Sunday, January 26, 2014

Barbara Beth Shelton

She was always there...birthdays, holidays, graduations, weddings, new babies, funerals. If it was a special day, Aunt Barbara always made it a point to be there. You know what I’m talking about, she was there for you too, wasn’t she? Bringing food (maybe her peach cobbler or a pie), lending an ear, crying with you, or celebrating with you. If something needed to be done, she just did it. 

What a life. Barbara lived life to it’s fullest and gave of herself every day.

She was the first child of Bessie and Glen Phifer. With a head full of blond curly hair (which was later red), she ran the Maple Leaf neighborhood of rural Stevens County. And down the road less than a mile was her best friend, Karen. Those two would often cover 5-6 miles while playing on a nice summer day.

Of course, her younger brother, John, was also likely to tag along. In fact, she once even took him to school in the first grade for show and tell. From the time they were very young, Barb and John had a special relationship. She loved him so much and he loved her too.

And Ginger came along shortly after. Between the three of them, they had a ball playing on the farm. What a beautiful family--a picture perfect family of the 1950s. It was a wonderful childhood…until their daddy died. Way too young, the grandfather I never knew was ripped from his children’s lives.  And Barb stepped up. She was the oldest, after all, and she helped raise her younger siblings. 

And the Aunts helped, too. Barbara had such a special relationship with her daddy’s sisters. They could get her to do just about anything when she was a little girl...and they would laugh and laugh. They were so much fun that Barbara, Karen, and Mom (Ginger) would play a game called “Irma, Wanza, and Gladys”. They would pick which one they wanted to be and act like them. Oh...if we had only had iPhones back in the day. What fun it would be to see them play and imitate the women they so admired. 

The kids were always involved with the farm. John remembers vividly one day when he and Barbara were each on a fender of the tractor as their Uncle Glen plowed the field and their daddy rode on back. All of a sudden, Barb fell off and should’ve been ran over. But somehow, the tractor was stopped in time. It was a miracle. And John has always remembered that day and how close he came to losing his sister. 

And when they were older, he has fond memories of hunting and dripping (kids, ask your folks what THAT was all about!) with Barb and their friend, Earl, in tow. 

At 15, the young man she was dating was this handsome Earl Shelton. One day he picked up John in his car and they went to town. You see, Earl had purchased an engagement ring for Barb who was at a friend’s house. As they drove by the house, Barb was outside. Earl rolled down the window and threw the ring to her...and just kept driving. But he only drove around the block because he had to come back by to see if her answer was “yes”. The ring on her finger and the smile on her face was answer enough for Earl. They were married a month before Barb’s 16th birthday. 

Barb and Earl were blessed with three ornery, accident-prone boys--Terry, Mike, and Rick. Poor Barb, that’s a lot of testosterone in one house! 

One of Mike’s first memories of his mother was being rocked by her as she watched the news one day. Barb was upset and so were the people on the TV. Mike asked her what was wrong and she told him that President Kennedy had been shot. He was four. 

Each of their three boys, at some point in his life, would break his leg--his left leg. Thank goodness Barb was a nurse. We were trying to figure out just how long Barb worked as a nurse. Although she retired from the hospital after 24 years, she had worked at Pioneer Manor as both a volunteer and then a nurse prior to that. And wouldn’t you know it, after she retired she continued to volunteer. In fact she fixed hair on a regular basis for the women in Pioneer Manor up until very recently. 

But she was also a regular caregiver to her grandchildren whom she loved dearly. Those grandkids were as comfortable in grandma’s home as they were in their own. They loved to visit her, stay with her, and go places with her. And when she needed a caregiver, those grandkids were there to take care of her. The boys--Terry, Mike, and Rick--well, they have some pretty amazing kids. What fun it is to listen to those kids talk about camping with their grandparents, giggling fits where nobody even knew what they were laughing about, and road trips. 

