I thought it was him from the moment he walked into Wendy’s.
Recently, my wife and I, along with some good friends, we were eating at one of my favorite eating establishments, Wendy’s (I do love their chili.) My wife and a few other family members do not share my excitement for Dave’s place. If you were raised in a small town, small high school, you were raised on chili. Friday night ballgames, the band would have a fundraiser before and after the game, and we all would go to the school cafeteria to eat some of the finest chili ever and maybe a piece of homemade pie. Some folks just don’t have any refinement.
I saw this guy walk in, and I thought, “That’s ____. He is an old rock-n’-roll artist. Shoot, what’s the harm? If it’s not him and I’m wrong, I’ll just say, I’m sorry. I walked over to him. “Sir, excuse me, but aren’t you ____?” A big smile came over his face. “Son, for you to recognize me, you gotta go way back.” I said, “Hey, I’ve got one of your albums at home and on the cover is a picture of you and a ‘59 Corvette.” From there, we had a great conversation. I took his phone number and asked if he would like to have lunch one day the next week. He certainly did.
This week, I took him to lunch. It was worth the price of one hundred lunches. He shared stories with me and filled in gaps about old rock- n’- roll folks. In the late 50s’ many a hot summer nights were spent runnin’ up and down Wabash Avenue in Terre Haute, Indiana and a song by him would come on the air all the way from Nashville, Tennessee and WLAC. There was a particular song I always liked, so I asked him about that song and the singer. The song was “Shake a Hand,” and the singer was a gal named Faye Adams. “I sang back-up for that song,” he said. “Nobody knows that, how did you know to ask about that,” he ask. When I left him that day, we made a date to meet again for lunch. I looked forward to it.
As I drove off, I thought how pleased and excited he became when I recognized the song and expressed how much I liked the backup sound, the voice. He was certainly pleased to tell me he was the backup singer on that recording session.
Sometimes backup people need a bit of recognition. Life has a lot of back-up folks. The nurse you see at your doctor’s office, the janitor at your child’s school, the guy at the tire store and the clean- up man at your local restaurant. Backup folks are all over the place, just seldom noticed.
I’m sure glad I ran into my new friend that day at Wendy’s.
January 29, 2012