fanatic: a person with excessive and single-minded zeal, especially for an extreme religious or political cause. Synonyms include: zealot, extremist, militant, dogmatist, devotee.
I’m not sure the six of us qualify under the strict definition of “fanatic” but you may have noticed how often we include Ellen Degeneres and Melissa McCarthy in our posts? We identify with the laughter and the joy these women inspire. And it’s just hilarious to imagine that somehow six women from a small rather quiet town in southwest Florida could make a pilgrimage that would end with a handshake or a meeting or a hug from these busy gals. Our cause is not religious or political. We are simply STORY GATHERERS. Story Tellers. Story Makers. No matter what happens…we will have a story at the end of this. But my money is on the hug. It’s Patty’s dream…You may say she’s a dreamer. But she’s not the only one.
You see, we’re experienced. We’ve all got stories already. The gals responded enthusiastically to the call for stories. “Have you ever met a celebrity?”
Trudi attended Jean Smart’s wedding, and Delta Burke stepped on her toe. Are you kidding me?! The Designing Women dream team of Jean and Delta! And she met Bob Hope in Korea at a USO show back in the day. And cutest ever…she met Walter Lantz who created Woody Woodpecker and has a autographed drawing to prove it.
Patti T texted to say that she has a bathroom story. Yes, if you are a celebrity publicist these are the stories you guard against. Sure enough, celebs go to the bathroom. And if you enter a bathroom at a bar in Aspen, Colorado and two women are huddled closely and whispering, you definitely ask them what is up. Patti did. And they gestured to the third stall. “Barbara Mandrell is in there!”
Julie and her husband were at an Inn in upstate New York when they began unpacking their suitcases back in the mid 1990s. In the drawer was a generously apportioned pair of ladies panties. There is no rule book for such things. Julie called the front desk to let them know that there were some personal items in the room that had been left by the previous guest. The front desk enthusiastically informed her that Nell Carter had stayed in the room the previous night. Huge. Lol.
John Cusack wasn’t that nice both times, but Jennifer Beal let Patty and Jane pet her dog that same day in New Orleans during a John Grisham movie filming. And the Facts of Life cast was really nice to Jane when they met up in Paris when Jane discovered them while they were filming The Facts of Life Europe Special. Wish they had shown more interest in meeting up later on for coffee.
Jean rocked our world with her story. As previously stated, women talk in the bathroom. Jean overheard the news that Kevin Costner was in the restaurant and heeded the call…the call to investigate! From her vantage at the water fountain she had a perfect view and remained hydrated all night!
Julie once saw Janet Reno in an airport. That lady is tall! And while on a family vacation in Madrid Julie’s daughters ran into the hotel lounge to announce to their parents that “the guy from Spy Kids is at our hotel!” The world cup soccer game on tv was abandoned by Julie, but not her husband, and Julie brought her camera. Sure enough, Antonio Banderas was IN THE HOUSE! As they answered his charming questions about their lives, the daughters waited patiently for their mom to figure out how to work the family camera. Julie never did figure out how to speak. It was completely beyond her. And the pictures were really terrible.
Actually that’s not true. He looked great in all of them.
As usual, Patty’s story eclipses all. Patty begged her friends and sister Jane to attend a Billy Joel concert in Tampa or St. Pete years ago. As usual Jane agreed to yet another Patty Adventure. In fact, it seems that this whole Route 66 adventure is due to Jane’s taking up the charge and following through on Patty’s idea. They are a great team. Even back at the Billy Joel concert Jane was riding shotgun. They had terrible seats. Somehow “Billy Joel’s people” came up to them and offered them seats down front. Skeptical, but hopeful, they agreed and ended up in the second row. HUGE. 1980’s. Christie Brinkley days. OMG.
Ever attended a concert and felt like someone was singing directly to you? Well, it was true this time. And Patty seized the moment. Jane says “all of a sudden Patty was gyrating, and I didn’t know what she was up to…” This was followed closely by Patty handing her bra to her sister Missy who threw the bra on stage. Billy Joel took the bra and hung it from the mike. Yup.
And when Billy Joel moved over to the piano he moved that bra to the piano. And back.
For many that would have been the end of the story, but about a year later Billy Joel came back to south Florida for some sort of talk he gave at University of South Florida. Patty grabbed a reluctant Jane and off they went! He delighted the crowd with an interactive Q and A, and Patty and Jane snuck outside to see if they could negotiate a “chance encounter” outside as he left. Sure enough, there was a Black Lincoln Town Car near the back exit to the building. A crowd gathered. As Billy Joel drove away minutes later he stopped and shook hands with only one member of the crowd. Patty. If Patty had somehow reminded him that she had offered (and he had accepted) her bra just a year before…perhaps this story would have ended differently. Our Patty was struck mute. She was absolutely speechless. She says she could not think of a single thing to say….As it was, something in the handshake precipitated the sad break up of Christie Brinkley and Billy Joel a few months later. True story.
Off we go, in search of more stories. Ellen. Melissa.
And then while we’re away, we’ll write home every day…and send all our loving to you!