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Monday, June 11, 2012

This Wasn't On My List, But It Should Have Been

Have you ever thought about all of the things you wish you could do in life, but know that you probably never will?

I have a list like that and every now and then I get surprised by actually doing something that I never thought I would do. Things like climbing Mt Kilimanjaro, learning to speak another language, walking through the Kremlin and meeting a world-famous film director.

Add to that list: Seeing A Prairie Home Companion live.

Seriously. I've been listening to that show for more years than I can remember. The opening theme music brings back memories of riding in the back seat while my dad was driving and exploring the back roads around my university town.

I love that show. I love that show so much that I've made The Boy into a fan of the show as well, or at least the part of it that can be podcasted each week (Tales from Lake Wobegon).

You can imagine how excited I was when our friend sent a message saying that the show would be live in Shreveport, Louisiana, and would I like to go?

Would I like to go?!? Are you kidding?!? YES!!!

I think my actual message said yesyesyesyesyesyesPLEASE.

This past Saturday, the four of us headed to the historic Municipal Auditorium in Shreveport. And, as often happens when you get to do something that you never thought you'd get to do, everyone ends up getting more than they expected.

We all were amazed to be in the home of the Louisiana Hayride. Slightly faded from its original glory years, it was still a beautiful building.

'Twould be nice if all the seats had a seat.
Fortunately, we were able to relocate!
Did you know this is where Elvis made his national debut - and performances there turned him into a star? We didn't.

Did you know that local boy, James Burton, became a world-famous Hall-of-Fame session guitarist - playing with Ricky Nelson and Elvis, along with more famous performers than I care to type - is from Shreveport? Or that he's still alive and dedicated to keeping music in schools? We didn't.

So the history lovers in the group (all of us really, but one professionally) were amazed at the venue and the Prairie Home Companion lovers were enthralled by the show and the music lovers were in awe of the musical history and royalty (of sorts) in the room.

It's fascinating to be a part of a live radio show - seeing the red "On Air" flash on next to the stage. Things that I've seen in theater productions and movies to refer to radio's golden it came to life. The performers moved constantly and seamlessly from sketch to song to interview and back. Non-stop, high-level, wonderfully entertaining for over two hours.

And then. AND THEN.

We wandered the halls for a bit after the show, looking at photos of those who'd performed at the Hayride. I headed back to the main floor of the auditorium, wanting to do a bit of gaping at the Art Deco architecture.

Instead I met Garrison Keillor.

I met him. I got his autograph. We talked to each other and he teased me, flipping a paper up and down in front of the camera as The Boy took our photo (which is why it's a bit blurry but I wouldn't have it any other way). It was like spending time with my Grandpa - and I miss him so much that poor Garrison almost got a massive hug from just pure joy at meeting him and pure gratefulness to be around that gentle teasing personality for an evening one more time.

And then again.

Heading out of the building we stumbled across James Burton. The Boy nearly shoved me over to him and had me get an meant so much to him to have an opportunity to hear a few of his stories about days gone by. Autograph in hand, and a big smile for The Boy's camera, we headed back to Texas.

It was a night I'll never forget. I didn't put this on my 101 List, but if I had a Million and One List, Saturday certain would have been on it in multiple spots.

I'm so glad that life often gives us more than we could ever ask or hope for.

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