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David Letterman used to do a regular bit on his old NBC show called “Brushes with Greatness” during which members of the audience would stand up and tell their story about seeing or meeting a famous person. Usually the stories were funny because the audience member didn’t actually meet or interact with the person at all . . . I remember one guy telling the story of seeing Richard Gere in the automat, for instance. Dave would heckle the story-teller and everyone had a great time.

I’m still watching Letterman regularly and no, I didn’t get to attend a taping in NYC, much to my disappointment. I really wanted to because I was lucky enough to attend tapings of both Merv Griffin’s show from the Hollywood Palace and The Tonight Show starring Johnny, Ed, Doc, and the band. So I really wanted to be able to say that I also saw Dave live. Alas, I was not able to get tickets in advance.

So on Monday evening, our second night in NYC, we had a banquet attended by all members of the band and the folks traveling with them. It was at Carmine’s on West 44th. So we just walked there en mass.

We were about half-way through dinner when one of the kids seated at our table said, “Oh, you didn’t see that guy out in Times Square passing out Letterman tickets? We walked right by him on the way here.”

I froze. I never saw the guy, never heard him trying to lure tourists into the theater for the 5:30 p.m. taping. Had I seen the guy, I would have said, “Dinner? Fuhgetaboutit. I can eat any time.” I would have been in that theater with Dave, Paul, etc. (Sigh) Oh, well . . . I’ll have to see Dave during my next trip.

The week went by in a flash. Our performance at Carnegie Hall was outstanding . . . I’ve never seen our director with as big a smile on his face as he had at the end of that performance. We really made him proud which was important to all of us. We made ourselves proud, too, which was almost as important, considering that for most of us it was, in all likelihood, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

I got back home on Saturday night and spent Sunday trying to recoup. Then it was back to work on Monday, resumption of the routine.

You all know that I am obsessed with The Sopranos, right? The final nine episodes began airing on April 8. There are only two episodes left, but even though I just typed those words I refuse to believe them . . .

Anyway, in New York, I stayed at the Sheraton Towers at 53rd Street and 7th Avenue. Radio City Music Hall is at 1260 Avenue of the Americas. The two buildings are not far apart. We went by Radio City Music Hall several times. We checked out the marquee. There was no mention of The Sopranos.

So on Sunday, April 8, after we came home following a lovely Easter dinner at my sister’s house, I watched the first episode of The Sopranos, and then was reading a couple of articles on the ‘Net about it. I happened upon a photo, under which was this caption:

“In this photo released by Home Box Office, three of “The Sopranos” stars Robert Iler, left, Jamie-Lynn Sigler and James Gandolfini, stop for a photo during a premiere of two new episodes of the HBO series at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall, Tuesday, March 27, 2007.”

MARCH 27? MARCH 27TH? Are you KIDDING me? I couldn’t believe what I was reading. (O.k., that’s not exactly what I said, but it’s close enough for our purposes here.)

On March 27, I was at the Sheraton Towers while the entire cast of The Sopranos — including Gandolfini — was assembling just three short blocks and one long block away? Oh, man . . . I was sick to my stomach. I could have been one of the throng outside Radio City Music Hall snapping photos of all of them as they walked the red carpet. I could have posted those photos here.

I could have had a major brush with greatness. Instead, it was my own near-brush with greatness.

I wasn’t exactly having a bad time, mind you. I enjoyed a leisurely meal at Ruby Foo’s Times Square and then saw Mary Poppins which was fabulous! And I’ve met my share of famous people over the years, but we’re talking here about the cast of The Sopranos. It’s only the best show ever in the history of television.

At water aerobics a couple of days later, people were talking about The Sopranos. So I told my tale of woe about my near-miss with the greatness of Gandolfini, et. al. And one of my fellow students pipes up with this announcement: “Oh, I met all those people once at Harrah’s Tahoe. Yeah, my husband and I used to gamble a lot so we got a lot of perks. A couple of times they invited us to Sopranos weekends, so we met them all and had our pictures taken with them. I didn’t even know who any of them were since I’ve never watched the show.”

Hey, let me open that wound a little further so you can pour the salt straight into it, ok?

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