Spring extended its reach into June. Memorial Day had come and gone and road crews were still filling potholes left by the cruel winter. As traffic on the island picked up, cool days and even cooler nights, had merchants and bar owners nervous that an already short season might be even shorter.
Lori and Sara booked Stan’s for a concert to raise money for Jo's medical treatment. Sara and her band would perform, as well as a reconstituted version of the Phantoms. A couple of local comedians agreed to do stand up in between sets and MC. For Jo's ex, Lori, Stan’s place on First Beach, so near to where she and Jo married, made it the ideal venue for this tribute. For Joe it was this, and so many more memories besides. As for Stan, he'd agreed to let them use his club provided they did it before July fourth. After the fourth Stan could pretty much charge whatever he wanted. The place was already well booked with weddings through September.
Stan’s sits just off first beach. It opened its doors in the fifties, a single floor low-slung cocktail lounge, with little more than a green neon sign on its stucco exterior. Out of the way, more of a last refuge than a final destination, Stan's was a "one for the road" sort of place. Nothing like the night spot it would become briefly in the 80's before an inevitable erosion set in.
Rebuilt in the early 2000's with a second floor, and shingled in the ubiquitous Cape Cod style - not modern, or quaint - it became “the” place to go for music. The jazz brunch, the reggae summer splash, even the legendary punk band M-80 played there once, pushing faux early american furniture aside to turn the dining room into a mosh pit. Sara played there often. One summer night a producer out of New York caught her at Stan's and later signed her to a major label deal. Sara's dad, Jo Novo played Stan’s many times, with and without a band, remaining undiscovered.
Sara and Lori arrived early. The two moving from one umbrella'd table to the next to avoid the first hot June sun, placing cardboard placards describing Jo's musical history and his need, now so urgent, for funds for a liver transplant. Jo couldn't hide the shame he felt coming across one of these brightly colored brochures on the kitchen table that morning. Reading it through only convinced him that he truly failed at everything he'd tried. He hoped the fundraiser itself would fail. To him, it would be a fitting end to a life of almost made it.
To ensure a good turnout, Sara and Lori called, emailed, instant messaged and tweeted everyone they knew. Sara used her official Facebook page to tell her father's story. Hoping to inspire her fans as Jo had inspired her with his music when she was a just a young girl. Lori posted neon orange and red fliers all over town, the library, the grocery store, and The Coffee Shop. The posters showed a picture of Jo taken in the early 70’s, in his prime on stage with the Phantoms. The doors were set to open at six, with the show starting at seven and going until midnight. The show was scheduled for the longest day of the year.
Summer was one of the first to arrive, with Nathan in tow. Sara thought it funny that Summer tried so hard to put distance between herself and Nathan, when it was so clear he was crazy about her, and he was the only man left on the planet that she trusted. By now everyone knew what happened between her and Terry Dugan. How she'd dumped him and how he, in his fury, had killed her dog. Apparently, Terry never believed his brother would really turn him in. And, while it took some hunting, Officer Angelo finally apprehended Terry at the old Palmer place in Middletown, taking him out in cuffs. A kid who happened to be going by on his bike took a picture with his cellphone of Terry, arms pulled tight behind his back, unable to hide his handsome sunburnt face, and posted it on his Facebook page. From there it went viral, somehow landing on The Coffee Shop's own web page. Even though it was only up there for a couple of hours at most before Kevin took it down, local news picked it up. And, since Summer and Terry conveniently lived next door to one another, reporters including Margaret, with her yellow pad from the Daily News, waited patiently outside the duplex hoping to talk to one or the other, maybe even catch a heated exchange between the two. Terry was there with no comment. Summer disappeared for a week, staying with her mother in Fall River.
Other familiar faces joined the group. Sara saw Frieda Doorman, the yoga instructor along with, judging by the yoga pants, some of her students. Summer and Nathan were joined by Kevin and Zoe from The Coffee Shop. Their table was already on its second round of drinks. Ted Fournier and his wife Katie were in the crowd, along with Ward Richmond, Will Moody, and their wives. Ward was spending much more time with Will Moody since he'd come in from New York for the summer. He hadn't seen Jerry Burns since the memorial service, and couldn't imagine that crazy Claire Amante would show up for this event. Though she did.
Kiera brought Jasmine up to the stage to say hello to Sara who was sitting at the piano.
"Hi honey, how are you this evening?" Sara said, nodding to Keira.
"I'm fine thank you," Jasmine said, pausing to look at the instruments on stage.
"She wants to ask you something," Keira said.
"Will you play a song for me please?"
“Sure sweetie, what would you like to hear."
“Could you play "When Push Comes to Shove” and dedicate it from me to my dad?”
"Of course, I sure can. I would be glad to." Sara watched as Kiera and Jasmine made their way back to their seats. She waved to Sean, but he who was too busy smiling and staring at his wife and child to see her.
The show was a big success. It seemed to Sara as if the whole island had turned out to honor a local hero. Midway through the evening, Sara's old boyfriend Adam arrived, very much unexpected, from Vermont with guitar in hand and sat in on her second set. And, though he was pretty weak, Jo managed to sing a few numbers for the enthusiastic crowd. Otherwise, he sat with Lori greeting well wishers and reminiscing.
If you missed the previous installment of Success Through Failure click here: