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Permalink Posted by Patti Caparella Nagel on , attached to 2003-01-02
Phish.Net contributor(Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion...)

My husband and I left Harrisburg by train for NYC December 30, with high hopes of scoring tickets for MSG on New Year's Eve. We wandered around the Garden for hours hoping for a "miracle on 34th Street", but it was not to be. During the first set, I remember gazing up at the higher levels of the Garden thick with steam, the windows dripping with condensation. I was certain the energy circulating in that building was going to blow through the roof. Fans standing at the middle level waved down to us as we circled the Garden with envy, wishing ourselves inside. So close. We had made it so far but not far enough. We reveled in the fact that we had tickets to all three nights of Hampton, and focused on the days ahead.
After hearing of a terrorist threat on New York Harbor New Year's Eve and not being able to shake the feeling of having to watch our backs, we left on the first train out of New York in the early morning hours of New Year's Day and headed back to Harrisburg for a day with my parents. The morning of January 2, 2003 we packed our new car - a 1992 Buick LeSabre just given to us by my parents - and headed to Hampton, VA, full of gear, lots of love, and pounds of my Mom's incredible penne and meatballs.
Five hours later we arrived at the Arrow Inn in Hampton with a "Welcome Phish Fans" sign on the motel marquee. The adventure ensued.
After not seeing the boys in more than two years, the first night blew away my illusory imaginings of what it would be like to finally get "back on the train." Indeed, it stoked our fire for Phish and we finally understood why the Mothership is their favorite room to play. The "Chalk Dust" opener would later prove to be an omen for us.
The following day we cruised to Virginia Beach and enjoyed the humid, salty air and the somber, gray sky that always dominates East Coast winters. Brian and I strolled along the beach and I encountered a mound of foam the Atlantic had spewed forth. And as always, observing cues that the universe provides me, I said to Brian, "We're gonna hear `Foam' tonight."
Remember, how I said "Chalk Dust" was an omen for us? Well, after a search with the Colorado DMV in which we supplied a fifty item-long list of seven character Phishy names that could be used as a personalized plate, we finally discovered that "CHLKDST" was available. And after "Reba"'s christening as our new Phish Tour-mobile, "Contact" took on a completely new meaning for us.
Score: 1

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