(continued from March 2011...)
CKR Diary Post No. 58, or "Chillin', refillin' and flyin' high"
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Kid Rock said the first time he met Gretchen Wilson she told him – with attitude – “I wrote a song with your name in it, and you need to hear it.” Too bad it couldn’t be that easy getting him to read a 300-page novel.
I wish I could report that I met him, told him about the book and the ride that brought me (and you) here, and placed a copy in his hands. In the end, approaching him didn’t feel like the right thing to do. Instead, I simply enjoyed the occasional sightings and reveled in being on the same boat for four days … plus I begged the event company (aka Sixthman) to pass along a hard copy for me. They have a “no gifts” policy, so I had to pout a little. It was better than doing nothing, considering I almost didn’t take the manuscript at all. Until my best friend Vicki called and told me to grow a pair. If anything comes of this, I’ll have a reason to love her that much more.
To say the past ten days have been awesome would be like describing Elvis as “a talented musician from Tupelo.” Having five days to hang with my brother, his wife, and my niece had my happy dial cranked to 10 from the minute their plane touched the ground. We held the best Fire Pit Saturday ever their first night here and introduced them to some of the most wonderful people we know. On Monday, while my niece visited the most gigantic high school she’s ever seen with my daughter and my brother battled the Atlantic Ocean with Scott and the pyromaniac fireman from next door, I spent my 46th birthday at the Jupiter Beach Resort and Spa with my sister-in-law; at only 40, she’s beaten breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and a heart attack, as well as countless residual conditions brought on by their “medical treatment,” AND she’s NEVER had a massage or pedicure, let alone the opportunity to visit a spa. It was a treat and a pleasure to share the day with her. I couldn’t imagine how life could be any better. Then, after too few fishing trips, beach days, Florida rain storms, and drinks at the Square Grouper, Scott and I flew to New Orleans and stepped onto a boat.
My husband had reservations. Had I not guilted him into it by posting a public note on his Facebook wall, we might not have gone. But I couldn’t resist. It was KID ROCK, for cryin’ out loud – we’ve followed him for 13 years, and he’s followed us (albeit unknowingly) for the past five. The boat set sail three days after my birthday – from NEW ORLEANS, a city I adore and will NEVER get enough of. And did I mention my best friend Vicki lives 45 minutes from there? It seemed like a no-brainer.
As with the undeniable, cosmic push to write CKR, I felt driven to go. And along the way, also like with writing CKR, I kept running into signs that convinced me I was doing what I was supposed to do. My husband thinks I’m crazy and has, on more than one occasion, told me to stop reading too much into things. But – back me up on this, all you CKR veterans – even skeptics can’t deny the unusual abundance and frequency of coincidences I’ve stumbled onto while writing and promoting this book. Remember, we traveled to Malta (that little, tiny island in the Mediterranean, just south of Sicily) to get AWAY from him – and he’d stayed in our freaking hotel! Case in point: When I booked our cabin on the cruise, most of the rooms were sold, so I had limited options. I picked the 8th floor because it’s my favorite single-digit number (which, for future reference, is part of my favorite double-digit one, 28), and the computer generated a list of rooms. I made a conscious effort to pick a number that had significance for BOTH of us – the cruise wasn’t just about me. I clicked on Room 8384, because I graduated high school in ’83, and Scott graduated in ’84. The confirmation popped up: 8383.
Our first Kid Rock sightings occurred at the port terminal. From the second-floor window, we watched his arrival curbside, then saw him enter the room upstairs. A few minutes later, we were maybe twenty feet away from Rev Run when he walked in (for those living under rocks, that’s Reverend Run, as in Run DMC). Immediately after embarkation – an experience we shared with a couple from Detroit who’d been on the previous year’s cruise – we stood in line and had our picture taken with the man, himself. He greets everyone. It happens fast and you barely have enough time to say “hi” and “have a nice cruise” before it’s over. But wrapping my arm around him was a thrill. As was speaking to him and feeling his hand on my shoulder. I was grateful the bar outside the door had Jack.
We followed that up with a visit to the Lobby Bar (which would become “Scott’s favorite bar”), where we ordered the first of many drinks and listened to Big Sam’s Funky Nation, a band out of New Orleans. We were instant fans. Shortly thereafter came our first Gretchen “THE Redneck Woman” Wilson sighting. We were at another bar, she and her family were chillin’ with the crowd on deck chairs by the pool. It was Mardi Gras night, so I was very glad my bag (and our beads) arrived before the evening’s concert started. After eight years, I finally got to wear that “Fuck You, You Fuckin’ Fuck” shirt I bought in the French Quarter.
Kid Rock and Twisted Brown Trucker played on the Lido Deck stage as the ship slowly sailed down the Mississippi River toward the Gulf of Mexico. We watched from the port side balcony, so we could see the sun set over Louisiana. When he played “Cowboy,” the first Kid Rock song I ever liked, the 3,000-person crowd joined him in shouting the weekend’s anthem of “I’m on a boat, motherfucker!” And I lost it. I turned my back to the crowd, grasped the railing, and sobbed. My brother’s first visit to Florida. Bonding with my sister-in-law. Watching my niece swim (and swim and swim and swim…) in our pool. The Big Easy. The boat. Kid Rock. I was on happiness overload. Getting it out felt good. A couple cruisers saw me and rushed over to give me a hug. I told them it was hormones. If they only knew.
