Scrub my pot! I have just returned from the most incredible and unexpectedly unbelievable evening of my life. As most of you who are reading this surely know, the Country Music Awards were in New York City for the first time in forty years. Also for the first time ever in all of those same 40 years, it was possible for someone to buy a ticket to the awards show-something that had never been done before.
However, since neither C.W. nor myself could afford the $250 per ticket minimum fee to get into the Big Show, we left our name with the Mayor's office as volunteers to work the hospitality suite for the visiting ticket holders. Little did we know what an incredible night we were in for when we got there..
The young woman who was from the Mayor's office was as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. She was awful young and pretty sweet, but it seemed like if anything went wrong she was gonna lose her job from the way she was acting. We were given our entitled necklaces bearing the words "Talent" and "Volunteer", along with the CMA hats and tee shirts we were told to wear, to indicate that we were the folks to ask questions.
I of course had my trademark Lindy Loo double flowered hats on so I just took off the bigger hat and covered it with the CMA ballcap while wearing my Bigcityhick electronic bling belt over the tee. Luckily C.W. and I were posted at a small stairwell leading up to the PRE-television fancy party and a first our post seemed anything BUT lucky to me. I am embarrassed to admit that I was complaining about the lack of traffic and even suggested that we go home.
Then out of nowhere came some of our first folks to direct, a beautiful lady with ginger colored hair and a bright red beaded evening gown-she looked like a figurine that my grandma used to collect and set on the piano. Right on her heels all in a beaded white gown came, Miss Lori Morgan who gave us a smile that set the night ablaze and it kept right on to burning for us the rest of the night.
Next came Billy Dean in an incredible knee length jacket emblazoned with embroidery on the back and he was with the one and only, Bill Anderson, who looked incredible in a bright yellow jacket set off with beautiful black appliqued motifs, accenting the great star that he is. Mr. Anderson chuckled and said, "Okay Miss Minnie - where's your price tag?" To which I replied, "Hey I couldn't steal everything from her - so I just have a little hat," while raising the CMA ballcap to reveal my little bitty flowered hat. Mr. Anderson and Mr. Dean hooted with laughter and I remembered to thank and congratulate Mr. Anderson for his great song, "Whiskey Lullabye" and he graciously bowed and said welcome.
Imagine how I was shivering in my boots when next came the family of Mr. DeFord, the first black star in the Grand Ol' Opry followed by Glenn Campbell himself, both being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. I bowed down low to Glenn Campbell, saying how much pleasure his work has given me all these many years, and wonder of wonders, he extended his hand on his own accord and shook mine. On the very night he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. C.W. said we should put a plastic glove on my hand and not wash it ever again.
Next were the VanZant brothers, who were as nice as pie and accompanied by some of the prettiest sparkliest ladies we saw all evening. On their heels came a musician fellow, who when he spied my electronic belt said, "I used to have a belt just like that!" I said, "Really? You had a belt that said Bigcityhick,com?" This stopped him for a moment before he said, "No-I was on tour with Sheryl Crow so it said Sheryl Crow."
Right then a feller came in from the hallway to ask me to also be watching that door as some of the bigwigs might need directions to the party from there. I commenced to checking the hall every few minutes when I saw a blond highlighted haircut on a guy from behind that made me think for a moment it might be Keith Urban, but instead it was Jon Bon Jovi. I just stood there for a moment, when he looked up, but he didn't laugh. Instead he just turned his head away slowly as if not to alarm me--this was when I realized how much like a hick I surely looked. Even the little bitty hat couldn't make him laugh or see the joke.
Just then a representative from the mayor's office in the form of a seat filler (One who fills the seat of a celebrity while he or she must go to the restroom and often also escorts talent from point A to point B) suggested that we not speak to any more of the celebrities since she could escort them to their final destination at the fancy vittles party. Even though hardly any of these volunteers knew what mega-stars they were even escorting.
This should underline to you how much we really looked more like hicks than anyone there (being true to our souls) and you should also know that my real friends always say they will put on my tombstone, "She just HAD to say it!" So when she suggested to us that we not speak as though we were really country stupid, I had to say, "Should we overt our eyes and just not look at them? Should we hang our heads and merely point?"
To her credit she seemed somewhat embarrassed to realize that there was some real intelligence behind the naivete and stammered out how we could look at them but not speak to them.
Not talking to the stars flew right out the window for me when next came Trace Adkins, who was absolutely resplendent in an unbelievable trench coat that made him look even more western and knightly than usual. He didn't seem to mind at all when I referenced two of his latest hit songs and his lady seemed to enjoy it all the more.
Then here came the redhead lady again escorting Cross Canadian Ragweed who stopped for a chat with someone crossing paths with them. How she tried to avoid looking at me as I just stood there with a finger to my lips indicating to here that I would not be speaking to HER celebrities. How upset she looked when they commented on my belt and hat in a positive manner and spoke to me first anyway.
Several of the next fellows through were players in several different people's bands. I met several who played with Faith Hill and of course I had to give them an over abundance of cards since my dream is to open as the funny gal in front of her and hubby, Tim McGraw. I guess I'm hoping she'll feel she owes a "Hill family member" a job down the line.
Next group through were Montel Williams, Clay Walker and Hal Ketchum, followed quickly by Blue Country. Right about then the phenomenal Aaron Tippin came along with his sweetie and then the lead singer of Lone Star, who not only laughed at my little hat but also commented on my red hair. By now I was absolutely gone-OVER the rainbow with Dorothy and Toto and I didn't care if I ever came down. (Please God let me entertain the troops with Mr. Tippin-I promise I'll be so good the rest of my whole life!)
To say I was a hog in mud is the master of all understatements. I couldn't believe it when the other volunteers were complaining about wasting their time because they didn't even know WHO they had directed to the VIP party. Our shift was at an end so we were given a box lunch and a seat in front of a very tiny TV.
C.W. disappeared to make backstage mischief, disturbing the nervous girl from the beginning very much, until I pulled him out of there by his ear. We made our way out of Madison Square garden by the wrong door so we ran right into Joan and Melissa Rivers and C.W. posed for a photo with Joan.
Capping evrything off, we had our photos taken, Lindy LOO and Chicky Wicky, right in front of the CMT logos on the red carpet. Who should turn up at that moment but the redheaded gal who looked more miffed than ever that folks were treating us swell and even taking our pictures.
Oh what a night! We will not soon forget this unbelievable, up close and personal evening with the country music community. Scrub my Pot!