Thursday, January 11, 2018


Barb Day
 Barb Day, owner of Studio 26.2 and Fitness Complex in Vernon, NY, promises she offers “something for everyone” when it comes to wellness, fitness and healing.

“I just love helping people live a healthier lifestyle,” Day, who celebrated the 10th anniversary of Studio 26.2 in 2017, said.

For both men and women, and from teens to seniors, Studio 26.2 and Fitness Complex offers group and private sessions, with a wide range of training offerings including but definitely not limited to yoga, dumbbell toning and core conditioning, kettlebell, Pilates, Zumba, cross-training, and even insanity workouts.

Day said she became interested in fitness instruction in college. Although she wasn’t taking it as a major, she decided to earn her certification to be able to be a trainer, but originally as a part-time job. That part-time job has blossomed into her own facility currently located along Route 5 in Vernon. They have actually made a few moves over that decade as Studio 26.2 outgrew its previous locations, each time moving a bit further east along Route 5 but not too far from before.

An enthusiastic group celebrates the finish of another great workout on Jan. 6, 2018 at Studio 26.2 in Vernon, NY
Celia Goodwin has been coming to Studio 26.2 for six years, introduced by a friend who offered to take her to a class. She was quickly hooked, she admitted, and there isn’t much that will slow her down from coming out for her exercise.

“Once, I had my foot in a cast and on crutches, and I was doing squats,” she said.

For Goodwin, Studio 26.2 is “all about the camaraderie.”

“It’s a great team effort,” she explained. “Everybody’s friends and we all help each other out and cheer each other on. And Barb is a great motivator.”

Pat Kerr has been with Day through several locations for some 15 years.

“I’m dedicated to her,” Kerr admitted. “This has become a way of life for me. Every single class is different, and that‘s what has kept me following her.”

Studio 26.2 and Fitness Complex enriches her life in mind, body and spirit, Kerr said, as well as offering her nutrition advice as well. She has met good friends there, and now they go out together socially. The 6 a.m. classes she attends might be a bit early for some people, but for Kerr -- who doesn’t mind saying she is 72 years old -- it’s dedication to improving her life.

“It’s all about what you want to accomplish,” Kerr assessed.

But it’s not just about the women, as men enjoy the benefits of a good workout there as well. Rob Wright said he started six years ago after receiving some bad results on blood work. He has been a regular since then, and the benefits to a good workout at Studio 26.2 are clear.

“I am in better shape now at 48 than I was at 35,” Wright said. Pilates are his personal favorite, and he recommends them especially for anyone who has had any kind of back problems. He admitted he would like to see more men take advantage of the opportunities at Studio 26.2, and also intimated he might not always seem as appreciative of the workout as he actually is.

“I complain a lot, but I keep coming back,” he quipped.

Studio 26.2 is designed as an upbeat and lively fitness facility, keeping people motivated by keeping it fun, Day promised.

“My motto is I like to keep fitness as fun as possible,” she said. “We aren’t doing the same thing all of the time. I focus on people, and improving their health and fitness.”

Studio 26.2 and Fitness Complex is located at 4929 State Route 5 in Vernon, NY. For more information, call (315) 886-6506 or visit:

To learn how you can find your own business featured here, email Mike Jaquays at

Monday, December 25, 2017


There really aren’t that many people who could tell me to shut the f*** up, and mean it, and still be endearing to me.

Sukosh Fearon was the man to do that. He was a true inspiration to me ... Blind since he was just a prematurely-born baby, Sukosh (a name the staff of the Japanese hospital gave him after he was born, a shortened version of their word for “little one”) would go on to become one of the finest musicians and vocalists ever to grace a stage in Central New York. We lost Sukosh on Dec. 23, but not until he had one last gig the Sunday before that, during the heart-warming “A Day of Music with Sukosh Fearon” event in Canastota. There, I saw (for the last time, sadly) Sukosh in his true environment. Performing music live on stage, and loving every minute of it.

