"Where is everyone?" I whined into my smart phone. I was standing out in the rain, withering in my rain boots without socks, in the chill air of Toledo, Ohio.
"Walk to the back of the bus. There will be a door open just a crack. Carlo is waiting for you." Click. Sure enough Carlo peeked behind a crack in the dark cement wall just ahead of me. I slipped inside. Happy to be warm. Happy to have found everyone again.
"Go ahead. Take a peek." Dia said as she nodded her head toward a large door with misty neon-yellow lights shining through.
I reverently walked up a short flight of steel stairs and stepped onto the stage. It was gigantic! I had tried to envision this moment over and over in my head for months, and I couldn't quite wrap my mind around that enormous amount of space! There was room enough to have a small war. I peered out into the dark. I could see seats, tiny little bug seats way, way, back.
And I think I just stood there, motionless for about seven minutes, before I moved, before I breathed even.
We took our first tour inside the venue, reading out loud to each other, the laminated postcards taped just outside of each of the doors. "Production"…"Dia Frampton"…"Female Dressing Room"…"Catering"…"Beer Camp"…"
Wait a minute.
Yes indeed! Behind door #1 there was a printed plastic backdrop of a wooden barn across the walls. A fully stocked bar stood proudly on the far side of the room, complete with any and every beverage you could imagine. Carlo lost no time in picking up the karaoke mic. He sang, "Stayin' alive! Stayin alive! Ah ah ah ah…" (Yes there was karaoke set up on the other side of the room …Of course!)
We peeked our heads around the next door. The room contained a treadmill, some weights, and a bicycle, as well as a several other workout machines.
"Do you think all that stuff is Shelton's?" I asked Nick, my jaw dropping.
"I wouldn't be surprised with everything else that's happened today."
We watched Blake's rehearsal. His background scenery was beautiful: mason jars, open highway, his face:) The music was mesmerizing. After every single tune, I kept leaning over to Dia and whispered, "Now, THAT'S a good song." After a few more songs, she stood up from the seat beside me, and joined Blake on stage to sing their duet, "I Will".
It was at that moment, while bathing in those larger than life stage lights dancing and zigzagging across the stadium seats, when a small innocent thought began growing with a quick intensity:
"Take me with you "Country Music".
I can put straw between my teeth, drive old pickup trucks, and drink sweet tea! I can sing about loyal dogs and missing somebody I love.
I could get used to this.