Carlos Mencia has more of my undying devotion than he had before (you’re not a beaner, man, you’re a patron!). We fell in love with Heather Luttrell and The Rhythm Yard out of Atlanta. I’ve never seen ANYONE play a banjo like Zach Daniels, nor have I witnessed a drum performance quite like the one Chocolate Milk of the Funky Nation delivers. I’d like to see Drake White again. Watching Kid Rock and Rev Run perform “Walk This Way” was a highlight, as was being mooned by the whitest beaner ass we’ve ever seen, spending time with Li'l Jess, the author of "The Real Deal: Kid Rock" (we're gonna go a long way, baby!), and having our vows renewed – in the Rio Lounge along with about 100 other couples – by “The Honorable” Gretchen Wilson. That girl ROCKS! And I learned all you have to do in Cozumel to get fed shots and felt up by a hot chick is ask Juan.
Over the course of the weekend, we saw a few bands three or four times, some a couple, some only once. Kid Rock and TBT performed two free shows on the Lido Deck and two ticketed shows in the 1500-seat Rome Lounge (we picked Show 2 – Carlos wasn’t seated far from us). We saw him and other musicians frequently, mingling with the crowd and enjoying the cruise. Everyone was approachable. It was an incredible four days. I got drunk AND passed out early only one night, the last night, watching Heather, her dad, Zach, and The Rhythm Yard. I was really sorry I missed the last half of their show on account of my perceived invincibility – BUT very glad Scott got me safely to the room and went back to enjoy the remainder of the night.
Vicki met us in the Quarter Monday morning at Jax Brewery. We had café au laits and beignets at Café du Monde, walked INSIDE St. Louis Cathedral – a first for all of us – I had a hurricane at Pat O’Brien’s (because Scott and Vicki have better sense), we toured the Royal Sonesta’s courtyard and rockin’ bathrooms, had lunch at Acme Oyster House (I can’t begin to tell you how much I’d looked forward to a roast beef and gravy po-boy, and the gumbo – and the chargrilled oysters! Aaah!), then drove past Lake Pontchartrain to the outskirts of Baton Rouge to watch a little league baseball game (Go, Gilder!!) and enjoy the company of old friends. It was the perfect end to a perfect vacation.
Given the aforementioned 3,000 attendees, what are the odds – where have I heard that before? – of exiting the ship with the same couple you climbed aboard with? We took his business card. I’ll be sending them a note first thing in the morning. While Scott checked us in at the kiosk in the terminal, I wondered to myself if I’d done all the right things or if I’d been stupid to think any of it would be worth the effort. Glancing quickly at the Delta screen, I noted the current temperature in West Palm was 83 degrees. I smiled and thought, all the 83’s are nice, but it’s not the same as seeing my favorite number. Then the screen changed and I saw the temperature again, this time noticing both the Farenheit and Celsius numbers. Who knew 83F was the same as 28C? Our flight into Atlanta was uneventful. Our flight out took off from Runway 28. We passed a small sign with a number 8 on it as we accelerated.
I’m not fuckin’ crazy.
I won’t pretend to know what it all means, nor can I say with any guarantee I’m closer to publishing this book and selling more copies than Paris Hilton and her dog. But, the Carnival ship we sailed on was the TRIUMPH and, since those first four days back in ’06 when Kid Rock “chased” us from Fort Lauderdale to Orlando and Daytona, I’ve believed with all I am that SOMETHING is going on here. If you’d like to ride along, you’re welcome to – though I suggest you stick close … and hold on.
P.S. If I may, I’d like to wish my favorite soldier a HAPPY 25TH BIRTHDAY!! True, he’s home now, and safe, and not a soldier anymore, but that’s how I’ve been referring to my son for the past 4 years … plus, I’m still proud of him and old habits die hard. ;)
“CKR” Diary Post No. 59
Monday, April 25, 2011
Cruising around Facebook over the weekend, I noticed a Joe C. tribute page. Not familiar with who maintains it, but a few of my friends are mutual friends, so I clicked “Like” and spent some time reading wall posts and scanning videos. Then I read the “About” section (shown here with permission):
Joseph Calleja (November 9, 1974 in Taylor, Michigan – November 15, 2000 in Taylor, Michigan), better known as Joe C., was an American rapper of Maltese descent. He became popular as part of Kid Rock’s band.
Maltese. Really? Really.
As much as I’d like to separate my third book from the second, it seems the cosmos (continue to) have other ideas. SO, the historical novel I’ve set in Malta in the 1500’s will soon have a new character: Joseph Calleja. How could it not? The pressure’s on now to do him right.
In other news, I’ve stuck my neck out (aka bowed my head and slipped my tail between my legs) and sent messages to a couple “industry insiders.” One’s a musician we met on the cruise, the other’s an entertainment promoter who was on the cruise, but (like so many others I should have met) I didn’t meet her. It’s not the first time I’ve said “What the hell” and sent a message to someone. This time, however, I actually got a “real” answer, AND it was an offer to help. I almost fell out of my chair. Every other message-letter-email-FedEx-candygram I’ve sent to industry people has been ignored. Maybe I’m finally about to get somewhere. They’d like to read the manuscript first, which is appropriate and fine with me. That’s all I ask – and that’s all it’ll take, in my (sometimes not so) humble opinion; I wouldn’t be out here talking it up if it was crap.
Next step is to wait – while working on the Malta book, which I expect to do most of this week. That is, when I’m not taxiing the teenager to work (no car, long story) or running after the baby dog to retrieve the latest seat cushion or pillow or plant he’s dashed across the yard with. Hopefully, I’ll knock out a chapter or two while Scott’s out of town. Stranger things have happened. And it’s not like it’s unpleasant, sitting up here in the trees, listening to the owls and the wood ducks. I might just stay in the office ‘til Thursday. Wonder if the kids would notice? Something tells me they wouldn’t mind.
(to be continued ...)