Sukosh performs at "A Day of Music With Sukosh Fearon" at the Rusty Rail Party House in Canastota, NY on Dec. 17, 2017. Dozens of his musical friends came out for a musical afternoon less than a week before his passing, to celebrate his love of music and all of the great times singing songs.

So, yeah, he did once tell me to shut up. And I’ve never, ever heard that f-bomb from his mouth before or since, so I know he was mad at me. Truth to tell, it was really my own fault. Let me set the scene -- there is an annual Relay for Life in Oneida for the American Cancer Society, and it is always an emotional time with many cancer survivors coming out to share the love and support of caregivers and friends. One of the highlights is a silent lap for those who have been lost to cancer, with Relay attendees walking around the Oneida High School track behind a bagpiper playing “Amazing Grace.”

That silent lap was well underway as I ran into Sukosh while walking around the area. Not thinking, I burst out with a “Hey Sukosh. How are you doing?” not noticing he was standing there entranced by the solemnity of the moment. That I just ruined for him. So he cussed at me. When it was over, he apologized, but I told him it was definitely okay … I earned that reaction, and apologized myself.

Sukosh was fond of greeting you with a hearty “Nice to see you!” or “You look great today!“ even though he had never “seen” you in his life. When my girls were working a Lions Club event, and complained they were working too hard, I asked Sukosh right in front of them if he had seen them do anything at all that day, and he said no. The girls were mortified that I would say that to a blind man, but this wasn’t poking fun at his blindness, it was embracing the way he himself always focused past it. His “Nice to see you!” showed something about Sukosh. His blindness was not holding him back. He was just like everybody else. And maybe he could see us all in a way beyond what we could ourselves.

And once he got to know you, he rarely needed you to tell him who was speaking. Sukosh had a great memory for voices -- way better than my own memory for putting names to faces.

Of course, my time with Sukosh is not without regrets. Like the time I was helping him navigate a narrow hallway, leading him by the arm with directions like “turn left” and “watch the step here.” Well, at one point I told him to turn left, when he really needed to take a right, and promptly walked him into the wall. Sorry, buddy.

A few years ago, I had my own bout with vision loss. It was a time of uncertainty and fear, but there was always an inspiration throughout my own visits to several doctors. I thought of Sukosh and how he would walk the streets of his Oneida hometown, and even hitchhike across the state, travels that perhaps by fate led him to meeting his wife Pat on one of his trips. Sukosh was a bright guiding light throughout all of my own appointments. He was the model I tried to emulate.

Now, that light has not diminished at all with the loss of Sukosh. In fact, it is brighter now than ever, because I was with him right near the end to see how bravely he faced that diagnosis. That smiling face on stage less than a week before his death, followed just days later by his warm greetings to visitors in his room at the Extended Care Facility, will be the way I always remember him. RIP my friend and inspiration, Sukosh Fearon. You have left behind great memories of music and inspiration to so many people who have had the pleasure of knowing you here.

We could all only hope to leave that kind of legacy.

Sunday, December 17, 2017


I have been along for the Star Wars ride since the very beginning, even before episode four was called “A New Hope.” Those were the good old days when Han shot first. I even waited impatiently for the early Christmas present in 1978 that turned out to be the bantha fodder of the “Star Wars Holiday Special.” I think I have enough experience to truly reflect on all the goings-on along this 40-year trek among the stars.

So here are my thoughts after seeing “The Last Jedi,” and obviously there will be lots of spoilers. See the movie first! (unless you want to use this as a guide for what really to watch for in the film, which will be fun also)

The all-out attack on Luke Skywalker was my favorite part of the film.

Rey vs. Kylo was my second favorite part of the film.

Poe and Finn really haven’t grown on me like Luke, Leia and Han had by the second of their movies.

So, my first thought at the Luke and Leia reunion is, “Why did Luke stop for a hair cut and dye job when the galaxy is falling to hell?” And I cracked up when Leia says, “I changed my hair,” because that was the same thought I had about Luke. Luckily, this whole situation is later explained and actually made great sense.

