Oh Songbird, Songbird,
Please donít fail
To send your lithesome notes to me.
And please donít end your
Of holding fast my reverie.
For I do trim my
Heartís own sail
To bend to wafts of Peace from thee!
© Paul L. White, 2013
Back in the summer of 1996, I took a vacation in Alabama with a life-long friend. Rather than drive, I boarded a plane which landed in Nashville International Airport, and he drove north to pick me up.
It was great to see him again, and we chatted while waiting for my baggage to deplane. In this particular airport, you stand on a second level to receive your luggage, which is next to a hand/guard rail. By looking over that rail, you can see the first level below. There, customers walk in to say goodbye to loved ones and approach their flight.
I couldnít believe my eyes, for, right smack below me was someone who looked very much like she could be Kathy Mattea! I kept my mouth shut with my friend, but was in total awe.
She stood there, talking with a man and woman who were more senior than she. Their looks were somber, and I was totally oblivious to the fact that this was live, not television! When you see a celebrity on TV, you donít look away to be polite, you stare!
And so this lady-who-looked-like-Kathy would toss her head up at me and give me kind of glaring glances. In my naÔvetť, I couldnít figure out why. Was there something wrong with the cap I was wearing?
Her song, ďWhereíve You BeenĒ was, and continues to be, one of my favorite songs of all time. I was enraptured by the sight below me, and wished I could video tape that scene!
Well, I believe it was in February of the following year when Miss Mattea won a video award. It was for ď455 Rocket,Ē if Iím not mistaken. She was obviously stunned at the win, and gave an emotional acceptance speech. At the very end, she said something like: ďand a big shout out to Mayo Clinic for helping to cure my dad of cancer!Ē
I sat there, in my easy chair, stunned! At once I knew what it was that I had seen the previous June. The people with whom Kathy was speaking were her parents, and were most likely on their way to Mayo. The looks in that tiny group were somber because they didnít know the outcome of their visit.
I was an irritant because I was staring at them, with a goofy grin on my face, while they were enduring nothing less than a potential family tragedy.
Little did I know, until these later years of the Internet, that Miss Mattea hails from West Virginia. Everyone on my own fatherís side of the family does the same.
I hope I get to meet her someday, and offer my apology in person. But if I never do, hereís trusting that this little memento will soothe some of the pain I caused.
You can visit the Kathy Mattea website by clicking this address: www.kathymattea.com.