Friday, April 29, 2016

Music Friday Flashback: Lynn Anderson Nearly Let 'Rose Garden' Slip Away Because of the Diamond Ring Reference in the Lyrics

It's a little known fact that country music singer Lynn Anderson was nearly dissuaded from recording her signature song, "Rose Garden," in 1970 because of the diamond ring reference in the lyrics.


Although Anderson really liked the tune penned by Joe South, her producer (and husband) Glenn Sutton felt it was a "man's song" because of the following line: "I could promise you things like big diamond rings / But you don't find roses growin' on stalks of clover / So you better think it over."

As luck would have it, Anderson had some extra time left in one of her studio sessions and Sutton finally agreed to record the song with an up-tempo arrangement accompanied by a mandolin player and a full string section. Columbia executive Clive Davis was so impressed with the results that he insisted the song be released as a single for the country and pop markets.

The song not only topped the U.S. Billboard Country chart, but it also reached #3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and became a major pop hit internationally. It went to #1 in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland and Norway. "Rose Garden" is considered one of the most successful country crossover songs of all time.

Anderson told the Associated Press in 1987 that "Rose Garden" was perfectly timed to appeal to the youth of 1970.

"It was popular because it touched on emotions,'' Anderson said. "It was out just as we came out of the Vietnam years and a lot of people were trying to recover. This song stated that you can make something out of nothing. You take it and go ahead."

The song's key line, "I never promised you a rose garden," essentially means "I never told you it was going to be easy."

"Rose Garden" netted Anderson a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance in 1971, while South picked up two Grammy nominations, one for "Best Country Song" and the other for "Song of the Year."

Born in Grand Forks, N.D., Lynn Rene Anderson generated crossover hits throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and continued to tour until her death in July 2015 at the age of 67.

Singer Dolly Parton said at the time, "Lynn is blooming in God's Rose Garden now. We will miss her and remember her fondly."

Check out the video of Anderson performing "Rose Garden" for a German TV show. The video, which features some unusual dance moves by the studio audience, has been viewed more than 1.6 million times. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along. Enjoy!

"Rose Garden"
Written by Joe South. Performed by Lynn Anderson.

I beg your pardon
I never promised you a rose garden
Along with the sunshine
There's gotta be a little rain some time
When you take you gotta give so live and let live
Or let go oh-whoa-whoa-whoa
I beg your pardon
I never promised you a rose garden

I could promise you things like big diamond rings
But you don't find roses growin' on stalks of clover
So you better think it over
Well if sweet-talkin' you could make it come true
I would give you the world right now on a silver platter
But what would it matter
So smile for a while and let's be jolly
Love shouldn't be so melancholy
Come along and share the good times while we can

I beg your pardon
I never promised you a rose garden
Along with the sunshine
There's gotta be a little rain some time

I beg your pardon
I never promised you a rose garden

I could sing you a tune and promise you the moon
But if that's what it takes to hold you
I'd just as soon let you go
But there's one thing I want you to know
You better look before you leap, still waters run deep
And there won't always be someone there to pull you out
And you know what I'm talkin' about
So smile for a while and let's be jolly
Love shouldn't be so melancholy
Come along and share the good times while we can

I beg your pardon
I never promised you a rose garden
Along with the sunshine
There's gotta be a little rain some time,
I beg your pardon
I never promised you a rose garden

Credits: Screen capture via YouTube.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Woman Loses Engagement Ring in Hawaiian Surf; Snorkeler Spots It By Chance Two Days Later

A New Englander's Hawaiian vacation went from glorious to disastrous — and then back to glorious — when a diamond engagement ring lost in the surf and presumed gone forever was miraculously spotted by another snorkeler only two days later.


The hero of our story, Mike "Shay" Smith, said the brilliance of the gemstone made all the difference. While searching underwater for interesting shells, the glint of something unusual caught his eye.

“That was just random luck," Smith told KHON2. "While I was out snorkeling, I just happened to catch a glimpse of a sparkle at the bottom and scooped it up.”


Smith intended to find the rightful owner by posting information about his precious find on Craigslist. While viewing the Lost-and-Found section, he was stunned by a post from vacationer Laura Mitrowski, who was looking for a similar ring.

