Tony BennettI’m just back from a week of play in one of the most beautiful cities in the world—San Francisco. I went knowing my agency was in good hands, and making sure I had lots of activities planned on the west coast. My niece and several good friends live there, so booking activities wasn’t tough.

Got a good deal on a room at the Fairmont on Nob Hill and flew business class on Amex miles, so I was one happy camper. Another benefit was the fact I was trading 100 degree heat for 60 degrees which sounded just right to me.

So, I flew west, unpacked in my room with a panoramic view of the city and started my meet and greets at various great food joints around the city. I also walked downhill to the newly-renovated MOMA (fabulous) and then slowly back uphill (maybe an 80 degree angle) until my thighs were on fire. But, I loved every minute.

The next day I walked out of the hotel’s front door and literally smack into a crowd of about 1,000. I quickly learned it was Tony Bennett’s 90th birthday. And to seal the deal, the hotel and the city unveiled a bronze statue of the crooner. Tony was at the event along with various high-level politicians and business types and I was up close to all the action.

The hotel is like a mix of the Waldorf-Astoria and The Plaza, with beautiful gardens on the hotel grounds. One day at around 2 pm when the sun was out (it’s usually out only from about 1-3 pm) I was the only one in the garden, deeply involved in one of my Norwegian mystery novels. A man slowly shuffled in front of me so I looked up and there was Tony Bennett. I said, “Mr. Bennett, Happy Birthday. You’re fantastic.”  And he replied “Thanks. Thank you very much.”  And then he walked away. Yes, I had my camera and guess I could have asked for a joint selfie, but thought better of it.

Spending time with friends and family was the highlight of my trip (as well as the Centurion Lounge at the SF airport), but I will always remember my moment alone with Tony Bennett. Just me, Tony and a view of the Bay.

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