March 29, 2021

#2 The Day The Music Returned

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Let's head "across the pond" as Chris shares with us THE DAY THE MUSIC RETURNED - an incredible story of how Eugenio Ampudia, a Barcelonian conceptual artist, helped the music to return to the history-rich Gran Teatre del Liceu Opera House in 2020 for a very special audience with a even more special purpose. Chris shares how music has helped shape his life and how music can bring back amazing memories with one spark - Girl, you know it's true! Oh, and you don't want to miss Chris singing opera.

THE GOOD ALL AROUND US podcast is a celebration of uplifting stories and events from around the world.

Each week, hosts Deanna and Chris Ley will alternate telling stories of good things that have happened to real people all across the globe.

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It's time to HAPPY UP YOUR LIFE!

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Hey, neighbors! It's Chris. Today I am going to share with you a story I like to call The Day The Music Returned. Welcome to THE GOOD ALL AROUND US! (uplifting Intro music) Hi, Chris. Hi, Deanna. Episode #2! You are our storyteller today. I am. I'm beside myself. I can tell how excited you are. I know! I can't wait! So it's gorgeous here today, everyone. The sun is shining. The birds are chirping. The dogs are loving the open door policy where they get to run in and out with no screen to get in their way. No bugs yet. No bugs yet. Somebody knock on some wood. We don't want to knock on anything. It's loud in the microphone. It's false spring here in St. Louis. And for those of you who don't know what false spring is... We could have a gorgeous day today - like lights out unbelievable. Like it is. And then tomorrow, it could be complete garbage. That's right. We could have rain. We could have snow. We could have wind blowing. Tornadoes... You just never know. And our meteorologists are going crazy this time of year because they have no idea what's going to happen next. That's right. And we just wait for it. Wait for it! ...Wait for it! So, what is that saying? What do they say about the weather here? I forget. If you don't like it, wait 15 minutes. It'll change. That's it. Well, I don't want it to change because it's beautiful. It's unbelievable. Well, enough about the weather. Welcome! Welcome! Welcome! to THE GOOD ALL AROUND US podcast. I'm Deanna Ley. And I'm Chris Ley, and we're ready to HAPPY UP YOUR LIFE! Well, first we have to talk about one thing. What's that? Your outfit. Are you picking on me? That would be mean. I don't know if I'm picking on you as much as I'm just making our Neighbors aware of what you're wearing. Okay. So everybody he has on - and he's very attractive, mind you. My husband is super cute. (She is biased.) ...but he is wearing his robe to record. I love my robe. I thought you were talking about the flip flops and short combo thing I got going on. You're talking about the robe? I'm talking about the robe! First of all, how old is it? 30. 30 years old. And how many times have you watched it in those 30 years? It's my lucky robe. You don't wash your lucky robe. I don't know. I really don't know the answer to that. I'm sure it's been washed at some point. I'm sure it hasn't, but I'm going to take a picture of him and his robe and his headphones looking super cute. (Apparently.) I'm going to post it to the private Facebook group. (Apparently.) Listen, it's comfortable and I'm in my home. I'm the king of this sort of castle. You wear what you want. Exactly. I wear what I want. Okay, moving on. Yes. Let's get off the topic of my robe. But you look so cute in it. Hey, guys as Chris alluded to we are recording this out of our sort of castle - out of our home - and as you know, we have lots of animals. We have dogs and cats and you will probably will hear them. Either Sandy will be barking, and CoCo will be whining, and Roo and KiKi will be getting in a cat fight, and Blue will be crunching on some food because that's all he does. (eat, sleep, eat, sleep) And we do apologize if any of that noise happens. But this is our zoo, and we love it, and we love them. Second, we are storytellers. As you know, the stories we share each week we research thoroughly. We do this using the internet and numerous sources (Interwebs! You almost got away with that!) Sorry interwebs. We do bring you the best details in the most correct way possible each and every time. So we take that research, we compile them into stories and then we tell them in our own words and share them with each other and all of you. And today, my cute husband in his robe is the host, and I will be hearing his story for the first time ever just like you. Now, again, if some things in the story are omitted or incorrect or some details in the background aren't exactly right, we are doing a lot of this off the cuff. And so if it's wrong, we do apologize. Again, we do our best to be as precise as possible. Please don't email us or give us a bad