Is it just me, or did it look like the movie was finished, and somebody realized Maz was contracted to appear so they had to squeeze her in somewhere? And why is Lupita Nyong’o listed so high in the credits? How much did she make for this five minutes of work?

Is she still saving the story of how she got Luke’s lightsaber for another time?

Did the pseudo-Master Codebreaker really know anything about breaking codes?

Why does the whole space casino part look like it was supposed to be in another movie?

Rey’s parents revelation just had me wondering why the hell I just spent two years trying to figure out that non-mystery. And I still want to know who the heck was Snoke? But really, going back to “The Force Awakens,” there is no where in that film that alludes to any big mystery in either character … it was all just fan boy and fan girl pondering afterwards that amounted to jack.

Vice Admiral Holdo totally annoyed me at first, and then was totally awesome at the end.

Those little birds annoyed me all the way through, but the Crystal Critters were cool.

Am I the only one who thought the red stuff in the ground at the new rebel base was blood at first? And totally grossed out when the Rebel dude tasted it?

True love is stopping someone from committing suicide by committing suicide, according to Rose.

Why is Carrie Fisher the only surviving member of the main heroic trio, when she is in real life the only one who has passed?

Friday, October 14, 2016

'Brute' returns to Oneida for CNY Slam Jam

Oneida High School graduate-turned professional wrestler Brute VanSlyke returns to the area in November to bring his own brutish brawn to the mat at the Kallet Civic Center, as he takes on "The Man" Kevin  Graham during the Kallet's first-ever CNY Slam Jam on Saturday, Nov. 5.

Independent professional wrestler Brute VanSlyke -- better known to his fellow Oneida High School class of 2004 grads as Mike VanSlyke -- returns to Oneida for a match at the Kallet Civic Center on Nov. 5. (Photo courtesy of Brute VanSlyke)

Here's his story, related to me by Brute himself:

Oneida High School class of 2004 graduate Mike VanSlyke -- now known to professional wrestling fans as the massive Brute VanSlyke -- recalled it was a chance switching of the television channels that led to his discovery of wrestling back when he was just a tyke. VanSlyke said he was 5 years old when one day he was channel surfing and landed on a wrestling match featuring Andre the Giant. 

He was mesmerized, and a lifelong passion was born.

“I saw Andre the Giant and stopped changing the channel,” he remembered. “Ever since then I have been a fan of everything about wrestling -- the sport, the lights, and the entertainment of it all.”

On his 6th birthday, VanSlyke received several wrestler action figures, with Andre the Giant becoming his favorite. 

He wrestled at Oneida High School, and one day a few years after graduation he saw a commercial for Squared Circle Wrestling in Syracuse, also known as 2CW. VanSlyke was intrigued by the possibility of training to become a professional wrestler, so he visited the location to find an old abandoned warehouse turned into a training facility. He signed up for their program and began a journey that has most recently taken him to the Land of the Rising Sun as an independent professional wrestler.

2CW trained him well with their intense and rigorous sessions … he started out at 396 pounds in 2009 and by the time of his first match 10 months later he was down to 280 pounds. VanSlyke enjoys the physical demands that wrestling puts on him, as he makes sure he is properly trained to withstand the hits and falls in the ring. 

“If you don’t have a strong love and passion for wrestling, you won’t make it,” he said. 

VanSlyke debuted as a professional wrestler on Feb. 19, 2010, and has traveled across the state and to Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island to face fellow independent wrestlers in the ring. His official stats list him as 6 foot 5 inches tall and weighing in at 346 pounds. Trademark moves he uses to subdue his opponents include the Deep Double Underhook Suplex, Military Press Body Slam, T-Bone Suplex, Bicycle Kick, Power Bomb, Two-Handed Choke Bomb, and Pop Up Headbutt. 

