that I do my best writing when I write
alone.... both lyrics and music. I did try writing with the late
Howie Greenfield, lyricist for LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER and the
inspiration for LOVE SURVIVES, and we came up with a classic country-type
tune, YOU NEVER STAYED AWAY THIS LONG. But Howie is really the only
writer I have ever collaborated with (besides Daryl). I just find
it easier and freer to write alone. I don't even let Daryl hear
the songs I write until I have completely finished them!
One more thing..... when I write my songs, I don't feel like I actually
"write" them. They just seem to come through me somehow.....
almost like I am taking dictation. It is hard to describe, but other
songwriters have told me they experience the same thing. It seems
that the songs I have to work the hardest on are never the best
ones. The best ones just "come through" easily.
So here are some notes and comments on
TENNILLE SONGBOOK". Enjoy!
1. BABY YOU STILL GOT IT - This song was inspired, of course,
by my long relationship with Daryl. Actually, the first lyric that
"came" to me was the first line of the chorus... "Baby,
you still got it, you've got everything I need...." I wrote
the chorus first, and then wrote the rest of the song. I do that
quite often when I write.... first comes "the hook" (usually
the chorus) and the rest of the song then falls into place.
2. CIRCLES - Those of you who
have been fans of ours for a long time know the story behind CIRCLES.
It was one of the first songs I wrote about Daryl. When we first
met, I was instantly interested in him, but he had just come out
of a very bad relationship and had shut himself off from entering
into a new one. Somehow I just knew I would be good for him, and
he for me, and I was trying to think of how to help him see the
possibilities. I remembered a short poem by Edwin Markham that I
memorized when I was in high school. It is called...
"He drew a circle that shut me out
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout
But Love and I had the wit to win
We drew a circle that took him in."
3. DO THAT TO ME ONE MORE TIME - Once again, long time fans
will know the story behind this song, which hit #1 song in the country
in 1979 and became the second best-selling single we ever had. Daryl
and I were putting together the songs for our first project for
our new label, Casablanca. DO THAT came out of a thought I had about
the first time Daryl ever kissed me..... I wish he would do that
again right now! Now, many people have their own interpretations
of what the lyrics mean, but that is why I specifically wrote "Do
THAT to me once more time"..... not "Do IT to me one more
time!" It took a very short time to write the song once I had
the first line.... maybe half an hour. I thought it was just a little
"filler" tune, but Daryl insisted I play it for the president
of Casablanca, Neil Bogart. The minute I finished singing it for
Neil at our home in Pacific Palisades, he jumped up and shouted,
"That's a SMASH!!!!" And he was right! That experience
showed me that sometimes the songs that you don't have to work quite
as hard on..... the ones that just seem to almost write themselves.....
are often your most successful songs.
4. DON'T FORGET ME - I found it difficult to be a songwriter
who was expected to write only songs about my relationship with
my husband. Daryl and our long and thankfully happy marriage have
been an endless source of inspiration for me. But I always wanted
to write for other artists, too. I am, however, a terrible salesperson
for my own work. I just can't bring myself to ask other artists
to listen to my songs as prospective candidates for their own repertoire.
I guess I've always been afraid I would put them.... especially
a singer I knew personally.... in an embarrassing position if they
didn't like my song. I don't like to make other people uncomfortable!
The few times I have submitted my songs to others, the response
has been pretty much..."Well, if it is such a great song, why
didn't Captain and Tennille record it?" Songs have often "come
into my head" that had nothing to do with my relationship with
Daryl, and it was frustrating that many of our fans might think
there was something wrong with our marriage if I recorded a "sad"
song. DON'T FORGET ME is a sad and touching song about a relationship
that didn't work out........ two people who meant well, but were
just wrong for each other. I was inspired to write it after seeing
the 1979 film, KRAMER VS. KRAMER, starring Dustin Hoffman and Meryl
Streep. Rent the DVD and you will see exactly where the idea for
the song came from. I always thought Dolly Parton would sing DON'T
FORGET ME beautifully (but, of course, I never sent it to her).
