“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
GARTH AND ME
This week is it all about Garth and me. Everyone wants to know the story of the very special guitar and the View is the best way to get it in writing. I have had some great adventures in my lifetime but this birthday was the most bizarre of them all. I have written some personal events in this column before but this is my 15 minutes of fame. I was a V.I.P. for a few moments and here is the story.
My Sweetheart, Wally, bid on a Las Vegas package last December at the Toys for Tots Auction. The package was from the Tropicana Hotel and included 3 days and 2 nights stay in addition to our plane fare.
The minute I knew that Garth Brooks was appearing at the Encore Theatre, I wanted to use the auction package to get to Vegas. The whole purpose of the trip for me was to be at that show on my birthday. Randy said he would also like to accompany me to the show.
Before we left home, I had written a note to Garth telling him that it was my birthday and would he please sing “The Dance,” for me. My thought process was that I would tip an usher to take letter backstage.
All plans went smoothly with the flight and the accommodations that we carefully booked. At last, the Saturday show evening arrived and we departed early to have dinner at the Encore Hotel.
As we walked down the hall in the hotel, looking for a restaurant, we passed the theatre. There stood a middle-aged woman in an usher’s uniform. I boldly went up to her with the note and a $10.00 bill in my hand and asked if she would take the note back to Garth. Very sweetly, she said that she could not do that but she would give us some advice. At the end of most performances the house lights would be illuminated and Garth would ask the people, (he called the audience people) if they had any questions or requests. The usher asked which of us had an "outside" voice. Randy said that he did and she advised him to stand and shout Garth’s name as loudly as he could. Randy said he could handle it.
I had tried to imagine what Garth’s show would be like but it was way beyond my expectations. He began with 50’s music and imitated singers with songs that made them famous at that time. He talked about his parents, the kind of music they liked, and how it influenced his life as to his music choices.
He began with his first song, (and great hit,) “If Tomorrow Never Comes,” that he made in 1989. The rest is history in the music world and he retired about 10 years later to a farm in Oklahoma. He drives his children to school and does the farm thing.
So finally, the house lights went up and he is reaching the end of his show. He said that he does not do encores but he would play three more songs for us. He then asked if anyone had any questions or requests. Everyone in the audience stood up and they were screaming. Randy called out but was not heard. Garth called on a woman in the front row who was celebrating her anniversary without her husband. Garth told her that next time she should bring her husband and that brought on a good laugh Randy stood again and shouted Garth’s name to no avail. Garth then spoke with two young women near the front. Randy stood again, shouted Garth’s name, and this time Garth pointed to Randy.
By this time, I was quite excited, nervous and this is how I remember the conversation going. Randy said, “This is my Mom’s birthday. She is from Montana and is your biggest fan there. She would like it if you would sing “The Dance” for her.”
Garth said, “We should sing, “Happy Birthday” to her,” and he began to strum his guitar and sing. Two thousand people joined in and sang Happy Birthday to me. I finally managed to stand and throw a kiss to Garth. I immediately sat down because I thought I was going to faint.
Then Garth said, “I think I ought to give her a present on her birthday. Would someone get me a Sharpie pen?” (At this point I thought that he was going to autograph a CD or a picture for me. Wrong.) Garth went to the curtain of the stage and someone handed him the pen. He started back across the stage, stopped, and said “I don’t have anything to write on.” He began taking the strap of his guitar from around his neck. The people went ballistic. They screamed and chapped because they realized what he was going to do. The woman sitting next to me said, “He is going to give you that guitar.” No way. Just no way possible.
Garth then asked me how I spelled my name…with a cie or cy. When he finished writing, he said that when he finished three songs, I could have the guitar. On the guitar he wrote…Muncie, God Bless, Garth Brooks, and the date. It was surreal, unbelievable, mind boggling, awesome, incredible, miraculous, and a dream. Really, none of those words could describe my feelings. This just could not be happening to me. It was my 15 minutes in the limelight.
Many of the my female friends in Fort Benton, who knew I was going to see Garth’s show, asked me to bring him back with me. That really being an impossible happening, I was now going to bring back what he said was his favorite guitar. Unbelievable.
After Garth did his last song, “I Have Friends in Low Places,” he slowly backed off the stage amid screaming, cheering, and hand clapping. When he disappeared behind the curtain, a woman came out and took the guitar from the stage. As the crowd began to disperse, they all said Happy Birthday, hugged me, or shook my hand. One man said God Bless You, which by the way, Garth had written on the guitar.
Randy and I were told to wait in our seats until two security guards brought out the guitar in a beautiful case. One security guard led us into the Casino to pick up my Sweetheart and then guided us right to the head of the taxi line, (which was very long.) All along the way, people said Happy Birthday to me.
Little did I know when I said that I wanted to see Garth Brooks on my birthday that in my possession would be Garth Brook’s favorite guitar? So here you have the story, it is all about Garth and me.
Because I was going to be out of town for a few days, I decided last week that I would not be able to write a View this week. Little did I know what would be in store for me. I’ll be back next week with Fort Benton news.
GOD BLESS AMERICA AND OUR TROOPS.