His recent titles include GSW Heavyweight Champion from June 14, 2014 to April 11, 2015; the GSW 2014 AggroCup Tournament on May 17, 2014; 2CW Tag Team Champion with Kevin Graham from Nov. 23, 2013 to April 19, 2014; and WXW C-4 Elite Tag Team Champion also with Graham from Nov. 2, 2013 to May 31, 2014. VanSlyke was even selected as the GSW Most Hated Wrestler for 2013.

He is just recently returned from wrestling for the summer in Japan, where he had the chance to meet his idol Stan Hanson, one of their biggest wrestling draws ever. VanSlyke explained he was seen by a Japanese wrestler at one of his own events, and invited to go overseas for a couple months.

“It was great wrestling in Japan … it was always my main goal,” VanSlyke said. “They are more about athleticism and less about the soap opera, just like I am, and they really have an insane level of competition.” 

In addition to his summer spent wrestling in Japan, he also counts as career highlights wrestling in “dark” matches for TNA -- matches that take place before the televised portion of the events take place. He said he has had the chance to wrestle many great opponents, and appreciates the opportunity to work with those wrestling talents.

At this point in his career, VanSlyke still works a full-time job to support himself, and moved to Rochester to pursue a larger job market. He settled in at Staples, where he found bosses who are accepting of his wrestling schedule -- which often entails going away on weekends. 

“They are willing to work with me,” VanSlyke complimented. “They understand what I am trying to do.”

Although he appreciates the support of his Staples bosses and co-workers, VanSlyke hopes to someday soon be able to make a full-time career out of his wrestling, and leave the 9-to-5 world behind, he intimated. 

His dad Edward VanSlyke still lives in Oneida, as does his mom Marjorie. While his dad has been supportive of his wrestling career, VanSlyke said his mom and her boyfriend Jim Farnam have gone above and beyond -- especially in helping finance his trip to Japan.  

“She has always been there for me, since my very first match when she said afterwards that she knew that was what I’m supposed to do,” he recalled. 

As of now, VanSlyke doesn’t have an action figure of his own, although he does own a specially-made stuffed plush “wrestling buddy” in his own image. No matter where VanSlyke ends up in the future, he promises he will always has his hometown at heart.

“Even though I’ve moved to Rochester, I am still an Oneida native,” VanSlyke said. “Whenever I am announced in the ring, it’s always that I am from Oneida, NY and nothing is going to change that.” 

There's even more local excitement at the Kallet, as Oneida's own guitarist Roy Coston will perform the National Anthem and entertain during intermission. The event also features former WWE / ECW superstar Tommy "The Innovator of Violence" Dreamer,  a six-man tag match as the The Fellowship battles Northern Fury, and the 20-man battle royal.

CNY Slam Jam is Saturday, Nov. 5, with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. followed by the event at 7 p.m. The event is presented by SCW, Happy2Assist, and The Kallet Civic Center. Tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for children 12 and younger, with free for lap seats for kids under 2.  VIP Tickets are $25 and include a meet and greet with the wrestlers and front row seats ... other tickets are general admission. 

Sunday, August 7, 2016


I saw this photo today on Facebook, evidently placed there to show the perceived absurdity of belief in God, and felt compelled to add my own thoughts on the topic. Assuming it is real, and not just some twisted Photoshop troll getting his or her jollies, here is what I see happening in this photo.

Where was God during those last dying days as this child suffered from starvation, with a vulture patiently waiting for his last breath? He was there. It's the age-old question that constantly tasks belief in God and religion ... "Why do bad things happen to good people?" People of faith know there is no promise made of a life free of challenge, and often tragedy as well. We have ALL seen terrible things happen in our own lives and to our loved ones ... horrible and untimely deaths, gruesome accidents, victims of violent crimes ... these happen all the time. And they happen to all kinds of people, from atheists right up to the most faithful of believers.

