I tried to take a nap today - just to catch up on some lost nights of sleep lately. It didn't happen, as I heard my cell phone ring and I got up to answer it. My friend, Laurie, had an extra ticket to a show, "In the Mood," playing at Emens Auditorium. I figured it would be fun, and I've been wanting to attend some of the local shows, but haven't bought tickets. Laurie's extra ticket would be fun!
What I didn't prepare for was the feeling of deja vu as I walked along the dark sidewalk from the parking garage to the auditorium. Tonight traffic was backed up as drivers let off their riders close to the front of Emens, and I recalled a few years ago - when Ray was singing there, and no one had planned for the traffic. You see, playing Emens here in town is a "big deal" and it's like the Horatio Alger stories, or "small town boy makes good." And although there were several times when Ray played there, I remember that first time, when the traffic was all over the place, when the staff was taken aback by the crowd that turned out for a big night - when Ray Boltz, local boy, packed out the hall.
I remember getting to be backstage, and I was used to being backstage for other events, other venues and halls. But this was Emens, and lots of friends and fans were there. I recall peeking out from the side curtains - It was like they all came for a party I was throwing! I felt like the hostess for the concert, and I was so proud of Ray. I always told the kids (we had 4, and their ages were spread out by 10 years) that they had to be good, that they were to act and dress appropriately. No kids of ours were going to be showing off (although they did) or embarrassing me (and yes, sometimes they did). I remember the guys in the band, the catered meal, and the dressing rooms (awfully small). I even remember when I wore some crazy red shoes to one of the concerts, and it looked so dumb in the photos I saw afterward.
All these memories and more came to mind as I walked up to the box office, took my seat in the turquoise-blue theater seats, and waited for the lights to dim. And I wondered, "Would they let Ray play now? Who'd come to hear him sing his songs now? Who of all those people would want a photo? Who would hear what God has to say through him now?" I would. I'd go, and I'd still be proud of Ray, still be his support and his friend.
Sometimes during the concert tonight it was hard not to recall the hall being FULL those times when Ray Boltz played Emens! Who knows? Maybe it will happen again, but if not, I think I will always feel those deja vu moments, and remember...
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2 years ago