It was the spring of 1990 and I was proudly wearing a mullet while sitting my skin-tight, Levi 501 clad ass on a hard, concrete step. I was just about to wrap up my freshman year of college and was working as a stagehand for a Reba McEntire concert. 30 minutes before I had ended 3 hours of hard, manual labor helping unload seven trucks worth of Reba concert gear. I was happy to be sitting, not so happy to be sitting on a hard, concrete step, and flat pissed that I had drawn this job during the concert. I had dreamed of running stage lights or waiting like a panther ready to strike at the sides of the stage for anything the band or Reba may need to produce their twanging, country tunes. Instead I was guarding a door at the back of the building that lead down several hundred feet of concrete before making a turn to the dressing rooms.
Now keep in mind this was before smart phones or mobile gaming devices. I basically had nothing to do for 3 hours during the concert except gaze down the concrete hall or stare at the door. To make matters worse there was no chair to sit on to provide some level of comfort. I had a hard, concrete step to lounge on.
Despite growing up on a large ranch in Northern Montana I had never liked country music. I could ride a horse and buck a bale of hay, but I had only owned one pair of cowboy boots, never a plate size belt buckle, and certainly never a cowboy hat. I was not a fan of Reba’s music. I was more of an AC/DC or Motley Crue type of guy.
I was damn sure that no one was going to walk down the hallway. This was going to be an excruciating 3 hours of guard duty. To top it off, I had to help load the seven trucks of Reba’s concert gear. It wasn’t going to lay my head on my dorm room pillow until well after 2 a.m. The icing on cake was that I was making just a nickel over minimum wage. The situation was shitty.
And then I heard a click, click of a woman’s heels walking on concrete. I could not see the woman, because she was behind the corner of the tunnel. However, I had something to grab my attention away from my glum predicament. Around the tunnel corner walked a lady. She was too far down the tunnel to really make out any features, but I could tell it was a woman.
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Click, click and the woman started to get closer and I could start to make out a mane of red hair and a short, very fancy dress. As the woman walked closer I began to think there is no way that this could be Reba. Up to this point I had only seen her on television or magazines. Internet surfing was not going to be common for at least another decade.
Click, click and the woman was close enough to see it was Reba. Just like on the television and magazines. I must have looked like a deer staring into a car’s lights. It wasn’t that I was star struck. I really didn’t give two hoots about Reba. It was the fact that she was beautiful that had me looking like an idiot. Her flaming red hair was massive and must have consumed a half-gallon of Aqua Net. With the aid of sparkly heels she was tall. Her dress was very ornate in a country type design, cut short to showcase her flawless legs, and had a plunging neck line leading to a valley of cleavage.
Her eyes were a piercing, sky blue. I could not take mine off hers. She looked directly into my eyes and I was mesmerized, I was stunned, and I could not even think. I could feel my cheeks blushing and hear myself making sounds responding to her questions, but in all honesty I have no idea what she said to me or how long we talked. I can only remember she patted my hand before turning to walk away.
As she walked away I was too star struck to keep my mouth from gaping wide open. Just before she turned the corner of the tunnel and walked out of my life forever she looked back at me, smiled, and waved.