ABILENE, Texas — Sara Snowden and Jenny Gill had something uniquely in common to talk about.
So did Misti Hagler and Amy Grant.
The Abilene Reporter-News reports Grant and Gill, after finishing the last bites of her peach cobbler, toured the West Texas Rehabilitation Center on Thursday afternoon, before both singers entertained another large audience at the nonprofit summer dinner event downtown.
“It’s like a posse,” Gill commented, turning back to see a large group following her and Grant through the facility. They met staff and patients, including Hagler, who was at a machine that exercised her arms.
Hagler knows Vince Gill.
So does Grant. Probably a little better than Hagler.
Grant’s married to Gill, who toured the Rehab Center last year when he was the dinner show guest. There, he met Hagler.
Grant spent enough time with Hagler that she left the Rehab patient in tears, of happiness.
After a luncheon at the center, Gill and Snowden talked about their baby bumps.
Gill in July announced that she and her husband are expecting their second child. Snowden in mid-November is expecting her first, a girl. Gill, who has a 3-year-old son, Wyatt, said they don’t yet know the gender of No. 2, who’s due in January.
“We can’t decide,” she said of wanting to know. She thinks it may be a girl.
“But I’ve been wrong before,” Gill joked.
Neither woman was bashful about showing off their baby shapes.
Snowden, a pediatric physical therapist who has been with the Rehab Center for just past two years, said Gill advised her to invest in a book about how to get a baby to sleep at night. Or stay up with the consequences.
One of Snowden’s patients is a youngster named Daniell, who was to be the featured patient story at that evening’s dinner concert.
After talking and sharing I’ve-known-you-forever laughs with Snowden, Gill put on her cool white shades and took a couple of more bites of cobbler.
Yes, they have cobbler in Tennessee, she said.
“But not like this,” she added, taking one more scoop.
No worries. She’s eating for two.
A large group followed the two singers and their tour guide, Jessi Bailey.
“It’s so weird,” Gill commented, laughing.
Still, she and Grant were at ease with the folks they met at the Rehab.
Bubbly Angie Lane, who’s the director of Hospice of the Big Country, talked with Grant as if they were longtime friends, starting with hugs. Grant’s music was playing in the background as they talked and then posed for photos with Lane’s staff.
Hospice is affiliated with the Rehab Center.
“Your show is going to be soooo good,” Lane said. She asked about Grant’s father, who fell ill last year, causing Grant to bow out of joining her husband for the Rehab show.
“He’s hanging in there. He has a strong heart,” Grant said. “He’s still here.”
After just a few minutes, Grant had come to a conclusion about Lane.
“If you showed up in my room,” Grant said, “I wouldn’t want to die.”
Everyone got a good laugh but Grant quickly had picked up on a caring staff.
Grant talked with Brian Lammons, who’s in a wheelchair, and Amy Voce, who has brought Hagler to the center for six months.
“She talks about him all the time,” Voce said of Hagler telling about her meeting with Vince Gill last August.
She now will have another story to tell.
The singers met other Rehab staff, who quickly explained their areas of expertise. Gill at one point did a selfie video describing her visit.
While walking in a hall, the “posse” paused near a piano. Becky Pyburn had been playing,
“Beautiful,” Gill said, embracing Pyburn.
“I wasn’t expecting that,” Pyburn told her, laughing, but hugging back warmly.
Before the singers made their way to the piano, Pybrun was asked if she could play an Amy Grant song.
“That was one,” she said. She turned her sheet music back to the beginning of “My Jesus, I Love Thee.”
“I know she has sung that,” Pyburn said.
She told Grant and Gill that, as an RSVP member, she plays an hour a week at the Rehab.
“I think people need it,” she said. Grant and Gill nodded in agreement.
Pyburn turned to Grant.
“How’s Vince? He heard me play last year,” she said.
Grant acknowledged that, and then it was time for the posse to move on out again and make more memories for those they’d meet.
It was girls’ night out … on the stage.
Gill did five songs from her album “The House Sessions,” not making it through her opening set without kicking off her shoes.
“I am regretting my choice of shoes,” she said, referring to her pregnancy. “I’m tempted to take them off.”
She did, eventually.
“Two more things for the auction,” she joked.
“Two hundred dollars,” a guy shouted.
“Five hundred dollars,” shouted another guy.
But, she said, she loved her shoes. Sorry, boys.
Gill said she was so impressed with the Rehab Center, initially believing rehab meant something else and she couldn’t “sing my ‘Whiskey” song.” But on Thursday she was reminded about the blessing of health.
Without much of a pause, the show shifted to Grant, who dazzled the crowd with her guitar playing and, of course, her songs.
She started her set — this was her first performance of the summer, she later said — with a gospel song.
“I am a Church of Christ girl,” she said.
Both singers — Gill would come back on stage to sing harmony, as she has done for years — poked fun at Vince Gill, the storyteller in the family, they said.
Did he talk more than he sang last year, Gill asked, laughing.
Yet, Grant also took time to talk about her songs and their meaning, and no one complained.
Her choices ranged from the Joni Mitchell classic “Big Yellow Taxi” to her hits “Saved By Love” and “Baby Baby.”
She joked she was not watching the clock (on her phone) but had been told Abilenians had to be in their PJs by 10 p.m.
Three nice twists to the concert were:
— The $3,500 paid for guitar signed by both singers.
— Artist Rolando Diaz painted on stage during Grant’s set. She commented on how wonderful it was to see him inspired music. The piece was to be auctioned off, the money going to the Rehab Center.
— Gill said she had a few of her albums with her and she would donate half the sales total to the center.
Information from: Abilene Reporter-News, http://www.reporternews.com
This is an AP Member Exchange shared by the Abilene Reporter-News