review for being human. We do our best to bring you the finest stories from around the globe. (around the globe!) So with all that being said ...Let's do this! It's time to HAPPY UP YOUR LIFE! Take it away, Chris Ley! All right, Neighbors. Today I'm sharing a story I like to call The Day The Music Returned. So, as you already know, Deanna, and now these fine Neighbors will know... I love music. It's your life. All kinds. And I'm always singing. I'm always playing something, and I have a huge library. I do have a huge library of music. I mean, it's everything... Very eclectic I like to think of myself as. Yeah, you've taught our kids to have a good variety of music likes as well, which I appreciate. You look on my playlist, and you're going to find the Ramones all the way to Mozart and LL Cool J (the best rapper of all time, thank you.) Uhhh... Air Supply. I'm not ashamed. I'm not ashamed. Are you "All Out of Love"? Well, not with you! Awwww... Sappy. Anyway, all the eras, all the types... I mean, I absolutely love it all. And I get that love of music from my parents who were just like that as well when I was coming up. Every day they were playing albums. And for those of you who are listening, albums are these big, flat, black things that they would put on a record player. (laughing) I mean, they would play just all kinds of stuff. And it was all over the place and always music in the car and everything that we did, and that's really where I got my love of music was from Mom and Dad. Mom was a singer. She had a great, great voice. Dad played guitar, had a nice Fender Telecaster, not a Stratocaster. Oh, no, he had a Telecaster. It's sweet. Still has it, too. That's awesome. And it was one of those things where music was just such a great, big part of my life. And I came to appreciate it all because of them. And I thank you, Mom and Dad. It was awesome. Thank you. Do you know what I love most about your musical inclination? What's that? You keep me entertained on road trips. That I do... or at least I try to. We have the best road trips with Chris singing to me, and we listen to countdowns. We play name that tune... because pretty much every song that has ever been recorded Chris knows within one or two notes. Maybe not every song, but he is a genius when it comes to music. It's both a blessing and a curse. Well, some of my greatest memories can be sparked when I hear a song, and it just takes me back in time. I mean, I'm sure that happens for you, too. We've never really even talked about that. Does that happen for you, too? So I think about singing in the bus. When I was a cheerleader, we'd sing Bon Jovi at the top of our lungs on the way to an away game. Oh, my gosh. Milli Vanilli got me through Europe when I was in high school I did 15 countries in 7 days. And the Milli Vanilli in my Walkman ...and don't any of you go off on Milli Vanilli. They were awesome. Girl... you know it's true. (laughing) I knew you were going to say that so I had to. And then more recently, when we lived out in Colorado, remember when you were driving us girls around? We were in the Expedition. The I don't know how many of us that were in there. Six or seven or eight. And we were blasting "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" Yes. Screaming it at the top of our lungs. And you were just there driving us around. I think you were singing with us, but it was so much fun. One of many benefits of having your own designated driver built in, right? But, yeah, I mean, that's the kind of stuff that music does for me, too. It just reminds me of times immediately when I hear. So whenever I hear "When I Fall in Love", I'm taken back to our wedding day and our first dance together as a married couple. It was so much fun. And the evening where I walked around and talked to everyone, and you spent the entire time on the dance floor. That's right. As much as you love music, I love dancing. Yeah, that was a lot of fun, but I did want to share one before I get into the full story just to really kind of drive home what it means to me from Mom and Dad and music. Is that cool? Please! So one always reminds me of my youth and, of course, Mom and Dad is the song "Celebration" by Kool & the Gang. (singing) Celebrate good times... Come on! Let's celebrate. That one -Yep! Well, I know everybody's heard it. I mean, I wouldn't consider it on my Top 10, but it's definitely a great song, and it definitely pumps you up. However, it really does have a special memory for me. In St. Louis, it was used for the St. Louis Cardinal's victory song all of 1982 as they went on to win the World Series. Okay, right. I was nine. I was fifteen. Mom and Dad were huge Cardinals fans, as you know. And that year, my dad decided to hold a birthday party for my mom, and it was like an all night long type celebration. And literally all night long, I remember them playing that song over and over and over and over again. And every time it would come on, people would get super into it, and they'd start dancing around and screaming and