This morning, before coffee even, Hubby and I were cracking up over his one and only brush with fame: The time he and his sister shared an elevator with Colonel Sanders.
THE Colonel Sanders, who happened to be visiting Glenwood Springs, Colorado for the grand opening of his newest restaurant, circa 1973. Hubby may have been only ten at the time, but there wasn’t a kid on the planet in those days who would not have recognized the face from the chicken bucket.
Weirdly, that same year I met Dolly Parton. I was eight at the time, but again, this is not something one easily forgets. (You can read about it here.) I have a fuzzy recollection of having met Skeeter Davis around the same time, famous for her song, “The End of the World,” which still gets a fair bit of airplay on classic country stations. Pretty impressive, actually. At the time, she had long, blonde hair that reminded me of Malibu Barbie, and I was obsessed both with Skeeter and with Barbie. When I saw her up close, however, I realized that was where the similarity ended. Skeeter, for all her blonde hair, was no Barbie.
A few years down the road from my brushes with Dolly and Skeeter, thanks to my high school job at the local radio station, I met another country legend. This time it was Leroy van Dyck of “Walk on By” and “The Auctioneer” fame. (Talk about old country! Ha!) Though he was well on the other side of the musical hill, he was still quite a sight in his blue western suit. Even at his age, I couldn’t fault his vocals, but let’s just put it this way: He was no Dolly.
When Cheap Trick played a concert at my University, thanks again to my job as a local DJ, I introduced myself and a friend to their soundman and was promptly issued backstage passes. Before I knew it, we were hanging out backstage with the band, and Robin Zander invited me to accompany them on their flight to the next gig up in Nebraska. Naturally, I declined on account of a.) I wasn’t that kind of girl, b.) I knew that bands and planes had a pretty poor track record (we all knew what happened the day the music died!), and c.) I had class in the morning. I have never regretted that decision. Silly teenaged DJ yes; groupie, no.
Flash forward another few years, and I was in an L.A. diner when Journey front man Steve Perry walked in. The entire diner staff grabbed their ketchup bottles and broke out in a rousing rendition of “My Kind of Town” for his benefit. It was both surreal and amazing and… quintessentially L.A. Now, THAT was worth being in the right place at the right time!
Last but certainly not least, our family was vacationing at Disneyland Paris in 1994 when Michael Jackson and his new bride Lisa Marie Presley were staying at the resort. They waved to us from their bedroom window while the largely French crowd below chanted, “LEE-ZA! LEE-ZA! LEE-ZA!” I am pleased to say there were no babies dangling over the balcony that time.
I got to thinking that in the course of my life, as is no doubt the case with your own, we do occasionally run into “famous” people, but for some, it seems to happen more often than for others. I know a girl who seems to run into them regularly: Jeremy Piven, Bono, Jack Bauer (Keifer Sutherland, that is…). She is like a fame magnet. Mind, I suppose if you hang around London long enough, you are bound to run into someone who is “someone.”
Speaking of which, when “Sugarman” Sixto Rodriguez played the Apollo in London last summer, Hubby and I sat directly in front of Alex Kingston of “ER” fame. I couldn’t quite place her at first, but I KNEW she was “somebody” I was supposed to know. It was literally her and her partner and me and Hubby who had arrived first in our section. I squinted my eyes up all quizzical-like and said, “You look familiar…” She just looked at me straightfaced and said, in that sultry alto of hers, “Have you ever seen ER?” Yeah. Then it hit me. I was sitting with Dr. Corday, and had just made an idiot of myself. (I’m very good at that.) In the end, we ended up having a long, long chat about kids and careers and music. She was utterly charming and completely down to earth.
Almost as if famous people are… well, actual people after all.
So tell me… who have you run into in the course of your life? I know there are some great stories out there!
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