As a trucker before he retired, baby boomer Roger Clark of Valley Center, Kansas, has not only gotten all around the country, but met all kinds of people in every corner of America. Most were unmemorable. But not all, as Roger— now a blogger— writes in this essay called “Celebrities and Buffets.”
I’ve met a number of very well-known people in my work. I’ve also met a lot of totally unknown buffets. Most of the buffets were more interesting than the celebrities. But there were exceptions.
For example, while I was staying at a Hilton Hotel in Pennsylvania several years ago, so were the Pittsburgh Steelers, the NFL football team. As I was taking the elevator to my floor one morning, the car stopped and the Steelers’ head coach Bill Cower stepped on. Momentarily shocked, I finally worked up the courage to ask about an autograph, just as we reached my floor.
With the sly smile he’s famous for, he handed me a piece of paper and said “Sure, sign right here!” As the elevator door opened, I burst out laughing, and so did the coach. Then he reached for a REAL autograph, but I stopped him with my hand up. “No need,” I quipped, “because you just gave something even better. A memory!”
I met country music superstar Loretta Lynn at her ranch near Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. She did something for me that trips my EKG to this day. Wearing a traditional stage gown, she took my hand into both of hers, then curtsied. That never happened to me before, and to the best of my recollection it hasn’t happened since. But it’s okay. Maybe I just didn’t write it down.
Connie Smith is another country music star, discovered by Whisper’n Bill Anderson in 1964. I discovered her twenty years later, in a Nashville alley. You know the one, right between Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge and the Ryman Auditorium. She didn’t know who I was that night, and after meeting her, I didn’t know who I was either.
Connie is 77 now, and still gorgeous. Bill Anderson is 81 and still performing. I’m 69 and neither one, but blessed to have crossed paths with each. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to the buffet!