I didn’t think it was going to happen.Â I got to Choteau, Montana on July 2nd, and didn’t have any cell phone service, and I hadn’t brought my laptop,Â and so even if Willie did want to grant my wish to meet him, they had no way to get ahold of me.Â Â But I was having such a good time.Â The town was so excited about Willie coming to town, everyone was talking about it.Â “Are you going?” “Are you in town to see Willie?”Â “Do you have any tickets to sell.”Â Restaurants and stores were buzzing.
I spent the afternoon before of the showÂ helping the nice folks at Scooterville set up their merchandise booth.Â I ran into Jenny Lee–, who is the JayCee’s co-chair of the concert, and told her, “I’m the one who wrote you for a press pass to attend the show.”Â She laughed, and said she was sorry about her response, but that I just wouldn’t believe the strange requestsÂ she got about the show.Â I said no problem.Â She said, “But I’ve got something for you now.”Â And she gave me an envelope from the “will call” window, with my ticket to the Choteau Show from Willie.Â It was so cool, they had written “Willie NelsonÂ Guest” on the envelope. Â I told her I had posted on my blog that I wanted to win the lottery for tickets, and then posted my letter to her and her response on my blog,Â and that Willie or someone close to him, read itÂ and knew I wanted to go to the show. Â Then, when I got chance to call in and talk to Willie on the Bill Mack Radio show, he told me he wanted to make sure that I got to the show. Â She thought that was so cool and kind of Willie, and I said, “Yes it was.”
So I had a great day, hanging out at Scooterville, listening to Jody Payne do his warm up song, watching 40 Points do a warm up set, and just taking in the good vibes that are there when people are gathering to see Willie Nelson in concert.Â The doors opened, the rodeo stands and the field in front of the stage filled up.Â I had staked out a spot in front of the stageÂ (where else?)Â and met some nice fans from Montana who agreed to save my spot whileÂ IÂ helped outÂ selling t-shirts.
So, when Jennifer introduced 40 Points, I re-claimed my spot in front of the stage, and settled in for a great night with Willie Nelson and Family.Â I was hot from the 90+ weather, and working, andÂ Scooter kindly gave me a Last of the Breed shirt to change in to, but I still didn’t feel very fresh.Â The guys behind me were in good spirits.Â Â The organizersÂ were relaxed about coolers, and those guys must haveÂ brought theirs in filled with beer.Â Â I think they took the money they saved on paying for their tickets and bought extra beer,Â because they were taking cans and shaking them, then opening them up and lettingÂ them shower down on us.Â The first couple of beersÂ felt good, it was cold, but I had forgotten how sticky beer on your skin feels when it dries, so I got tired of theÂ beer showers pretty fast.Â
I had been out in the sun all day I developed a blister on my lip, so my lip was swollen.Â The organizers had brought in some cattle gates that they had lined to keep the fans from the stage, andÂ they were covered with axle grease, or something, and my arms and new shirt got pretty dirty leaningÂ against it before I discovered this fact.Â At some point, some beer got in my eye, and I wiped it out, and I think I must have got some grease on my eye.Â So, with my dirty clothes,Â fat lip, black eye,Â smelling like beer, IÂ must have lookedÂ a mess.
So 40 points finished their fantastic set, Willie’s bus pulled up andÂ we all started chanting for Willie!Â Willie!Â Willie!Â And a part of meÂ was kind of relieved that my getting to meet Willie Nelson wasn’t going to happen this day.Â Â “Willie doesn’t need to meet anyoneÂ on his bus who looks and smellsÂ like they just got out of a bar fight,’ I thought.Â Maybe tomorrow, on the 4th in Washington, after I’ve showered and washed the beer and dust off.
But then, I saw Willie’s granddaughter, Rachel, come around the end of the stage, on the other side of the cattle gate.Â I didn’t think anything about it, really, becauseÂ she doesn’tÂ know me from Adam.Â I had met her earlier, introduced myself as Linda,Â but didn’t think she made the connection that I was LindaLee from Club Luck, or the person with the stillisstillmoving blog.Â But, unbelievably, she came right up to me and said, “Granddad said you could come by and say hello before the show, if you want to.”
Well, I was up and over that cattle gate so fast,Â it would have made your head spin and you would have thought I was a much younger person than I am.Â Â I gave no thought to my appearance, and followed Rachel backstage to Willie’s bus.Â There were a bunch of people outside, like there always is.Â I hadÂ witnessed that scene so many times, only from a distance, behind the security line.Â And there I was, one of thoseÂ luckyÂ folks waiting for a chance to go onÂ Willie Nelson’s bus!Â I reached for my camera, and turnedÂ it on, but of course, the low battery sign was flashing, andÂ IÂ had no time to dig for new ones in my bag.Â And I thought briefly aboutÂ the gift I had brought for Willie,Â sittingÂ in my car, along with ‘The Tao of Willie’ book I was going to ask him toÂ sign.Â Then the door to the busÂ opened, and I moved forwardÂ But then David Letterman was coming down the stairs after talking to Willie,Â so I stepped back to let him pass.Â
Then they motioned me upÂ the stairs of Willie’s bus.Â When I got to the top,Â and turned the corner,Â I saw Willie sitting on one sideÂ talking with a couple of folksÂ across from him.Â Willie reached out his hand, took mine, and pulled me down to the bench beside him.Â It was the sweetest thing.Â He introduced me to the couple, farmers/ranchers from Montana who had been involved with farmers rights and farm issues for a long time.Â He said kind words about the website to them and that, “When I want to know where I was last night, I go to her site to find out.”Â I told Willie I could be his alibi, if he ever needed one, I could look up where he’d been. on a certain day.Â Â (I knew I would say something stupid when I met him.Â He kindly laughed, though.)
It was so perfect, because I got to sit there and relax, and watch Willie in profile,Â while he talkedÂ with these folks about the farm bill, issues effecting farmers, and listen to them thankÂ Willie for all the help he has given farmers over the years.Â Â Then they left, andÂ Willie introduced me to daughter Lana, and she gave me a sweet hug, and I thanked her for the Poo, and the WN.com website.Â (She is a pretty little thing, even prettier than her pictures.)Â Then Lukas came on with a young girl, and Willie signed her shirt.Â Willie introduced me to Lukas, and Lukas said we had met at the stage.Â (I had talked to him earlier about their album release date, and thanked them for doing the interview for the blog.)Â Then, Willie signed my Choteau show ticket and Lana took a picture of us. Â I told him I didn’t want to take up too much of his time, thanked him and hugged him again, kissed his cheek, and left.
So that’ s my story of how I got to meet Willie Nelson.Â Pretty sweet, huh?
(Lana may look at the picture of me, and decide mercifully not post it on theÂ Poo because of my drunken appearance, but if she does, just remember that I wasn’t drunk, just happy.)