Speaking of road trips, Barb learned to drive young. Karen’s parents weren’t as brave. But one day she talked her dad into letting her and Barb go for a drive. Her dad gave them exactly 1 ½ hours. That’s it. And they could drive 15 miles per hour. So they headed out...and they felt so big in their manual shift International pickup that would often die when Karen had to release the clutch. 

As they were making their way home from their long trip (I’m sure they got pretty far at 15 miles per hour!), the two girls got to gawking about something in the distance...and, sure enough, ended up in the sandy ditch. And that pickup was not moving. 

“My dad’s going to kill me,” said Karen. “What are we going to do?” 

“Well,” said Barb. “I guess you’re going to die.” 

But a farmer came along and pulled the girls out with his tractor...and he never told Karen’s dad about the incident. So...she got to live. 

Barb did know tragedy. Besides losing her father at the tender age of 13, she also lost her son, Terry, and her grandson, Jerimy, in an accident that forever changed her life and the lives of many others. One never gets over something like that, and she always carried them around in her heart. I wondered as I sat beside her hospital bed this past week, if Terry was waiting excitedly to welcome his momma home. To her real home, her TRUE home. 

Mandy, Jared and Jesse were so young when we lost Terry. It hurts so badly to look at a child and know that they will never really know their daddy. Barb understood that. And she also understood how her own dad’s family made sure that she and John and Ginger always knew they were Phifers. And in the very same way, she reached out to Mandy, Jared, and Jesse to make sure that they always knew that they were Sheltons. 

Those kids looked so forward to time spent with their grandparents, uncles, and cousins. Once when they were out, they got the idea in their heads that if they ate spinach like Popeye, they would be strong just like Popeye. Their goal was to get strong enough to go out and lift Grandpa’s pickup. So Barb made them spinach. And they hated it. But they ate it...and they ate enough that they were just sure they were strong enough to go out and lift that pickup. 

So they went out to the shed. You know how you can lift up on a pickup and it will come up just a bit due to the suspension system? When those boys lifted on that pickup, it came up. And they were wide-eyed! The next couple of hours they spent lifting and lowering that pickup, enjoying their newfound strength. 

And the other grandchildren felt just as special. Katie and Kinze loved playing at Grandma’s house. In fact, one day they just had a ball drawing at her the bathroom….on the mirror...with lipstick...with every single color of lipstick that Barb had. The girls learned something important that day--Grandma could spank. And they never forgot it. 

Barb was an amazing home-maker. In fact, Mike and Rick even remember their folks bringing steaks out to the field and grilling them up right out there in the wheat or corn stubble. Her laugh was magical. She hated raisins. She said they looked like little bugs. And if you ever ate raw dough in front of her, she would tell you that you were going to get worms! Barb loved playing cards. In fact, when scolding the grandkids for staying out too late, the kids could often scold her right back (lovingly) because they had seen her vehicle down at the Senior Center until after midnight. 

About fifteen years ago, Barb fought and beat cancer. The courage and strength with which she faced that battle was inspirational. And her valiant fight allowed her to meet and spend time with her first great-grandkids. 

Little Gavin was a special joy for her. I think many were hoping that she would get to meet baby Ady before she left us. Have no fear, she will watch Ady grow and she will meet her when the time is right. We have an amazing God who is reminding us of the joy of new life even as we mourn the loss of a life lived so richly. Katie and Diego, we will all help your daughter get to know their grandma by keeping her memory alive through our stories and through the impact she had on each of our lives. And that goes for every future great grandchild that God intends to bless this family with. 

You may know that recently Barbara was named, “Woman of the Year.” But what you probably don’t know is how much her friends had to lie to her that night to surprise her with this honor! Barb and her girlfriends (including Karen) met for dinner once a week. And it just so happened that it was on their regular night. But they had a heck of time getting her to dress up to go to Nietos. 

“Let’s dress up tonight to go out and eat.” 

“Dress up for Nietos? Why?” 

“Oh, it will be fun. We’re all doing it. Put a dress on.” 