I have several friends who have lost children, and I can't think of anything more terrible than that. I fear for that loss myself every day, especially now that I have grandchildren. But do I think God deserted these friends in their time of need, or that He is punishing them for some wrong doing? Definitely not. I think many people are too focused on this world, and not on the promised eternity to come. Those children, I believe, were welcomed into heaven. A relative of mine died not too long ago, and in telling a co-worker she replied I didn't seem too upset over it. I told her this person lived in constant pain and was now free of that, so there is nobody happier at the moment than she was and I rejoiced over that. I felt grief for the family she left behind, naturally, who were feeling that loss but I think even they accepted the belief that she was in a better place.

One of my biggest turning points in my own belief was one day when many good things happened to me all at once, and I stopped to ask for a sign that God was really there granting me all of these boons. A local church's flyer was delivered to me shortly thereafter inviting me to their upcoming meeting analyzing the evidence of Jesus' existence in our lives. That was something I dared not miss. The pastor leading the meeting had many valid points, including the lack of a burial point to visit and the words of several different eye witnesses in the New Testament, but the part that really drove it home for me was the consideration of what we would rather believe in ... that Jesus was the true Son of God, or that He was a fraud? Belief in Him, and following in His ways, leads to a better and more fulfilling lifestyle. Lack of belief leaves a void. And I would certainly rather be a believer now and find out I was wrong, than be a nonbeliever now and find out that was wrong!

So how does someone come to have true faith? Bible reading is great, but faith is not something you can learn from a book alone. I used to lead a Bible study group, but it always seemed many in the group wanted simple answers rather than to be inspired to think on their own. I tried to teach them to fish, rather than simply giving them a fish, but many wanted to just take their fish and run. Too many people attend church with the same goal -- get the quick cure and get back to life. But faith is not something that can be taught by instruction alone, and it's not something that comes easily. It is a belief that you have to feel inside your heart, not in your head, and something not everyone at every stage of life is open to finding. It is a very introspective aspect that can take years -- if ever -- to find. While the words "born again" have certainly taken on different meanings over the years, with some religions actually condemning persons who they don't perceive as their own version of "born again," there is a definitely a threshold crossed as you acknowledge the reception of that belief in a higher power.

That is something I hope the poster of the photo will find someday. At the same time, I don't condemn my friend for posting that, nor would I end that friendship for that difference of opinion. I hope he respects my point of view as I respect his.

And as for whether the photo caption writer really had God with her during her kitchen activities is open to question, but if she feels moved to give thanks and praise for having just the amount of milk, hallelujah to her. It is right to give Him thanks and praise, and if you find that movement in the kitchen then good for you! For myself, I'm more inclined to think God was with us the winter night my daughter spun our car in circles heading down an icy hill only to have us somehow stop on the side of the road mid-hill unscathed. Or the time I rolled a car over and skidded down the roadway upside down, crawled out, and had the paramedics around me in disbelief that I survived the crash uninjured. Or the time I aided a collapsed medical emergency victim with a paramedic giving me instructions from behind me, only to find out later nobody else saw that person.

But if God is with you in the kitchen, feel free to sing those praises as well!      

Monday, June 6, 2016


2016 City of Sherrill Summer Concert Series
Sponsored by the Gorman Foundation

The 2016 concert series brings a wide variety of regional entertainment to the Silver City, kicking off on Tuesday, June 28 and running through Tuesday, August 30. The free concerts begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Reilly-Mumford Memorial Park gazebo. Be sure to bring lawn chairs and blankets and an umbrella in the case of light rain. Come out and enjoy the beautiful summer evenings with your neighbors.

June 28 Fritz’s Polka Band
Verona’s polka princes return to the Sherrill stage for a night of their upbeat and fun music, featuring modern polkas, a little bit of country, and even some oldies rock ‘n’ roll.

July 5 Party Nuts
It’s always a party when the Party Nuts come to town, with a family-fun evening of golden oldie rock ‘n’ roll sing-alongs that encourage plenty of audience participation.

July 12 Free Ice Cream Night with Dan Elliott and the Monterays
The number one oldies group and longest running band in Central New York brings to the Sherrill stage all the favorites from the 1950s to the 1980s. Plus there’s a special bonus treat … free ice cream for all kids and kids at heart.

