A Warmness Amidst the Cold

Brrrr, it’s been cold here in the Midwest! I live in Iowa, and we have been experiencing an Arctic cold snap since the end of December.

Ironically, as far as this writing is concerned, the cold snap we have been experiencing was named “Frankie.”

Winter storm Frankie was the sixth storm named by the Weather Channel during the winter of 2017-18. It was named on December 27 and brought a wide swath of heavy snow from the Pacific Northwest to the Great Lakes through December 31.

Of course, the name of the storm system was unrelated to the singing, Frankie, but it did hold a parallel with the great Mr. Laine as being both powerful and making an impact!

Thankfully, we received only three inches of snow in Des Moines, Iowa, along with this storm system. It was, indeed, cold, but it was nice to have a white Christmas. More than once, I found myself humming the Frankie Laine song “Snow in Lover’s Lane.”

That first day in San Diego

Although not as cold as it is currently, it was chilly the day I left Iowa to meet Frankie Laine in person for the first time.

As I’ve related in a previous blog, I first met Frankie Laine in late November 1985. I’d ridden a bus from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to San Diego. The trip took two days and two nights. When I left Iowa, the weather was cold, breezy, damp, and the landscape was brown.

I don’t know whether it was the unmistakable magic in the air, knowing that I was soon going to be able to meet and shake the hand of my idol, or the obvious contrast from the Iowa weather, but I felt a radiance that I’d never felt before. I think the best way I can describe my feeling is by comparing it to the scene in the move The Wizard of Oz, where Dorothy walks out through the door of her wrecked house and sees Oz for the first time—in Technicolor!

Frankie exceeded my expectations in every way possible. He was gracious and appreciative of the fact that he was hosting a fan. And to Frankie, his fans were of the utmost importance. If I would have merely dreamed up my first meeting with Frankie Laine, I am convinced it would not have been any better than the actual day I spent with him.

In my book, Reaching for a Star, I ended with a poem I had written about my Laine experience:

I took a journey to seek out a star.

From my Iowa home, I ventured afar.

The one I sought sang songs from his heart.

My life became richer from a music legend’s art.

I sought and I found that singer of fame.

He made me his friend, and he soon knew me by name.

He sang with emotion, inspiring me to feel.

Life has more depth when your feelings you do not conceal.

He made possible that impossible dream of mine.

Throughout musical history, his star will shine.

I wish to propose an adventure for you:

To yourself, to your hopes, to your dreams be true.

Begin a quest; dare to journey afar.

For you see, my life was made happier reaching for a star.

Winter storm Frankie may have left many people in the cold, but those of us who cherish listening to Frankie Laine’s music—his legacy—boast a heart that is happy and memories that are warm.



About the Author:


Craig Cronbaugh, Director of the Legislative Information Office with the Legislative Services Agency at the Iowa State Capitol. As famed singer Frankie Laine’s special friend and a collector of Laine’s recordings and career memorabilia, Craig has written articles; has written, produced, directed, and hosted a distinctive radio program; and has appeared on Iowa statewide television regarding his Frankie Laine avocation. Craig has been highlighted briefly and has been given a research screen credit in the 2003 internationally distributed documentary Frankie Laine: An American Dreamer. Craig’s book, a memoir, Reaching for a Star, featuring his friendship with Laine, was published in 2005.