Andy Warhol once said,”… everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes.” I’m still waiting for my turn. The closest I ever came was in May of 1977 in Meridian, Mississippi. The occasion was the Jimmie Rodgers Music Festival and I was given a backstage pass. I was living in Houston at the time and working in East Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi for my sales territory. One of the other salesmen in the Houston branch office, George Wellman, invited me to join him and his wife Sue as their guest for this annual event. George promised me that getting backstage passes to meet the stars would be no problem and he was right. On the weekend of the show, I met George and Sue in Meridian and we all went together to the auditorium. The stars that were scheduled to perform included Stella Parton (Dolly’s little sister), Mr. Bojangles himself Jerry Jeff Walker, Ernest Tubb and the Troubadors and the biggest star of them all, Willie Nelson. Little did I know but in reality George’s wife Sue was an even bigger star in those parts.
Sue Wellman was beautiful beyond words and charming in every way a woman can be. Let’s just say she had a lot going for her and her husband was happy to show her off. As we entered the back door the crowd went wild as Sue approached. I was two steps behind and invisible. I could have been dressed as Wily Coyote carrying a stick of dynamite with a burning fuse and no one would have noticed. This woman could stop traffic with just her looks but she also made every male in the place feel special. I saw grown men nearly come to tears after her generous hugs. If you stared at her for more than a minute your IQ would decrease by half. I had to train myself to look away just to save the few brain cells I had left at 23. The local rumor was something along the lines of good old boys having to return to grade school for remedial classes every year after the festival.
George had given me a button that said “PRESS” on it and that was my ticket to everything backstage. I carried my Nikon around like I knew what I was doing and snapped photos while sitting on the stage as Willie Nelson performed. After the show was over we all hung around in the basement drinking and talking with Willie and his wife Connie, who was almost as good looking as Sue. I met Jerry Jeff but I don’t think he remembers me or much of anything. Stella Parton was just as sweet as her big sister and Ernest Tubb gave the place a little class in his suit and tie. I will never forget that night as long as I live. I got to sit on a couch with Willie Nelson and actually have a conversation for several minutes. It was even better than being famous.
I have never seen George or Sue since then but if I ever do I will thank them profusely. Sue was one of the nicest women I ever met and she charmed me right along with everybody else that night. It took me years to regenerate those brain cells but it was worth every rational thought I ever had after that for that one night among the stars. Now ladies, if you’re lucky enough to be among this special group of women like Sue Wellman and Connie Nelson please keep doing what you’re doing. Getting charmed one time by someone like Sue is enough to sustain most of us guys for the rest of our lives. Consider it your patriotic duty.
©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.