July 19 Classified
The premiere dance band in the Central New York area makes their own premiere on the Sherrill stage. Classified combines hot brass with infectious grooves to create cool sounds sure to get the audience on their feet and moving along with the music.

July 26 Coston
The Oneida-based father-son team of virtuoso guitarist Roy Coston and 18-year-old prodigy drummer Gunnar Coston lead this classic rock band in high-energy renditions of rockers from Poison, Ratt, Ozzy Osbourne, and some originals, too.

Aug 2 Southern Grace
It’s a night of electric female vocals-driven modern country when Southern Grace makes their very first appearance on the Reilly-Mumford Memorial Park stage.

Aug 9 Causeway Giants
This Syracuse-based Celtic rock band has a flare for the sounds of the Irish, putting new spins on traditional music, adding in some originals and covering bands like Flogging Molly, The Dropkick Murphies, and The Young Dubliners.

Aug 16 Grupo Pagan
Diverse backgrounds create a high energy blend of sounds guaranteed to grab the ear, featuring their own originals plus covers by the likes of Santana, Sade, and Shakira.

Aug 23 The Billionaires
This Central New York favorite party band will get the crowd up on their feet and dancing for the duration. But don't get too tired from shaking your groove thing ... there is a movie in the park afterwards, sponsored by the City of Sherrill!

Aug 30 Chief Big Way
Taking a break from his world tour with Anthrax, Joey Belladonna teams with musicians extraordinaire Joe Precourt and Dave Mickelson in a power trio playing the best classic rock, featuring the classics of Journey, Pink Floyd, Bad Company, and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Thursday, March 31, 2016


Some of my favorite memories are set to the music of the Babys, and hearing those classic tunes of the late 1970s and early 1980s even now always takes me right back to those great times. I bought their third album "Head First" on one of my first dates with my first love, and now it serves as a soundtrack to happy reminiscences. On the other hand, their later hit single "Turn and Walk Away" could have been written just for me, as I was listening to it right in the midst of one of my (many) not-quite-so-well-thought-out romantic disasters. The band might have broken up back in 1981, but their five studio albums, a greatest hits compilation, and a few bootlegs haven't left my record/tape/CD players since then.

Imagine my surprise when, some 30-plus years later, I read that the reformed group of original members Wally Stocker and Tony Brock, plus new Babys cohorts John Bisaha, Joey Sykes, Eric Ragno, and Babettes Holly Bisaha and Elisa Chadborne, were coming to town for a June 26, 2015 concert at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, NY. I immediately started scheming to find a way to be involved in this reunion -- to give a little something back for the more than three decades of pleasure -- and I figured a good place to start would be writing a story to promote the show for the paper.

I sent the band a message through their website, leaving my name and phone number but not really having too high expectations at first. Surprisingly, the very next day I had a message on my machine from their new singer John Bisaha himself calling from California to leave his own cell phone number. Now, I've written many stories on famous bands since I started working for the Oneida Dispatch newspaper in 1983, but this was definitely the quickest response I'd ever gotten, and I don't know if the lead singer has ever been the one to return the message. Usually there is a whole bunch of red tape and hoops to hurdle through ... but not this time. I called him back, and we chatted about the new version of the band and shared our own personal remembrances as fans ourselves during their heyday. I got a great interview, and ended up with enough material for stories in both the Oneida Dispatch and the Mid-York Weekly papers.

Perhaps because the interview process went so well and we seemed to hit it off, I was motivated to really push my luck even further. For the last decade or more I had often worked with local Oneida radio station MIX 106.3 promoting my own band Coston, our local Sherrill Summer Concert Series, and other activities, and I figured it would be nice to give them a little payback for their hospitality. I asked John if he might consider coming to Oneida before their Turning Stone show for a live on the air interview. He said it would be no problem. That really blew me away, although I tried to keep my professional edge and not sound too surprised. Of course, I really didn't have the authority to ask anyone to come to the radio station for a live interview, but I figured the powers-that-be would never turn down the chance to have a world famous band they regularly play on the air in the studio. Especially when it wouldn't cost them anything and I was taking care of all the arrangements. John said he would check to see how many bandmates he could convince to come to the radio station, and I contacted the station's program director to tell him the good news.