And she did...and they went out to Nietos. When they left, Barb asked, “Where are you going?” 

“Oh, let’s just ride around for a while.” 

They drove by the First Christian Church and Barb said, “I wonder what’s going on at the church?” 

And Karen said, “I think it’s a craft fair or something. Let’s see.” 

But once they got in, Barb understood that she had been duped. And she turned to Karen and said “You lied to me!” 

Yep...Karen lied. All her friends lied to her that night. But they were so thrilled to see her receive recognition for her lifetime of hard work. You see, it had to be a surprise. Barb was humble. She didn’t seek recognition. She had a servant’s heart...a big heart. 

Mom told me the other day, “When Barb and I would go away for the weekend, Barb would have to call three or four people to fill in for her in different places.” Then she looked at me, “There’s a lot of people filling in right now.” 

Yes. Yes, there are. But we know that those shoes can never be filled, don’t we. 

Thank you, Barb, for being an example of a strong woman, a caring woman, a selfless woman. 

Mom and Barb’s toast on birthdays and every new year was always the same. And I hope you will all take it to heart, just as they do. “May you live as long as you want to, and want to as long as you live.”

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Music Room

This morning as I was driving my twins to middle school, "Good Vibrations" was playing on the oldies station.  The kids often get quizzed on their musical knowledge when riding in the vehicle with mom.  And I asked, "Do you know who this is?"

"No." (Along with eye rolls and maybe a twinge of irritation in the voice.)

"What?!" And then I decided to give them some help.  "Their initials are B.B."


"You don't know who this is? Come on."  ( I am singing along.)

Still nothing.

"It's the Beach Boys. Have you heard of the Beach Boys?"

At least I got a "yes" from that last question. But I realized that on some level of parenting, I have failed.

Driving home alone afterwards, I thought about my love of the Beach Boys when I was young. We had a "music room" in our house. Eventually this became my own bedroom, but up until I was twelve it was reserved for music...and business. Dad's desk was in there.  But, you know, music and my dad have always went together. This was a good combination.

The room housed dad's desk and file cabinets...but also the piano and a massive entertainment center that covered the south wall. It had everything you could want--record and 8-track players, a radio, huge speakers, and an amazing collection of tape and vinyl.

How many hours did I spend as a child flipping through those record covers and selecting songs? How many hours did my parents spend doing the same? It seems there was always music floating through the house.

Of course, back then we couldn't just select a playlist and walk away to enjoy hours of music in the background of our day. Listening to music was intentional and time-consuming.

Select the record (I can still visualize many of those old album covers.), wait for the previous song to finish, carefully lift the needle, stop the turntable, remove the old record, put the record carefully back in its album sleeve, carefully remove the new record from its sleeve, place it on the turntable, select the appropriate speed for the record, find the track for the song you wish to hear, carefully lower the needle onto the blank groove prior to the song, and wait with anticipation through the snap and pop of vinyl background noise. While listening...start hunting for the next tune you want to hear in the vast collection of albums.

Hours and hours of pleasure! I was so certain that I would be a singer one day.

So, I had my own little collection of 45 singles and full-length albums...including the Beach Boys as well as Jan and Dean. (I was thrilled in college when I got to see Jan and Dean live at Worlds of Fun!)

The music room eventually became my bedroom while the music collection moved out to the living room area. But my room was still always full of music because my parents had instilled that love of song deep within me.

Albums gave way to cassettes. Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee, and Elvis gave way to Prince and Bruce who gave way to a multitude of hair bands.

And (too soon) I left my sweet little music room which had been such a huge and special part of my childhood.

But often in my mind I find myself back in our home at 109 Adams with the music loud and another vinyl record in my hands waiting for the song to finish.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Concert of a Lifetime

At a little after 4:30 on Saturday, November 17, as we (my sister--Lisa, my husband--Todd, my daughter--Tana, and I) stood in line with our bracelets that identified us as numbers 68, 69, 70, and 71 with about a thousand people who were participating in the general admission lottery system, they finally drew the number of the person who would be first to go into the barricaded area in front of the stage. They were going to allow 500 people in that area. When they drew 54, a shout went up in our section and we looked at each other with shocked faces.  There were hugs, high fives, and multiple congratulations to and from strangers...along with some tears.