5. FREE - Back in 1980 I hosted a syndicated television talk
show called THE
TONI TENNILLE TALK/VARIETY SHOW. It was produced by Bob (The
Newlywed Game) Eubanks. Later, Bob produced a small, independent
film and asked Daryl to do the score. Daryl, of course, turned to
me to write a closing theme song for the film to run under the credits.
I don't remember the title of the film. It had no stars in it and
I think it went straight to video. I do remember that it had something
to do with a couple running from the law for some reason. They were
inlove and unjustly accused of some wrong-doing. Anyhow, by the
end of the movie everything turns out fine and they are "free".
It is fun and challenging to write for films and I'd love to do
more, but haven't had another chance to do it.
6. GENTLE STRANGER - I wrote this well over 30 years ago
about someone I met before I knew Daryl. It is interesting to me
that some of my Christian friends have inferred that the "Gentle
Stranger" is Jesus. He isn't, but I can see how they would
interpret it that way. Certain songs may have different meanings
to different people. That, to me, is one of the wonderful things
about music, and why it is so important in our lives.
7. THE GOOD SONGS - I wrote this one back in the early 70's,
when Daryl and I were working at The Smokehouse
restaurant and bar in Encino, CA. We performed there off and
on.... mostly on.... or two years, from 1972-1974. True to its name,
the Smokehouse was SMOKY!!!!! And since I have a serious allergy
to smoke, by the time we quit for the night, I could hardly talk,
much less sing. This went on night after night. I'd manage to recover
my voice before we started the next night, but would pretty much
lose it by the end of the evening. As time went on, we developed
quite a following and people would often line up to get the best
seats in the bar area where we performed. When my smoke allergies
made it difficult for me to sing, I felt terrible for the people
who came to hear us. Sometimes when we were on our way to the Smokehouse
I would be filled with dread, worrying about whether or not I could
make it through the four hours of sets and give the fans what they
wanted to hear. "Lord I just can't make it tonight... and I
just can't get that glow on, I just don't think I can go on tonight."
Those words first came to me as we drove to work and the rest of
the song followed easily. THE GOOD SONGS became my "theme"
throughout my career as I struggled with the smoke allergy that
threatened to knock me out of many concerts we had scheduled. I
would say that vocal anxiety due to circumstances beyond my control
has been a constant problem throughout my career. This is probably
one of the reasons it is such a relief not to have to worry about
8. HONEY COME LOVE ME - One of the first songs I ever wrote....
way back in the early 70s. It is a sweet, loving song about a young
wife who wants to cajole her husband into staying in bed just a
little longer to continue the lovemaking they enjoyed during the
9. I'LL NEVER BE THE ONE TO LEAVE - This is just a demo with
me accompanying myself on piano. I fooled around with this song,
trying many different approaches to the tune, but decided to let
it rest since it was never going to be a "Captain and Tennille"
song. In my mind it was never a tune for my particular voice anyway.
It "came though me" as almost a classical piece. It just
wanted to be written... hard to explain. I don't always have control
of what comes through when I sit down to write. Anyhow, I would
love to hear this song sung by a classically trained voice.... actually,
a beautiful voice like my sister Melissa is blessed with. The lyrics
of this song express a woman's unease as she realizes that her lover's
affection may be cooling toward her. She wants to let him know that
she will never be the one to leave the relationship, implying that
it will have to be his decision. It is a sad song, but some of them
turn out that way. I am particularly happy with the melody and chord
structure of this one.
