You never know what gifts life might bring you... When you least expect…
“Hi, this is Patti from the Moon River Theatre,” the voice said in a pleasant Missouri drawl. “I’m Mr. Williams’ assistant. Mr. Williams would like to talk with you at your earliest convenience…”
I nearly tripped over my coffee table, landed on my couch. Wha-aat??? Did I just hear that right?
All kinds of thoughts raced over me. Andy Williams…calling me? How did he even have my number? Then I remembered… the letter I’d sent the previous year. I’d used some old business stationary with letterhead, including my phone. But I’d never thought…
Ever since the day my father had brought home one of his Christmas albums when I was a child, I’d been hooked on Andy’s music. There was just a beauty and warmth in his voice – from Christmas to Mancini to light rock hits – that moved me more than any other. In fun times, in tragic times… his music had been like a soundtrack to so much of my life, soaring my heart. I’d seen a few of his live performances over the years…but none as spectacularly produced as the one at his Branson theatre that previous summer. It made me want to write, to tell him how fantastic I thought his show had been…Elegantly-staged, like a wonderful old movie musical production, complete with costumes and scenery. And his theatre… sophisticated, but warm, evoking the feeling of being invited to a performance in his personal living room.
Yet… a letter? I feared sounding odd. Fanatic. Drippy.
Having grown up where most people recognized celebrities as ordinary people, I had never been star-struck in that Lucy Ricardo sort of way. I was used to seeing actors and entertainers in everyday places like the grocery store or local restaurant. And I didn’t want to sound fawning, like some groupie, now.
Finally, I decided – Who doesn’t want to be encouraged? To know how they can still touch people with beauty and legendary timing… especially in a world that endlessly writes off anyone over a certain age? And so, I wrote… took a deep breath and mailed it. Hoping he would “get” what I meant… be encouraged to know how his gift still touches his audience… But worrying that he wouldn’t.
A mocking twist on a familiar jingle came to mind… sometimes you act like a nut, sometimes you don’t! 🙂
Not long after, I received a nice answering note… not from a secretary, but directly from him, signed simply, Andy. Thanking me for my “lovely letter,” appreciating how much I “understood what he was trying to do in his theatre.” And then unexpectedly – music to any writer’s ears… “You are a good writer,” he wrote in closing. “You kept my interest, but then it was all about me.” Simple encouraging words… full circle… one to another.
But now, a phone call…just one year later… Had I just done a really dumb thing? I’d written him again… this time compelled by a most heart-melting new CD he and his son had just produced. Fabulous live music taken from his old television programs, some never recorded on his numerous gold and platinum albums. A glorious big brass and orchestra sound you just don’t hear anymore. In my first letter, I’d told him how I used to sit by the TV with my cassette recorder to capture his singing, and how I’d worn those tapes out. Now a year later, he’d produced this CD of that very music! I couldn’t say for sure, but it was fun to imagine maybe I’d put that idea in his head… In any case, I once again found myself wanting to encourage him to know just how extraordinarily lovely I thought this CD was. And again, I debated and debated over being thought a kook… Until... I wrote it. Sealed it. Mailed it.
Now I pressed the repeat button on my machine again. Heard the message… “Mr. Williams would like to talk with you…”
He’ll have to wait at least one day, I thought…Until I could compose my jumbling thoughts.
He…um…didn’t think I was a kook, did he? Or… something worse…?
Yes, I’d call him tomorrow. I’d be able to talk more coherently then.
Gulp (again). I hoped.
To be continued…
© Pam Depoyan