At that point, we entered the building--the 14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th people to enter. As we very, very slowly made it around the building (this long line of sequentially numbered people) we listened to the band do it's sound checks. Pretty soon, that included the sweet sound of Mr. Springsteen himself.

But by the time we finally entered the seating area, the stage was clear. We were walked down to the barricade area in an empty stadium. And we walked right up to the railing at the stage.

With lots of time to kill, we struck up a conversation with the couple beside us--Mike and Stephanie.  They had flown in from New Jersey for the concert and were not part of the lottery system. They had connections. I'm not exactly sure what Stephanie's health issues are, but I would guess cerebral palsy. Before the lights were turned down, a security guard came down and handed them their backstage passes. From my conversations with her, it was apparent that she was part of the family.

We waited and visited and took pictures and waited some more.  Finally at 8:30, the lights went out and the band began to take the stage.  Of course, even with the lights down we could see everything going on.  And when the stage lights came on, Bruce was at the front microphone.

They started with the song, "Kansas City". The set list also included 2) Prove It All Night 3) Candy's Room 4) She's the One 5) Hungry Heart 6) We Take Care of Our Own 7) Wrecking Ball 8) Death to My Hometown 9) My City in Ruins 10) The E Street Shuffle 11) Fire 12) Incident on 57th Street 13) Because the Night 14) Cover Me 15) Downbound Train 16) I'm on Fire 17) Shackled and Drawn 18) Waitin' on a Sunny Day 19) Raise Your Hand 20) The Rising 21) Badlands 22) Land of Hopes and Dreams 23) Light of Day 24) My Beautiful Reward 25) Born to Run 26) Dancing in the Dark 27) Santa Claus is Coming to Town 28) Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out.

During that very first song, he made a point to catch Stephanie's eye, smile, and mouth something to her.  After his first harmonica solo, he walked up to her and got down on his knees in front of us to hand her his harmonica. Yes, I put my hand on his thigh at this point...I simply couldn't help myself. Throughout the concert he would point and smile at her, mouth something to her, or walk over beside her. It was very sweet and I found his concern and care for this young lady to be endearing.

With Bruce standing 10-15 feet in front of me for 90% of the concert, I completely forgot that there were thousands of people behind me. (I turned around and snapped this photo before the concert began.) It felt like a private show.

Honestly, my mind was almost numb. It was surreal. I don't even feel like I can recall it very well but my mind keeps replaying pieces of it over and over again. It's a strange thing. I hope that in time it is all processed and I remember it more sequentially. In fact, I took several days to post this because it has been so hard for me to wrap my mind around the whole event.

Completely unconcerned about being a pretty boy, he often blew his nose right onto the stage (Todd calls this a "farmer's blow"). I heard Tana exclaim, "Gross!" more than once.  Between songs he would go dip his face in cold water.  He was sweaty, soaked, snotty, and didn't seem to care a bit. It was all about his music and pleasing his fans.

For part of one song, I don't even know which one right now, he held my hand as he walked by me.  You should know that Todd was quick to point out, "I think that was his snot hand."

When "Dancing in the Dark" was played, he is famous for allowing women on the stage to dance with him. He pointed out a girl and her mother behind us. In fact, they got on the stage in front of me--I was pushing them up as he was pulling them on stage. Yes, we completed a task together. Ha!

I was disappointed with the setlist at the time. There were some songs that I so badly wanted to see and hear. However, as I look at the list now, I realize that it was an amazing concert. With the repertoire of songs that this band has recorded and performed, there is no way that they can possibly play everyone's favorites. In fact, we met a guy from Madrid in line that has been to ten different shows on this tour and assured us that every show is a new experience.