10. YOU NEVER STAYED AWAY THIS LONG - You know, I really
love this song, but it has one big lyric difficulty. First of all,
this is the one song I wrote with the late Howie Greenfield, Neil
Sedaka's long-time friend and writing partner. Howie was a bit older
than I was at the time, and he and I remembered back in the early
50s when television channels only had enough programming for 16
hours or so. The stations
would sign off completely in the early morning hours
with the playing of THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER. In our song, Howie
and I imagined the girl's sadness after she has had another disagreement
with her lover. He walks out the door, and she is too proud to call
him back. As the night drags on, she realizes she made a horrible
mistake by letting him go. The lyric "....and the Star Spangled
Banner is such a sad and lonely song...." is her reaction to
hearing the television closing down for the night in the wee hours
of the morning. Since that doesn't happen anymore in this age of
24 hour programming, I'd have to rewrite that lyric if anyone should
happen to want to sing or record the song.
Since I have 29 more songs to write about, I'll stop for now and
write about the next ten songs on the list by next week. I promise!!!
UPDATE FOR TONI AND DARYL AND SMOKY
Another quick note..... I have recovered beautifully from my hip fracture
(Femoral Neck Fracture, Garden I Type). Three and a half months after
the accident I am back running canine agility with Smoky. Also, Smoky
passed the Delta Society Pet Therapy Team evaluation (NOTE:
Smoky's painting at this link is by Toni's niece, CAROLINE ST. CLAIR
- Jane's daughter - see more of her art at: www.flickr.com/photos/shepaintspets
) with top honors. He received a "Complex" rating, which
means that, in addition to visiting patients and their families in
their hospital rooms and in waiting rooms (and also hospital staff...
they need doggy love, too), he is certified to visit ICU patients
and IV Therapy patients as well. He won't be two years old until June,
but his big, mellow boy is doing the work he was born to do. He and
I visit Yavapai Regional Medical Center every Thursday, and it has
been a wonderful experience for both of us. And you may ask, do people
recognize me as we make our rounds? Actually, even though my hospital
name tag clearly says TONI TENNILLE, most people only concentrate
on Smoky. I'm just the person who brings him into the room. I love
It has been five months since Daryl's bi-lateral knee replacement
surgery. He has yet to reach the point where he "trusts"
his knees. He says the swelling bothers him and makes him feel unstable.
He will recover fully, but it will take him longer. He keeps reminding
me that he has two titanium knees that he has to get used to, and
I just had "a little crack" in my femur that was repaired
with three titanium screws. I guess he will set off the metal detector
more times than I will!!!
Until next time..........
A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart.
18 , 2008
OUT OF THE DARKNESS
November 5, 2008 -The politics of hate, fear and division has been
pushed back into the dark cave from which it came. It will still
rear its ugly head from time to time, but we have a fine young man
as our president, who, I believe, will lead us with a calm, steady,
compassionate hand. This country that we all love so much is now
lit by the pure white light of hope. Last night we came out of the
darkness and into this beautiful light. I am grateful to have lived
long enough to see this.
I wrote the above thoughts the morning after Barack Obama was elected
President of the United States. I am sure that some of you were
disheartened, sad, and fearful when it became clear that he had
won. I can only say to you that now you understand what I felt after
the elections of 2000 and 2004. However, this great country will
go on because our founders were very wise men. Although our nation
is going through some very hard times right now, her people are
strong and resilient. We are can do Americans and we
will rise again to our respected place in the world. I can only
ask that you give this young president a chance..... give him a
chance to lead. If, after offering him a grace period,
you still feel he was the wrong choice, you have the opportunity
to vote him out of office in 2012. We are a most fortunate people
indeed to be Americans.
TONI'S TAKE.... AGAIN
Some of you have written many times asking when I would start writing
TONIS TAKE again. I have been known to be a procrastinator,
but this is ridiculous! Actually, I have been having a very long talk
with myself about why I have not written in such a long time, and
here is what I have finally decided is the reason..... my life now
would not be particularly interesting to most of you. Daryl and I
are, for all intents and purposes, retired from performing and recording.
Retiring wasnt so much a deliberate decision as it was something
that just seemed to happen. After the VICTOR/VICTORIA tour, I was
emotionally bruised and battered.... no ones fault but my own.
I made a decision without thinking about how it would actually affect
me and my family. I loved the show, and couldnt wait to tackle
the part..... I really felt I would be great in the role. However,
I didnt think it through well enough as to what the tour would
actually entail. Once I got out there and started the tour, the bottom
fell out of my heart because of homesickness..... I missed my home,
my dogs and cats...... and I ached for Daryls constant reassuring
presence. Lying in bed in one of the hotel rooms in a big city, listening
to the sirens and the trash trucks, I missed the sound of silence
at night in rural northern Nevada, a quiet occasionally broken by
the sound of the wind or a coyotes manic laughter.
Well..... Ive discussed all of this in previous posts. Lets
just say that was the beginning of the end of touring for me. And
its funny that now, THAT life...... the one I had on television
and on radio.... seems like a dream.... like Toni Tennille isnt
me. I see her on YouTube, and admire her energy and singing, but she
seems unreal and totally unconnected to me.
I now have a much simpler life, and it suits me and Daryl just fine.
But I doubt it will be that interesting to most of you. But so many
of you have written to ask how we are doing, let me take some time
to catch you up on what has been going on since I last wrote TONI'S
OUR NEW PRESCOTT HOME
Daryl and I moved into our beautiful
new home in Prescott AZ in June. We lived in the guest house for
about 2 1/2 weeks until the main house was completely finished. I
must say I am so proud of Daryl's work on the design of this home.....
the fourth house we have built from the"ground up." We essentially
copied the house we had in northern Nevada but made some changes we
thought would improve the original design. Daryl had the vision to
design exactly what was needed. The house is sturdily built, gracious,
open and welcoming.... exactly what we wanted.
We have been going through some rather difficult times physically.
Daryl had bi-lateral knee replacement surgery on October 13th. That
means he had BOTH
knees surgically replaced at the same time. His knees have been
horrible since his 40s, but he put off having surgery until he just
couldn't stand it any more. We are extremely fortunate to have a couple
of wonderful orthopaedic surgeons here in town. Daryl's surgery was
done by Dr. Bertrand Kaper (pronounced "copper"), and he
did a spectacular job. Daryl was in the hospital here in Prescott
for five days, and then came home to begin recuperating along with
help from my brother-in-law Frank, who is a nurse. Frank flew out
here from Florida and stayed with us for 18 days, eliminating any
necessity for Daryl to go to a rehab facility, thank goodness.
Daryl is now walking on his own, using a cane occasionally. He is
going through post-op rehab three days a week, and drives himself
to the rehab facility. His tremor is still quite bothersome and embarrassing
to him, so he is really uncomfortable in social situations...... even
more than usual. The most difficult thing for Daryl has been re-training
his leg muscles to support his perfect, new knees. He was using those
muscles incorrectly for decades, compensating for his bad knees. Now
they have to learn to work with his new ones. It is truly amazing....
where Daryl used to be slightly knock-kneed, his legs are now perfectly
straight. Thank God for the skill of a fine surgeon.
I foresee Daryl's struggling with his recovery and rehab for another
couple of months, but there will come a time when he will be able
to hike with me again.... hopefully soon.
MY LEFT HIP
Actually....it will take ME a couple of months before I can go hiking
again. A week ago Sunday, I broke my left hip running agility with
our dog, Smoky.
He and I were running a pattern of three jumps leading to "c"
shaped tunnel, with both ends pointing towards the jumps. The object
was for the dogs to go over the jumps, enter the tunnel on the right
side, come out of the tunnel on the left, and go back over the jumps.
I put Smoky in a sit/stay, walked halfway down the jumps, and then
called him to jump and "go tunnel". After he went over the
jumps, he headed for the left entrance to the tunnel, instead of the
right side I was indicating. I called, "Smoky.... here! Here!"
He turned on a dime and headed for the correct entrance, but I didn't
move fast enough to get out his way, and he knocked my feet out from
under me. I landed with my full body weight on my left hip.
