In order to tell this story properly, I need to rewind about eight months. I was flying home, I can’t remember from where, but I had a layover in New York.
When I got onto my new plane, I had a new seatmate. I wasn’t thrilled, as I do always like having my own row, but this gentleman was very friendly and we started chatting.
He told me he’s the manager of a band, and they were headed to Maine after playing in Canada. He was joking that the route he was taking was quite backwards considering they had just flown over Maine.
We got to chatting, and he said his band is a country band. This is where I have to divulge I’m not a country fan. So when he told me his band’s name, I had no idea who they were. But we continued to chat. He told me how his band is often on TV, and I said next time they’re back in Maine perhaps they’d like to appear on WCSH’s 207 newsmagazine program.
I also told him how we were just wrapping up the American Folk Festival in Bangor, and how maybe they’d be interested in playing there.
Then he told me he and the band — the rest of them were on the flight as well — were headed to Maine to visit with President George H.W. Bush. That’s when I sat back and said to myself, “Who are these people?!”
When we landed in Portland, other people on the flight started coming up to them and asking for photos with them. So as soon as I could, I called my husband and asked him who the Oak Ridge Boys are.
He started singing “Elvira.” OK, I recognized it. I told him what I said to the manager, and then he got a really good laugh.
Well, I was completely embarrassed, so I went down to the luggage carousel and started apologizing to the whole band. They were very gracious and gave me a sample CD of their latest release.
I struck up a conversation with Joe Bonsall about our iPhones and how we use Twitter, and after a few minutes, we parted ways.
But Joe and I kept in touch. Every so often, I’d send him a note saying hi, or comment on his status. We’d joke that the next time he’s in Maine, or even New England, we’d get a lobster roll.
Fast forward to winter. Joe announced the ORB, we’re tight now so I can call them by their initials, were going to be playing a concert celebrating Kenny Rogers’ 50 years as an entertainer at Foxwoods. I commented that they were coming back to New England.
Joe and I exchanged a couple of tweets, and he said he’d work on getting me tickets for the show.
Not being a country fan, I wasn’t that interested. Plus, Joe’s a busy guy with millions of fans, so I wasn’t going to push it.
But last Monday, I got a message from him that I had two tickets waiting for me at Foxwoods!!
I was in New York for a journalism conference, and my husband was working in Boston. But I left the city early, and he got out of work on time, and we met each other in Mashantucket, Connecticut.
We saw the most amazing show. Not only were Kenny Rogers and the Oak Ridge Boys there, but so was Dolly Parton, Lionel Richie, Wynonna, Smokey Robinson, Chris Isaak, Billy Dean, Linda Davis, and Sheena Easton. AND…. we were eleven rows from the stage! We were in front of the teleprompters.
After the show, I tried calling and texting Joe, but had just about settled on knowing we weren’t going to see him when he called me back. Turns out he was headed to a dinner at the restaurant just feet from where we were already standing.
We hung out in front of the restaurant and Joe came out, greeted my husband and me, and we thanked him over and over. And the manager, Darrick Kinslow, came out to say hi, as well.
Like I said from the beginning, I’m not a country fan. Eight months ago I had no idea who the Oak Ridge Boys were. But now, I’m a huge fan, and must say again, THANK YOU, JOE!!