You would never guess that this man is 63 years old.  He crowd surfed during "Born to Run" from the middle of the floor back to the stage, he jumped up and down from the piano, and he squatted down and leaned back clear to the floor and then picked himself back a young man. Of course, his face and body have aged.  However, several times throughout the evening I caught glimpses of a young Bruce when he would lose himself in a song or be simply caught up in the joy of his music. Those moments brought tears to my eyes. Yes, you can tell that he loves his music and his fans. How else could he keep up the rigorous tour of 2012 with it's record length shows and world travel?

Will I go again one day? I hope so. Although I realize that the experience I had a few days ago will never be repeated, I also realize that I would enjoy the perspective of distance where I would see the whole show and not just be focused on Bruce. (There were other band members on stage?)

And besides that, maybe I'd get to hear a little Johnny 99, Seeds, or Darlington County.  (Sigh...)

Friday, July 15, 2011

The End is Near

I don't remember who recommended that first Harry Potter book to me, but I know I was mesmerized.  The amazing detail of Harry's fantastical wizarding world had me totally spellbound (pun intended) from the very beginning.

Over the next 13 years, I was constantly anticipating that next book or that next movie.  I remember purchasing one book on the way to the lake and having it almost finished before we got home.  Another book was purchased on the day it came out in an airport bookstore on the way to some educational conference somewhere.  What a great way to spend an airplane ride or two!

That first book came out the year my babies were born...1998.  How many late nights, doctor waiting rooms, afternoons at the pool, and long rides did Harry and his magical friends help me endure? 

Not only that...but I also discovered them in audio format.  Have you ever listened to the audio books?  The narration is beautiful with a British accent that makes them so darn charming.  Miles and miles have been put on my vehicles going to and from meetings with the drama of Snape and the silliness of the Weasley twins occupying my thoughts.

As the movies have come out, I have been delighted with the directors' abilities to put on the screen the pictures that were in my head.  Yes, they have had to cut them down...leaving out precious details here and there, and yet I'm always "Wow-ed". 

And it's ending.

This young man and his friends that have been a part of our lives for 13 years are leaving us with only the memories.  We've loved some.  We've despised some.  We misunderstood many at one time or another.  They made us laugh.  They made us think.  They broke our hearts.  They gave us hope.

In the meantime, my son graduated high school, then went off to college and the Navy.  My toddler transformed into a beautiful teenager. (She attended the midnight viewing last night with her friends. They only know life with a new Harry Potter adventure just around the corner!)  My twins were born and have grown into Junior High kids. 

What a perfect time in my life to have such magical company!

What a bittersweet day as I say a much anticipated goodbye to my friends.

Thank you for the memories, Harry.  I look forward to introducing you to my grandchildren one day.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Rock 'n' Roll Quizzes

Today I took the kids to celebrate Great Grandma Tucker's 93rd birthday at a lunch at the Carriage Crossing in Yoder.  We met her, Grandma Tyler, Aunt Della, and Aunt Johnie for a nice visit.

On the way there, the kids were particularly quiet.  We were running late (as usual).  Annie listened to her iPod, Tana texted, and Andy...well, Andy did whatever it is that he does in his quietness.

After lunch I took them to see mom's office and meet my coworkers, grabbed some paperwork, and we headed home.  However, this time we put some effort into finding a song on the radio.  And that's when it started....The Quiz.

I'm sure Heath suffered through many rounds of this little game when he was growing up as well.  If mom finds a good "classic rock" radio station, it will inevitably happen.

A song starts, the lightbulb comes on in my head, and I have to sing along.  "Do you know who this is?"  If they have to think a while, I just keep singing along.

Sometimes they need hints:  "What's the initials?"  Sometimes they ask the song name.  Is it an artist or a band?  They have actually gotten pretty good at this little game and often surprise me.

The first one today was Rock Me (one of my very favorite songs) by Great White.  They couldn't get this one.  In fact, I don't think they had ever heard the song.  However, they liked it.  Well, of course they did.

And then it happened.

All of a sudden I was a kid again.  I think my family was camping somewhere because we were all in the pea green Ram Charger.  Dad and mom were in front while us kids were piled in the back.  Lisa had to be very, very young.

My dad had the radio tuned to a good station and after each song started he asked, "Do you know who this is?"  I remember listening very hard to try to figure it out, comparing the voice to all of the music that I knew as a child.  And each time I was sure I was right when I would say, "It's Elvis!"  They would laugh and I would be wrong...again.  But with the next song, I was just sure I would be right.  I wonder how many times I guessed the singer to be Elvis that night.  Surely I was eventually right.

Then the memory was gone and I was back in my own vehicle with my own kids.  But I shared this memory with them.

We heard lots of songs and they made lots of guesses over the next 50 miles.  Some of them they got right...ZZ Top, Rolling Stones, even Tom Petty!  And others they didn't....the Eagles (really?!), CCR, and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

But Tana said it best during Proud Mary when she stated, "I like the Elvis version better." Ha...most people don't even realize that Elvis ever sang this as a cover.

That's my girl.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Make Me Laugh

This evening I watched Julie and Julia with my mother-in-law. She gave us a scare this week when her blood pressure shot up. After bringing her home from the hospital, resting, and making her dinner, it was nice to enjoy a chick flick…just the two of us.

When I was a kid, Julia Child’s TV show was common entertainment in our house. I don’t know why it appealed to my sisters and me, but it did. There was something about the combination of food, her personality, and the sound of her voice that made us tune in…and want to imitate her.

There were many nights when we were young that all of us girls would pile into one bed. I remember a time in particular that mom pushed the twin beds together in Susan and my room so that we had one king-size bed. Casy, the oldest, had her own room (with her own bathroom!) and Lisa, the baby, had her own room (with horrible pastel-striped shag carpet) while Susan and I shared a large room between them.

Our favorite bedtime game was one that we made up. It was called, “Make Me Laugh.” One of us would stand at the end of the bed and try to make the rest of us laugh. Whoever laughed first went next. We told dumb jokes, sang goofy songs, acted like clowns, and Susan would pretend to be Julia.

She had the imitation nailed! But what really made it funny was Susan’s own little twist. As Julia, Susan would pretend to steal nips from the cooking sherry. If you’ve ever heard Julie Child’s unique voice, it’s easy to imagine it belonging to someone who is half inebriated. Susan would really play it up…and, oh, we would laugh.

Right before Lisa went into the Navy, we all met in Hugoton to spend time with Dad and Mom. While there we went in to Raycolor to get a “sister” picture taken. As we were driving back out to the house that afternoon in dad’s pickup, Susan spoke up, “Those pictures aren’t going to be very good.” Casy asked, “What? Why not?” Susan’s response was, “Well, I didn’t smile.” We were all confused. Casy asked, “Why didn’t you smile?” None of us will never forget Susan’s answer. As serious as a heart-attack she said, “They didn’t say anything funny.” A moment of dead silence passed as we all processed this bit of information, and then the three of us burst out laughing. It is one of our favorite private jokes.

Apparently the years of making each other laugh spoiled Susan. Maybe we should’ve given her a few nips of cooking sherry first.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Let There Be Rock

I knew it was a CD, of course, before I pulled off the paper. After all, it was the right shape and size. Todd looked pretty excited for me to open it, too. Hmmmm. When I unwrapped it, the new AC/DC Ironman II CD (don’t forget the bonus DVD video footage!) was in my hands. Todd reached out and grabbed it, “Let me see! Oh look, there’s a little book and pictures!” He was all over it. Music blared from different CD players throughout the day as Todd worked on his different projects. The next morning as I was headed to work I texted him, “Where’s my CD?” His response, “In my pickup.” And a minute later, “Oops.” Tuesday morning, however, when I turned the ignition, Bon Scott was screaming at me in time with the guitars and drums.