Actually, I was most fortunate.... I didn't BREAK the hip, I cracked
the femur. Luckily I have big, strong, dense bones, so I didn't need
a hip replacement, just three titanium screws to hold the crack in
place until the bone heals. The only trouble is I am not allowed to
put any weight on my left leg for at least four more weeks, so I am
limping around the house using a walker or crutches. The walker is
good because it has a basket to carry things around, but it really
slows me up! The crutches are faster, but I have to be very careful
while I'm using them. If I re-injure the hip, I will have to have
hip replacement surgery...... YIKES. So I am being VERY careful and
patient so the bone will heal good as new.
So, here we are...two injured people.... recuperating with the help
of my wonderful younger sisters and nieces, who have been here since
I got out of the hospital, and will be here, in shifts, until January
3rd. After that, my terrific neighbors will help out a bit until I
can throw way the crutches... hopefully by January 11th.
OUR CREATIVE LIVES IN PRESCOTT
I am doing some creative things, but nothing big. I took part as an
actress in an "old fashioned radio show" at the Prescott
Fine Arts Theatre on Prescott Ghost Walk night during Halloween.
Although the show was presented live on stage, we acted an original
mystery script, written by a local writer. It was lots of fun and
was great to be part of an ensemble again. The experience took me
right back to my days of community theatre, and I will probably do
more of it if asked.
I also sang (donating my performance) as part of the Prescott Jazz
Festival, held in Prescott every August, and presented by Mike
Vax, a terrific trumpet player and jazz educator. He brings in
top quality jazz artists from all over the country to perform in various
venues in the Prescott area. I dug out some of my great Sammy Nestico
Big Band arrangements and performed with the big band here in town.
It was great, because I was just part of the show...I sang five songs,
I think. It was kind of a relief not to have the entire show depend
I have been doing a lot of dog agility with our 18 month old blue
merle Australian Shepherd, Smoky. I always wanted to do agility with
Adelaide, but we were on the road all the time, and I never had the
time to work with her. Now she is almost 12 years old..... feisty
as ever, but a bit too old to be learning agility.
Smoky and I are also in training to pass the Delta Society Hospital
Therapy Dog test in late January. Once we are certified, he and I
will become part of the therapy dog volunteer teams who visit patients
and their families once a week at our local hospital. His father,
Moon, was a beloved therapy dog who worked at the hospital for six
years. Sadly, Moon died of a virulent cancer just two months after
Hubble died. He was only eight years old. Smoky has his daddy's sweetness
and gentle nature, so I know he will carry on Moon's legacy with honor.
I have just started working on a theme song for our agility club,
TOP DOG. I'm really doing it for fun, and to keep myself creative.
I am at a stopping point now, because I need Daryl to do a track for
me based on what I've written. Unfortunately, Daryl doesn't have his
recording area set up yet, and now that he has had knee surgery, he
won't be able to do it until he can get up and down from the floor
easily (all the plugs and outlets are down low to the ground).
I can honestly tell you that our touring days are over. Neither of
us can stand to fly, especially as things are now. Daryl's tremor
embarrasses him so much, I doubt if he will ever appear onstage in
public again, which really puts an end to Captain and Tennille, since
I will never do those songs without him. He has always been the sound
of C&T. There is no one quite like him.
Now I have brought you up to date. Our lives, I'm sure, are not that
interesting to you now. We've gone back to being just regular people...kind
of like we were before all the hits. I plan to contribute my talents
in smaller ways, but hopefully meaningful ones. I hope to always be
creative in some way. My deepest thanks to all of you who have been
such great fans over the years. We have loved hearing from you. If
you like, I will try to write a TONI'S TAKE every now and then. Mostly
I will just write about what's going on here in Prescott.
I hope some of you are enjoying our Christmas CD, THE
SECRET OF CHRISTMAS. You aren't likely to find it in stores, but
all of the online stores (Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, CD Universe.com)
have it available. In the meantime, have a very merry Christmas and
a wonderful Holiday Season, and..... Keep
A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart. -