Last night we were at one of those events that are sadly becoming harder and harder to find–a bluegrass concert on the square here in Franklin.
It’s free and people who got there early enough sat in front in the folding chairs with the local funeral home’s name stenciled on the back. We took our own chairs though and settled in toward the back. There wasn’t a huge crowd so it wasn’t too crowded. A popup thunderstorm had rolled through about an hour earlier and left a nice cool breeze. One of the interesting things about living around here is that celebrities are pretty easy to spot. The majority are country music stars, but musicians of all kinds–like Sheryl Crow and Robert Plant–are pretty visibile. Last night, Naomi Judd (sometimes better known as Ashley’s mother than for her own singing career) made her way to the stage. She didn’t sing, and was, truthfully, a little annoying.
But it got me thinking about encounters with the rich and famous.
1. Dolly Parton–I adore Dolly and my iTouch is loaded with her songs. Back in my ad agency days, I worked on the Pigeon Forge tourism account. Dolly appeared in a tv commercial I produced. She was well protected by her entourage. But once you got past them, she was great. Her body defies nature and when I looked at her tiny little feet I was reminded of a comment I heard her make about their small size…”Shoot,” she said “nothing grows in the shade.”
On my on personal Celebrity Nice-O-Meter, Dolly gets the top rating:
2. Raymond Floyd–you might not know who Raymond Floyd is, but at one time, he was one of the top golfers in the world. He won both the Masters and the U.S. Open. He was another celebrity spokesman I met through advertising–this one in Little Rock. We were out a local golf course and, if you know anything about film production, you know that it takes forever. We were goofing around on the putting green. Raymond had about a 20 footer that he missed by a mile. I said “let me try.” I grabbed a putter and ball and proceeded to drain the same putt he had missed. My boss made the mistake of laughing and Raymond was grumpy the rest of the day.
Celebrity Nice-O-Meter rating:
3. Andrea Mitchell–when I worked for NBC news in Little Rock during Clinton’s first presidental race, Andrea was the lead correspondent. She spent a lot of time on the campaign trail, but when she was in the office, she was very nice. She was always polite and not too stuck on herself. She had a pathological fear of mayonnaise, but would definitely drink a beer after work.
Celebrity Nice-O-Meter rating:
4. Liza Minneli–this has to be the most random of them all. We were in the passport control line at the Brussels airport. A little tired and a little grimy from our overnight flight. We were almost to the front of the line when we heard the distinctive “beep beep beep” of an airport golf cart. Here it came, bearing two passengers. Yep–one was Liza Minnelli.
Celebrity Nice-O-Meter rating: (points off for getting special treatment.)
But for talent like this: