Harley and Annabell Russell, aka the Mediocre Music Makers, will still try to perform shows this summer at their Sandhills Curiosity Shop off Route 66 in Erick, Okla., despite Annabelle’s recent cancer surgery and imminent chemotherapy treatments.
If you’re unaware of Harley and Annabelle’s irreverent show, here’s a sample. Harley does most of the singing and serious picking, but Annabelle plays a valuable role as sidekick:
In recent days, Harley had posted periodic updates about Annabelle on his Facebook account. But I wanted to get permission from him before reporting the news on Route 66 News, which is a more-open channel.
Annabelle underwent a four-hour surgery earlier this month for ovarian cancer, including three days in intensive care. Harley said during a telephone interview today that Annabelle was released from the hospital on Thursday. She’ll meet with her surgeon this week to discuss chemo options. It’s anticipated she’ll undergo 15 months of treatment.
Annabelle said by phone she got around with a walker in the days after her surgery, and now walks with a cane.
“I don’t have a lot of energy, but I need to build up my strength for the chemo,” she said.
In retrospect, Annabelle said the first sign of trouble was in late summer 2010, when she experienced stomach troubles. She was given a prescription heartburn medicine. She also noticed her energy was lagging.
A sign of something more serious occurred a month ago, when she was helping Harley attach antique signs all over the exterior walls of the Sandhills Curiosity Shop and their nearby home, known as the Redneck Castle. Her abdomen swelled “real quick,” she said. She was taken to a doctor, and major cancer surgery at an Oklahoma City hospital was scheduled within days.
For now, the couple are staying with Harley’s parents in Oklahoma City. Harley and Annabelle had to cancel a performance Sunday for a tour group. But they’re already booked for 300 performances this summer, and intend to honor those commitments.
“We’re still working as best we can,” Harley said. “We’re gonna keep going on.”
Harley said an overseas Route 66 tour group is scheduled to stop at the Sandhills Curiosity Shop on April 22, and tourism business will start to pick up in mid-May. Even on the phone, without prompting, Harley and Annabelle did their usual performance schtick before signing off.
If you want to send good wishes or get-well cards, Harley and Annabelle’s mailing address is P.O. Box 121, Erick, OK 73645.