My cousin Sandi celebrates a milestone birthday today—hope you have a great one, cuz!
Even though she’s lived in MA virtually all of her life, we’ve long been friends. Her mother (my mom’s first cousin) grew up in Kentucky and spent her teen years living with my grandparents; Sandi and her brother Jack came with their parents to visit Gran and Papaw a little more than occasionally while I was growing up. I’ve managed to get up to the Boston area several times over the years to see them as well, most recently just one month ago.
In 90, I qualified to go to Boston for a bridge tournament, so I flew up a few days early for a visit. One night Sandi and I went to see the Red Sox play at Fenway, and witnessed the only game in major league history in which two triple plays have been turned. We also went and saw Janis Ian play a coffeehouse in western MA (though that may have occurred when I was there five years earlier?)—I recall it being a really good show.
Music has always been a huge part of Sandi’s life. She’s done some recording (I mentioned her contribution to Respond back in the spring). She sang “Bist du bei mir” beautifully at Martha’s and my wedding. She has been a voice teacher at various points over the years, and a few years ago she helped found a transgender chorus. Sandi has a big heart and focuses a good deal of her energy on lending aid and giving a voice to those who often have trouble being heard. She rocks!
Joni Mitchell was one of the primary influences on my cousin’s music from the very beginning. Sandi recorded “A Case of You” for one of her solo albums, and did a version of “Help Me” not too long ago, when she was part of ESP, a vocal trio. When I spent several days with her family in August of 85, she introduced me to Ladies of the Canyon, a mighty fine album. I bought it for myself about a year later, soon after I moved to Illinois. In honor of Sandi’s special day, here’s the opening track, one of its many excellent songs.