Only a few days earlier, the Massachusetts resident had relished an afternoon snorkeling in the surf off Lawai Beach, Kauai. But, when she returned to the beach, she knew something didn't feel right...

“We’ve been married 12 years. As soon as I got out of the water my hands felt funny,” Mitrowski told ABC News. “I was sitting down in my chair and I’m like, ‘Oh no, it came off in the water,’ and my husband was still out in the water, and I was waving to him crying hysterically on the beach.”

Mitrowski enjoys the surf and loose rings have never been a problem in the past.

"I’ve been swimming tons of times and my rings have never fallen off," she told ABC News. "The fact we found it is unbelievable.”


Smith replied to Mitrowski's ad and asked her to describe any unusual details about the ring. When she told him that the band was cracked, Smith knew he had the right woman. By the next day, the diamond ring was back on her finger.

“I was like in shock," Mitrowski told KHON2. "I didn’t think anyone was going to find it, because I figured if it was lost in the ocean, it was going to be lost forever. “I couldn’t believe it. I was in disbelief. I was crying.”

Mitrowski offered a $300 reward, which Smith refused, at first, and then accepted.

Credits: Images courtesy of Laura Mitrowski.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Aerial Photographer Employs Drone to Capture His Spectacular Mountaintop Marriage Proposal

A North Carolina-based aerial photographer launched a drone atop Grandfather Mountain to capture a surprise marriage proposal — his own — from a spectacular vantage point high above the peak.


Jordan Nelson, the owner of Boone-based Nelson Aerial Productions, had convinced his girlfriend, Meghan Frye, 24, to hike with him to MacRae Peak, at the altitude of 5,844 feet. Frye had no idea that her boyfriend was planning to propose or that he had brought his equipment to film the exact moment he would pop the question. She was hardly suspicious because he shoots these sensational vistas for a living.


Nelson, 27, chose Grandfather Mountain in scenic Linville, N.C., for his proposal because exactly three years ago this is where the couple hiked on their first date. They also returned on their anniversary one year later.

"We spent a lot of time on top of Grandfather Mountain," Nelson told ABC News. "That’s why I wanted to go back to that spot for the proposal.”

The drone's fabulous footage captures the couple from a bird's eye view as it circles the mountaintop. Nelson explained that the drone has an automatic setting that allows it to circle a specific point, in this case, the couple's exact location.


Nelson also used his smart phone to capture his girlfriend's reaction from an intimate, up-close perspective.

"It's been three years since we hiked in this spot," Nelson says in the lead-up to his proposal, and at this point Frye can hardly believe what is about to happen. She slaps him on the chest playfully and says, "Are you really? No you're not."

"At that point, I was getting pretty nervous,” he told The Today Show. "She thought I was joking with her, that it was a late April Fool’s joke! But when I reached into the bag to get the box that had the ring, she kind of just lost her breath. In the video you can hear her kind of just go really quiet and she just couldn’t breathe for a minute… and then she started crying and everything.”

Then Nelson gets down on one knee and continues his sweet proposal. "I want you to know that I love you," he says. "Will you marry me?"


Overwhelmed with emotion, Frye accepts Nelson's proposal and obliges when he asks her to show the ring.

"I was not expecting this," she says.

Nelson's innovative, high-flying proposal has earned the attention of national and international media powerhouses, such as The Today Show, Good Morning America, Reuters TV and the Daily Mail.


The aerial photographer is right at home filming in the rugged terrain of North Carolina. Just last week, he attended the Manhattan Film Festival for the screening of his work, Aerial Appalachian.

The happy couple is planning to wed in the fall of 2017. The venue will be the Linville Ridge Country Club.

“It’s on the mountain peaks across from Grandfather," Nelson told ABC News. "We want it on top of that mountain with Grandfather in the background.”

You can check out Nelson's breathtaking video here...

The Proposal at MacRae Peak from Nelson Aerials on Vimeo.

