Scott’s Corner

    The time has come to reveal the spectacular wonderment that occurred the night of the concert.  I truly wished to immediately put pen to paper and construct brilliant prose to justly describe the night’s events, however my dad asked for permission to take on the task.  Feel free to send him comments (good ones) at polwonder [at] wideopenwest.com.

THE DAY GOD INTRODUCED HIMSELF TO THE PIESTRAKS



    Some people meet God on their death bed where they repent and regret many of the things they did.  Others see Him in a dream where He gives them this week’s lottery numbers or tells them to blow up the abortion clinic that’s around the corner.  I have strong reservations about the validity of those “messages from Heaven”.  On the other hand, there’s our experience.  Most of those others can be explained through a simple explanation like mayonnaise that got too warm, or a bowl of chili that had a little too much “BAM!”  We were neither asleep nor near death, so there’s no other explanation other than the obvious one that’s left: Divine Intervention.
    To fully appreciate the story I’m about to relate, you have to be a Parrothead: a strange breed of creature who appear in their full and colorful regalia on a few occasions around the Western Hemisphere that seem to coincide with the appearances of their spiritual leader, Jimmy Buffett.  He can’t be pigeonholed into any particular genre.  He’s the occasional: redneck philosopher; party animal; drunk; musician; children’s author and one of the few adult authors who have had books on both the New York Times fiction and non-fiction best seller lists.  His followers often track the party-creating crusader across the country, and occasionally to treks out of the country to a variety of Caribbean destinations.  The followers cover the age spectrum from children to the card carrying members of AARP.  It’s in this atmosphere that God chose to show Himself to us; thus reaffirming that God is everywhere, even at a hedonistic semi-rock concert.
    To say you had to be there is an understatement.  After Buffett’s three year absence from the Detroit area, we did our duty, standing in line and getting a lucky number that would let us have a chance at getting tickets to the only concert of the year that counts for a Parrothead.  Then there were the months of anticipation and then finally the day of September 12.  A thick cloud of gloom crept into our minds, only equaled by the dense, dark clouds that filled the skies.  Unfortunately, the frequently wrong weather forecasters seemed to have hit this one on the head.  They had promised rain, and in some areas, heavy downpours.  On this night, Clarkston, Michigan would be one of those areas.
    After arriving in a light mist, we ate our dinner and began to absorb the atmosphere around Pine Knob (aka DTE Enery Music Theater) on the day of a Buffett concert.  Buffett music mixes with the sound of blenders humming throughout the parking lot as Parrotheads attempt to transform the DTE parking lot into Margaritaville.  Men in grass skirts trying in vain to outdo women in grass skirts suddenly become a normal sight.  A half-hour before the concert, the bad news begins to be delivered.  The clouds are the messengers God sends.  They open up and try to drown the excitement of the beach loving Buffett crowd.  It almost worked on us.  We later confessed that we all wondered if it was worth going inside to sit/stand on the hill with our lawn tickets.  Scott gave up first.  His saner side took over and he approached a man who was trying in vain to peddle a third row seat he had purchased for $350 for the “bargain price” of a hundred.  “Let me know when you get down to $60,” were Scott’s last words to him.  It wasn’t much later when the drenching rain drove the man to taking a big loss so he could go inside to enjoy the dryness of the pavilion.  We decided we’d share the ticket, taking turns to enjoy a respite from the downpour while actually seeing the concert.
    Scott went down to his seat and reported by phone that his seat was terrific. Only three rows from the front of the stage, it was a dream few Parrotheads ever realize. Meanwhile, Jeff and I, clad in our dollar plastic ponchos, slosh our way to the concert area. Walking uphill, waves of water wash over our shoes as if we were on a stroll at the beach. We settled on standing in front of the hill. Although we had no hope of sitting, we were standing on solid cement and the thought of sitting on a rain-soaked mix of mud and grass wasn’t very appealing.
    If you wear glasses and are trying to see something in a pouring rain, it’s not easy.  Glasses just don’t come with wipers—yet.  Seeing the stage clearly was a challenge.  Once again the gloom, disgust, and questions floating on the raindrops, ran through our minds.  Can this be possibly worth it?  No, was the honest answer, but there we stood.  I vowed to make the best of it.  Then, the cell phone rang.  Could that be God calling?
    As exciting as that could be, it wasn’t. B ut it was darn close—it was indeed news from God.  Scott was on the line.  The gregarious Scott began noticing empty seats in the row around him and began talking to a couple next to him. “Are you expecting some people to join you?”  It was then that Scott’s vision was drawn to the man’s shirt pocket where several tickets were peeking out.  The unexpected response was that the couple’s friends, obviously not true Parrotheads who deserve tickets to this sacred area, had canceled.  Weakened by rain, they sat home to watch some stale rerun of Diagnosis Murder.  When the gentleman responded that he had tried to sell the tickets outside, but finally gave up as the rain got harder, Scott made his move.  Many would have never made the inquiry, feeling that it would be sort of rude or brazen.  Having no shame, Scott uttered the words God had told him to say,  “I have two people who are standing in the rain who would love to come down here.”  The next thing was amazing.  The man gave him two tickets.  When I answered the phone and heard the words,  “I have tickets for you and Jeff,” I was sure that my approaching dementia was causing me to hear strangely.  Then he repeated it and seconds later he was in front of us with tickets in hand, leading us to the promised land where your permission to enter the next level is checked and rechecked every six steps.  There we were!  The land of milk and honey and at that time, more importantly, dryness.  It was hard to believe that only seconds earlier we had been standing in the downpour full of gloom.  It was deliverance; our glimpse of how the chosen ones enjoyed things on this night.
    Scott pointed out to me the couple who were our benefactors.  As I waddled in front of them, I was carefully trying not to brush up against them with my water-carrying poncho.  It was then that the prophetic words came to me.  Looking at the middle-aged, attractive lady,  I uttered, “So you’re the people God sent.”  I swear I don’t know what made me say that.  I had only a busy few minutes from the time I received the news to the time I said those words.  Her reaction was what finally sealed my belief.  A large warming smile came across her face.  That was it.  It was as if she said, “I’m glad you realize who sent me.”  She said nothing else.  Then, the house lights went down and the show started.  Those were to be my only words to her.  They departed with just a few songs left in the concert. I’m sure they left Pine Knob to go back to the wonderful, warm place whence they came.
    I now know how writers feel when they have a story inside them and nothing will stop it from coming out.  I really never had this feeling before.  Divine inspiration is nothing new.  Dante’s Inferno and Handel’s Messiah have no real explanation other than help from the big author in the sky.  I don’t begin to equate my effort to theirs, but for the little Polish kid from Fordson High, I figure this is as close as it gets.  After telling a friend this story, she cleverly responded with, “I’m glad He didn’t call you up and give you the tickets personally.”
    Me too.

 

Bubba from the third row

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/17 at 07:28 PM
  1. I can almost exactly feel the awe, the appreciation, the downright amazement at being able to see Jimmy from the 3rd row!  I have never been fortunate enough to see him from anyless than 2nd balcony…

    Your words touched me immensely!

    Oh and yea baby WEST PALM BEACH NOV 14!!

    Posted by Barbara on 09/28  at  11:11 PM
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