In 1986 “Who Made Who” along with the Stephen King movie, “Maximum Overdrive”, was released. I’m a huge Stephen King fan so when it came to the Showtime Theater in Hugoton, I was there. Now I was raised with three sisters but my parents were introduced by Gary and Janice Porter so our families grew up together. Jim was the closest thing I had to a brother. As kids we played baseball, fished, swam, and often pretended we were the Six-Million-Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman. As teens, I remember when he got that powder blue step-side Ford. I think he drove it straight to my house to show me. Well, he offered to go with me to the show. As I think back, I’m sure he was more interested in the soundtrack than the movie itself. And I became an overnight AC/DC fan.

Julie and I made lots of trips to Liberal in those years. During one trip soon after purchasing the AC/DC album that first caught my attention, I decided to buy an older release. So the second addition to my AC/DC collection was “Let There Be Rock”. As we drove home, I had it cranked up (as usual). After all that loud music (my dad was great at picking vehicles with awesome stereo systems) you would think that I would be hard of hearing. Julie often got tired of the blaring guitars but I didn’t take kindly to people messing with my volume knob. I remember pulling into the drive, turning off the pickup, and Julie and I both commenting something like, “That sucks.” Then laughing. But, that cassette often ended up playing on those crazy high school weekends…and we soon knew the tunes and the words.

My life took some unexpected turns over the next several years. When Tiff caught up with me in college and talked me into getting a babysitter and going out with the girls, I’ll never forget cruising to the Golden Q in her red 1988 TransAm with “Thunderstruck” vibrating our seats. For the first time in a while, I felt young and alive. Little did I know that within the last several months she had went to see AC/DC in concert with my future husband and his buddies. She introduced us to each other on a blind date a few months later.

They had gone to the “Razor’s Edge” concert in Manhattan. I’m not sure who all was with them but I’m pretty sure of Andy (Jack), Jeff (Macster), Wade (Hipper) Todd, Todd’s girlfriend (I won’t name names to avoid embarrassing her), and Tiffany. There may have been others but, of course, I was not around yet. The Scrüe made their way to the front row. Brian, Angus, Malcolm, and Cliff were close enough to drip sweat on them occasionally. Somehow (and honestly I don’t want the details) Todd ended up with his girlfriend’s black, lacy, strapless bra in his hands. After getting Brian’s attention, he threw it up to him. Mr. Johnson wiped the sweat off his face and threw it back to Todd. The poor girl’s underwear immediately became a trophy and hung on his dorm wall until she came to get it after they broke up.

This past year when I saw that AC/DC was coming to Kansas City right after Todd’s birthday, I bought the perfect present--tickets. Sadly, I can’t keep a good secret so he found out pretty quickly. After waiting through a six-month postponement, we walked into the Sprint Center.  Although there was an opening act, it was completely unnecessary.  They took the stage and "they, they, they blew our minds." As we watched and sang and danced, memories flooded both of our minds. When they played their new song, “Big Jack”, I looked over and tears were streaming down Todd’s face. How can it be that music can touch you so deeply that you can completely relive moments from your past? We weren’t just there with Kris and Lisa, all of our friends were there with us…grinning like fools.

Tonight as I tore down wallpaper, Todd came in and said, “Hey, do you want to watch the AC/DC special bonus DVD while you’re doing that?” “Sure,” I said. Throughout the next hour or so, I listened and sang and stopped to watch every now and then. But my favorite part of the evening was periodically glancing at Todd to see him mesmerized by the live footage and smiling at his own memories.

And it came to pass that rock 'n' roll was born.
All across the land every rockin' band was blowin' up a storm.
And the guitar man got famous. The business man got rich.
And in every bar there was a superstar with a seven-year itch.
There was fifteen million fingers learnin' how to play,
And you could hear the fingers pickin' and this is what they had to say…

…Let there be rock

--Bon Scott, 1977