February 22nd is Rona Elliot's birthday. She's the one in the red dress next to John Mellenkamp - I'm the one on the right in the weird shirt. The woman in the middle is Kathy Schenker, a wonderful person who was then his publicist. We were in Bloomington Indiana, at Mellenkamp's house (honest!) to interview him about his new album (I think they were still albums then.)
This kind of adventure is what Rona has brought into my life, along with a deep abiding friendship and a sense of respect for her that I feel for few others. She is courageous, funny, smart, cool, great, did I say smart?, and the best production partner I ever had. We both worked for the TODAY SHOW. In 1988 I was told I wasn't assigned to cover the New Hampshire primary and was really - really - upset. Rona laughed - "I have something so much better for you", she said. And she did.
We went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in Manhattan. Bruce Springsteen inducted Bob Dylan, Elton John inducted the Drifters. Also honored and present, the three surviving Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys and more. AND they all sang together. AND we stayed up all night and cut a piece about it for the show. A good one. I don't think I have had many experiences that were that thrilling - professionally or as an audience member. But what's really important about it is that that sort of joyous event -- and the desire to share it -- is part of the package that is Rona.
A friend for all seasons, she never forgets or loses someone she loves -- and believe me when she's in your life you're glad she's there. Not just for Rock and Roll shows (although we've shared many amazing times) but also for giving my kids "I Love Heavy Metal" shirts to "scare your mom" and volunteering at an orphanage and being a spectacular mother and wife and always open to new ideas and experiences every moment she's alive. I'm so so grateful to share the brief times in our life that are still available in our coast-to-coast lives. That night we saw Bruce Springsteen induct Bob Dylan into the Hall of Fame, he ended by saying - "and to quote one of your songs, 'You was the brother that I never had.'" Well I have two wonderful sisters but Rona - you're the other amazing -- as you call it -- sistah -- that I'm glad I have. Happy Birthday.