yelling because it was like the song of the year here in St. Louis. I can imagine. And when I hear it, I mean, it almost feels like it was yesterday. Like I'm thrust back into that party, seeing Mom and Dad, all the Cardinals fans, all the fun that they had. I mean, it just really brings it back for me. It's one of my favorite memories with music attached to it. I absolutely love that. That song is one for sure you can't hear without feeling good, feeling happy, dancing a couple moves. Pumps you up. Oh, that's super sweet. Yeah. So I do want to start the story a little bit here, but I want you to imagine something. Do you have your imagination hat on, Deanna? Let me put it on. I think it's in your robe. Can you hand it to me? Oh, I thought I had it here in a pocket. My imagination hat is on. Perfect. Perfect. Imagine if you will you're a professional musician, and then, boom, the pandemic hits. All of a sudden, you can't perform live for people. You can't jam with other artists in the same room. Literally overnight you can't do the thing that you love so incredibly much. How would that feel? I mean, what you were put on this Earth to do, taken away from you overnight to no fault of your own... just heartbreaking. And I think of all of them. I think of people that - no matter what during the pandemic - that happened to. Well, our story today actually takes us across the pond as we say, "We're going over the pond.". I think the British people say that more than everybody else. I don't say that. Never. Okay. Anyway, we're going over the pond to Barcelona, Spain. Are you ready for a flight? I am. A nice long flight. Sure. I've never been to Spain. So if we went straight across, like, as the crow flies, we'd be going 4,636 miles from St. Louis to Barcelona. Okay. Can we talk about this whole crow flies thing? Yeah. Why do people use that as a reference? Because crows fly in a straight line. But humans... don't. So it's a silly reference to compare us to crows, because obviously the crows... straight line. Humans? We have to get in our car. We have to drive to the airport. From the airport we have to hop on a flight. From the flight, chances are there's going to be like a layover somewhere. So we have to go from point A to point B to point C to point D (Okay) before we finally... (Alright) Do you see what I'm saying? Yeah. You're kind of spiraling. It's just a phrase to show distance between one point and another. That's all. I mean... I get it. Moving on. This has been "When Deanna Goes Down the Rabbit Hole". It just doesn't make sense. All right. Okay. We'll let you say it. Okay. So as the crow flies, it's 4,636 miles from here. Okay. (St. Louis) Yeah, well, not here. Okay. Do you want to go that precise? Okay, so I looked up some flights. Check this out. We could fly economy class from St. Louis to Barcelona for $955 round trip per person. Okay, not bad. Not too bad. So that takes us from St. Louis to Miami and then Miami to Barcelona. Sounds great. Okay, but, you know, I said to myself, let's splurge. Yeah, what's first class look like? Okay. Yeah. Tell me about that. You're going to get a kick out of this. So the first class flight, interestingly enough, goes from St. Louis to Newark and in Newark we board a luxury airliner, and we get our own little private pods Oh, I've seen those. Yes, with all the goodies. And here's the funny thing - on the website it's like it has a WiFi and power ports. And I'm like, that's not the selling feature for the pods. Talk about the bed and the big screen TV. Okay. Anyway, we go from Newark to Zurich, and then we jump from Zurich to Barcelona. So there's two stops there. I think there's a little difference in the price. Listen to this. For that flight, it is $7,182 per person round trip. Oh.My.Goodness... just a smidge of a difference for a pod. But, I mean, here's my thing, sleep is worth something. So if I can lay down, it might be worth the extra six grand. You could probably buy a house in Barcelona for the amount of money you would spend on that airfare. I could plan a really good trip for us for fourteen grand. We wouldn't have to stay in hostels. I say we go economy and save the money and really take a good tour around the area. I agree, but I thought that was interesting. So the economy flight is like 19 hours over there, but the first class fight is 17 hours. So it's not that big of a difference between the two. So it's not like it's getting you that much faster, but obviously a lot more luxurious. And my thing is, if you have that kind of money, just go for it. Just go for it. Why not? So we jump on the plane. (Let's do it.) And we head on over and we land in Barcelona and we're going to the historic Gran Teatre Del Liceu Opera House. It sounds fascinating. It is fascinating. So this is actually the location where our story takes place today. Okay. And this absolutely gorgeous opera house. It was inaugurated and opened in April of 1847. And when it opened, it was the largest opera house in Europe with 3,500 seats and all the masters of that era perform there on the regular. I mean, it had to be an incredible experience. I can only imagine getting all dressed up, having a ticket to the opera for the night. I wonder if it was for the elite of the time as opposed to like us. We can just go to the Fox (Sure) if we want. (Hold it - we're not the elite?) but I bet back then (We're far from the elite. There we go.) I bet those people would have taken the pod plane to get to the opera house. They had that kind of money. I would imagine that it was probably for the upper class. And if you were in the lower classes of that time, it was like a dream to be in there. And I'm sure it would change your life if you had that opportunity, so it's pretty incredible. It's got a great history. I want to share a little bit with you. There's been a lot of ups and downs for this absolutely beautiful opera house. The first was a major fire that happened in April of 1861. It had a massive fire. They did rebuild it, and they actually reopened it in April of 1862 - 1 year later - but only the facade, the entrance hall and the foyer, which is also called the Mirrors Hall, remained. So everything else was redone, absolutely redone. So, pretty impressive to get it done in a year. Right. So then in 1893 on the opening night of the season, Rossini's Guillaume Tell - What you may know as "William Tell", right - was to be performed. So it's the opera that we get the William Tell Overture from. I'm sure you've heard the William Tell Overture. That might be something we have to put in the Facebook community. Well, it actually has four sections, The William Tell Overture does, that weave throughout the entire opera. But the finale, which is also known as the March of the Swiss Soldiers. It's the one that is used for The Lone Ranger theme. Okay. Okay. That overture, it's been used in all kinds of productions. Disney productions, Warner Brothers, Hanna Barbera for various cartoons. It's been on TV commercials for Reebok, Honda, Gino's Pizza Rolls. That's right. And it had some hip hop versions of it done. Yeah, it's really interesting. Sounds fancy! It doesn't come to mind very easily, but I'm sure if I hear it, it's one of those things, like, ahhhh... gotcha. Well, it's been done, it's been used in movies like A Clockwork Orange, The Princess Diaries, and like I said, probably the most famous was the usage of it as the opening theme for The Loan Ranger. Okay. It's the one that goes... (singing The Lone Ranger song) Okay, I got it now. Okay. Got it. So again, just a really cool song. But that was playing that night. So I digress a little bit. That evening in 1893 during the Second Act, two Orsini bombs - so think of Orsini bombs as homemade large hand grenades - were thrown into the stalls of the opera house by dissidents. Oh my gosh! One of the two bombs actually exploded, but it did kill like twenty some odd people and many more were injured. And this really shocked Barcelona because nobody expected a bombing to occur during the opening season. Oddly enough, the second bomb, which didn't explode, is on display in the Van Gogh Museum. Okay, so they kept it. So the (History) Yeah. History. Exactly. So the Liceu, after that bombing, didn't reopen until January of 1894. So it took a little while for them to get that all tightened up. I can imagine. In 1909, the auditorium ornamentation was completely renewed due to the fact that Spain sat out World War I and they had this incredible prosperity and wealth supplying the countries that were involved in the war and all the way through the 1920s, much like here in the United States, Spain had some very prosperous years. The Liceu became the established - well, I guess it didn't became - It was established as the leading opera house throughout all of Europe. And in 1931, the Second Spanish Republic was proclaimed threw the country into civil unrest and financial crisis actually led to the Spanish Civil War, and during that time, the opera was suspended because obviously they're in civil war. What a story about just one place, and gosh, if walls could talk! No kidding. But I'm going to fast forward a little bit. I'm going to fast forward to 1994. In 1994, it suffered a devastating fire when a spark from a practice performance, not an actual performance, landed on one of the curtains and completely destroyed the Grand Hall. Again, however, the people wouldn't let the history of this in incredible theater cease, so they rallied together and raised public funds to rebuild it and reopened it in 1999. Took quite a few more years because it was completely devastated, and it was restored almost precisely to the original ornamentation that had adorned the theater. How amazing! They got artisans from all over Spain in Europe to come in and really do it up right. I love that! Wow! So since then, it's been widely utilized by all kinds of acts. Primarily, it's been used for opera, ballet... But as I was looking through some of the upcoming acts that are performing there, they have some Broadway plays that are coming through. Wilco is performing there - that giant band in Europe. One of the guys from Supertramp is on tour, and he's going to be going through there. So it's really used for a lot of different venues. They even have this very cool thing called the El Petit Liceu. And it's a children's program that's been going on for the past two decades, just introducing children to opera and ballet and the arts right there at the Liceu. That's amazing! Like here in Forest Park in St. Louis, we have The Muny, and they have Muny Kids... which my husband was a Muny Kid. I was a Muny Kid! Was that where you learned to sing opera, Chris Ley? It is in fact where I did learn to sing opera. So my husband can sing opera. And I would love for you to do that for our Neighbors right now. I'm not really loose. Okay, I'll give it a try. (clearing his throat) Are you ready? (singing very loud in operatic-style) OPERA! There you go, folks. He "sang opera". You're welcome. I'm guessing you won't ever be doing that at the Liceu however. Yeah, no... they're not going to invite me up on stage. You're no Supertramp. Well... Anyway... So incredible history. Just an incredible place, and like I said, widely used until, of course, 2020. Did something happen in 2020? Yeah, well, obviously, the year that changed everything and the doors were shuttered amidst the pandemic concerns and the music simply stopped. Everything in Spain was on lockdown. So again, we go to June 22, 2020. That was the day the music finally returned for a very special first concert since the shutdown. That evening, the Uceli String Quartet took the stage to entertain a rather interesting audience, and the audience was very excited to be entertained, and they sat still in their seats. So this evening was inspired by Eugenio Ampudia. I'm killing it with these names - You really are. I'm very impressed - a concept artist in Barcelona, and Ampudia is known for his work as a painter, sculptor, multimedia artist, and an exhibition curator. He has an extensive career, especially in concept art displays that have been featured worldwide. And he's also been named "The Best Living Spanish Artist" twice. Pretty impressive. Wow. That is impressive. Sounds like a good guy. A very talented guy. You've got to see his stuff. I'll actually put some stuff that he does in the Neighbors group. He wanted to do something very special because he had quite the revelation throughout the lockdown. And here's what he had to say just prior to the event, "During my isolation, I heard many more birds singing, and the plants in my garden and outside growing faster. And without a doubt, I thought that maybe I could now relate in a much more intimate way to people and nature." I love that. Yeah. Pretty cool. And the piece that he requested for the evening was Puccini's "Crisantemi". Chrysanthemum, I bet. Correct - Italian for "Chrysanthemum". I love it. So why this particular piece was chosen is pretty important because of the audience that was in attendance. There, in every seat, was placed a live plant. No people, just plants. 2,292 of them, to be exact. And Eugenio realized that with all of the quiet all around during the lockdown, the plants had responded to the birds singing. Oh! Okay! The music, if you will, and he realized that this concert performed for the plants in attendance would fill them with music, just as the birds' songs did. Oh my gosh. So we've always heard that plants respond to music and they respond to positive affirmations and those kinds of things. I actually did a science fair project, in I believe elementary school (no kidding) about plants and how they respond to music, and then when I was a teacher, I helped kids do that same exact project. It's very true. And I think I got a ribbon for it. Might have been a participation ribbon, but a ribbon nonetheless. But I do know that plants respond to positive affirmations and to music. I know this. So, if they respond to positive affirmation, right? If I go out to the gumball tree in the backyard and just yell at it all day long, will it die? And then I'll have no more gumballs in my yard? I mean, they do respond to negative music and words as well. "You're a lousy tree!" I love the leaves on that tree... but those gumballs... They can go to the bad, bad place. I agree with you. Absolutely. Let's try it. So the evening of the performance, the performers even had a little fun with it. So at the beginning of the performance, they told all the plants to silence their cell phones and to avoid taking pictures during the performance... "Leaf your cell phones in your soil." There you go. Exactly. The event, of course, was live streamed for people to watch. Yeah, people. They could get in on it, too. That's awesome. It was performed right at the time when the three month national state of emergency was lifted for Spain that had completely restricted all movement and assembly. It was timed perfectly for when life started to get a little bit more normal. Pretty cool, huh? And here's something that's cool... At the end of the eight minute concert, Eugeni-o... Eugenee. Ahhhh... I'm butchering it. It's okay. You've been doing so good for so long. He had the sound of leaves and branches blowing in the wind resonating throughout the opera house to replicate or simulate the sound of applause. Isn't that fun? That's so fun. So the artists - the quartet - got a chance, obviously, plants can't clap. Right. But they had a chance to still get the applause from the rustling. That's neat. That's brilliant. But Deanna, it doesn't end there. Okay! Listen to this. After the event, each of the plants were donated to local healthcare workers by Eugenio (there, I got it. Nailed it again.) with a certificate thanking them for being quote - on the toughest front in a battle unprecedented for our generations. End quote. Wow. Wow. How cool is that? I mean to put on the concert for the plants and the people watching, but then to take those plants and donate them to those frontline workers who, again, across the entire world, we couldn't be more grateful for... Awww... That's so heartwarming. Well, I tie it back into memories because now I can imagine these healthcare workers. So not only did they get the plant, but they got certificate commemorating the day and the event. And now they have music tied to a memory tied to the plant tied to a memory. It's all tied together because of Eugenio, the Gran Teatre Del Liceu, the Uceli Quartet, and The Day The Music Returned. So I think of it as inspired by nature, executed by true artists, and honoring those who serve within the pandemic. Truly, The Day The Music Returned. Chris, I love that. I'm glad you liked it. I had so much fun putting it together. I really loved that. Not only did I learn a lot about how much it costs to go to Barcelona - which I'm saving for at this moment. I want a pod - but the dedication... We could get a pod. Hold on. We sell one of your kidneys and, BOOM, we're there. I mean, I have two of them. So, why not? Let's do it! But then this artist puts this concept together, pulls everybody back together in this beautiful place (it's unbelievable) not just to serve himself and to get all of the kudos and recognition, but to actually donate those plants to the frontline workers... That is life changing. Yeah, absolutely. I loved it. I loved putting it together. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I did. Hey, Neighbors (I hope everybody else enjoyed it, too.) I hope you enjoyed it, too, Neighbors, and if you did, you can actually help us out by going to Apple Podcasts and clicking on the Apple Podcast and giving us a five-star rating. You can say whatever you want. You can say, "I absolutely love plants" or "Gumballs are the devil". They are. Say whatever you want. It doesn't really matter, but we would really appreciate a five-star rating on Apple Podcasts. Of course, you can Subscribe to the podcast and you get all the latest episodes as soon as they drop as the cool kids say. You could also become a Neighbor of ours. How do people become a Neighbor, Deanna? It's super simple just go to, and you can come join our awesome community. We'd love that. We would indeed. There are three different levels and a bunch of cool stuff, and a lot of GOODies that come along with the levels. And it's just a great way to be a part of a GOOD community. I like that. All of this stuff is down in the show notes, too, gang so you can just click on the links, and it'll take you right to where you need to be. And with that being said, it's time for Deanna to give us shout outs to our Neighbors. I love that! We have a handful of people who "really like us", so thank you to Taylor Snead, who was our first member in our Neighborhood. Keith and Laura Laurie, Patty Zubal, Stephanie O'Donnell, Marcy Handler, Linda McBee, Cameron McCown, Austin Gray, Nikk and Nicole Asmanov, Lisa Dinga, Misty King, Kirk Faubel, Jeffry Goldstein, John Burns, Lynn Ley, and Elyce Ewing. And then we had some Neighbors "move in". Oh, nice. So we're going to have a barbecue. Sounds good to me. Nice. I'm going to put together a list for food so we don't end up with five tater salads. That's right... Coleslaws, for days. So thank you, Alison Hillman, Misty Huss, and Tanya Wilson for "moving in". That's super awesome! And then we had two Neighbors, Neighbors who are going to come over and ask us to "borrow our mower". Get out of here. Well, that means I got to go out and gas it up and test it out. I don't want to lend a broken mower. No, it's been a long winter. So thank you to Noel Buckingham and Jon Karlen for joining at that level. We'll be right over to borrow some sugar from you. Nice. I like that. Hey gang, that was awesome. Neighbors, you are amazing! We are excited to be bringing this to you every week. Next week, Deanna is up on deck with her new story. I can't wait to hear that. That'll be fun. And until we see you again, remember to HAPPY UP YOUR LIFE. and enjoy THE GOOD ALL AROUND US. Bye, everybody. Have a good GOOD day! (uplifitng Outro music) 2021 TBDB Global Enterprises, LLC