Eight years ago, when my father's Parkinson's symptoms overwhelmed his body, but not his spirit, my mother decided she needed care-taking help. For a man who cherished his independence so fiercely, this life change would not come easy. But with same courage it took to run a profitable textile engineering business for 45 years without a high-school diploma, he accepted his reality and his need for Liz.
My mother hired Liz for four days a week shortly after she moved from San Francisco to Atlanta. And each day she came through their front door carrying her supplies and her faith. It didn't take long for my mom to discover Liz was an excellent cook and ask her to prepare many family favorites.
Thousands of screaming girls. Packed nightclubs. Love-crazy fans. Ron Gartner has seen it all.
That is, on television, of course.
In real life, Gartner is an up-and-coming singer who, while not exactly drawing the sorts of crowds that come to Eminem shows, is packing the social halls of senior centers across the nation singing the tunes of Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and other big-band and Motown standards. His fans may be closer in age to Bob Hope than Britney Spears, but Gartner is quickly becoming the newest big thing in the senior-home entertainment circuit.
Originally a denizen of what he calls the shmatte business -- the garment industry -- Gartner, 58, is building a second career by singing big-band favorites in nursing homes, senior centers and gated retirement communities all over the country. Now, on the eve of the release of his first CD, "Someone Like You," Gartner is bringing his show to Southern California for two performances, on April 10 at Leisure World, a gated community in Laguna Woods, and on April 13 at the Indian Ridge Country Club in Palm Desert, where Gartner is playing the Desert Cancer Fund Dinner Dance.
HADASSAH LIEBERMAN'S PAREVE VEGETABLE SOUP