Credits: Screen captures via Nelson Aerials.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Mass. Woman Digs Through 5 Tons of Trash to Retrieve Her Precious Diamond Keepsakes

A Massachusetts woman, who accidentally threw away three valuable diamond keepsakes, is breathing a giant sigh of relief after donning protective gear and rooting out her family heirlooms at the bottom of a 5-ton mound of smelly trash.


How the jewelry ended up in the trash is an all-too-familiar scenario. Cecilia Callahan of Norwell, Mass., had been cleaning her best jewelry in preparation for a special dinner with her husband, Joe, to celebrate their 11th wedding anniversary.


She placed her 3.1-carat diamond engagement ring, 1.75-carat diamond pendant and her grandma's diamond ring — a treasure she's worn for more than 40 years — in an ultrasonic cleaner. When the pieces were glistening, she pulled them from the bath, wrapped them in paper towels and set them on the counter to dry.


The next morning, she hurried to clean off the kitchen counter before the trash collector arrived. She tossed the last few items — including the wadded-up, bling-laden paper towels — and ran the bag out to the curb.


Two hours later, she realized what she had done.

"I was having a heart attack," Callahan told Boston's NBC affiliate, WHDH-TV.

With the help of a neighbor, she and her husband contacted Waste Management and learned that the truck had yet to dump its load, so the truck was diverted to the nearby Braintree transfer station where 5 tons of refuse was spread across the floor of one of its bays.


Aided by Waste Management staffers and outfitted in protective gear, the husband-and-wife team waded for two hours through a mountain of garbage bags.

"Yeah, we were really in the trash," Callahan joked.

But then Callahan honed in on a familiar trash bag at the bottom of the pile.

"I pulled it out and it was mine," she said. "I was so excited."


Sanitation worker Joe McCarthy was surprised by the Callahans' success.

"It was like finding the Willy Wonka (Golden) Ticket," he told WHDH-TV. "You'll never find what she found."

Boston's ABC affiliate, WCVB-TV, reported that the Callahans were so impressed by the Waste Management team that they returned to the transfer station a few days later with pizza and calzones for the staff.

"They were so kind," said Cecilia Callahan. "They went above and beyond the call of duty. In this day and age you don't find so many nice people."

Credits: Video screen captures via

Monday, April 25, 2016

15.99-Carat 'Jubilee Ruby' Sets U.S. Record for the Most Expensive Colored Gemstone Ever Sold at Auction

The 15.99-carat "Jubilee Ruby" lived up to its pre-sale hype last Wednesday when it smashed a record for the most expensive colored gemstone ever sold at a U.S. auction. The fiery top lot of Christie's Magnificent Jewels sale in New York fetched an impressive $14.16 million.


Billed as the most important ruby to appear at a U.S. auction in 25 years, the oval-shaped Burmese ruby is framed by round white diamonds in an 18-karat yellow gold and platinum mounting by Verdura.

The ruby was mined in the legendary Mogok Valley of Burma, which is famous for yielding world-class rubies that boast the most desirable pigeon's blood color. The extraordinary, saturated red color is attributed to the high chromium content in the ground. The element also gives the gems of that region a natural fluorescence that makes the stone “come alive” and appear internally illuminated.

“Top quality Burmese rubies of over 15 carats are an absolute rarity in the world of colored gemstones, and the record price of $18.3 million achieved for the 15.04-carat ‘Crimson Red Ruby’ at Christie’s Hong Kong in December 2015 exemplified the voracious appetite of collectors for these gems,” commented Rahul Kadakia, Christie’s International Head of Jewelry.

While the Jubilee Ruby set a new U.S. record, the $14.16 million selling price is barely half the amount achieved by the 25.59-carat Sunrise Ruby, which established a new world record for the highest price ever paid at auction for a ruby when it yielded $30.3 million at Sotheby's Geneva in May of 2015.


The other top lots at Christie’s April 20 sale included a 10.07-carat cushion-cut fancy intense purple-pink diamond ring and a perfect D color, flawless round brilliant-cut diamond weighing 40.43 carats. The purple-pink diamond ring, which carried a pre-sale estimate of $8 million to $12 million, sold for $8.84 million, while the flawless diamond fetched $7.22 million, also on the low-end of the pre-sale estimate of $7 million to $10 million.

Credits: Images courtesy of Christie’s.