I was absolutely stunned by his reaction.

Here I wanted to share my good fortune with them and bring them into the fun, likely even making some excitement for the station as well. The program director responded that he was working his other job that day and wouldn't be there, asking if the Babys might be able to come some other day? I thought I heard wrong, so I explained it was the Babys themselves -- famed for classic songs like "Every Time I Think of You," "Isn't It Time," and "Midnight Rendezvous" -- coming in for a concert on their tour from their California home base. There would not be a different day they would be available. He still said that date was impossible, so I called John back with my incredulous bad news.

But his response brought me back from that deflation ... John graciously offered to do whatever he had to do to make the interview happen. At that point, of course, another date was really out of the question as they were traveling from state to state on the tour. I wasn't about to ask them to come back to Central New York for a radio interview. Luckily, I told MIX 106.3 radio show personality Todd Emanuelli of my plight, and he pulled the strings at the station needed to make the show happen. We scheduled it for the noon interview the day of their Turning Stone show.

The show was on a Friday, and Wednesday evening I got another call from John saying the band was in dire need of a banner with their logo on it for the drum riser. This turned out to only be a minor challenge since I had the cell number of my buddy Duane DeFrees at Oneida Printshop. I called him at home, and he ended up going back to his shop to design that banner using a logo John emailed him. The expected arrival time back from the banner maker was shortly after noon on Friday -- plenty of time to get it to the show!

The big day finally arrived, and I was equal parts excited and nervous. It turned out the entire band was coming to town on their tour bus, so I told them to park in the plaza next to the radio station so they would have the space for their massive transit. As I waited for the bus, my high school pal Lisa McClenthan stopped by to see what I was up to just standing around the parking lot. I told her I was waiting for the Babys, and she quickly joined the fun and snapped numerous photos of their arrival and our first meeting.

Then, the bus was finally visible coming up the street. But we watched as it drove right past the entrance to the plaza. I couldn't imagine what that 50-foot tour bus was going to do now on the busiest street in Oneida, but suddenly the driver stopped and backed in the driveway alongside the radio station. I wouldn't have tried that maneuver in my little Ford Focus. Once my jaw was off the ground, I composed myself enough to quickly head over there to greet the band.

Introductions were made all around, and we continued into the radio station for more with their crew before settling in for the noon interview. Sadly, one of the acoustic guitars I borrowed for the band wasn't really up to their professional standards ... it hadn't really occurred to me beforehand that a world-traveling band might expect instrumentation a little higher quality than what I had. My bad. But once again John impressed me by not blaming the guitar but blaming the early morning hour for their shortened live on the air musical performance. That was some kind of class!

Check out my video of the Babys and Todd chatting here:

Babys live on MIX 106.3

They joked with Todd and played an acoustic version of "Head First." Afterwards they got on the bus and headed back to the venue for the final sound checks, and I left for the printshop to pick up the banner. It was finished on time and delivered without a hitch, and I even got to watch a bit of the sound check to see how the pros do it.

The concert that night was incredible. I shared the experience with my old college friends George and Sue Riley -- George was the lead singer in our St. Bonaventure University band back in the 1980s -- while current Coston guitarist Roy Coston and his wife Deb were there as well for a true then-and-now moment. And wasn't that really what this show was all about?

The Babys members and I still keep in touch via Facebook, and our meeting has paid dividends by introducing me to Joey's solo material which is great stuff in itself. Unfortunately, the radio station has been sold, so it doesn't look like we will ever have a repeat engagement, but this day will live on forever in my memory as a great time with some great folks. The Babys still rock, and it was my pleasure to do my part in spreading the word of their reunion!