Back when I had hair and two good knees, and the moon over Alabama ignored Daylight Savings Time, Celine Dion came into my life and into the life of my wife, Pat. Celine was set to appear at the 17,000 seat Civic Center in Birmingham. Pat did her usual end run around the throng fast breaking for tickets at Ticket Master and secured terrific seats close to the stage. There is something divine about the way Pat calmly stiff arms the competition for tickets. She learned these tricks while attending mandatory Chapel as an undergraduate at Samford University.
The date arrived for the concert and we had visions of Celine’s Titanic soundtrack soaring in our heads. Pat dressed for comfort but still looked sharp and chic. Me? No one looks at me when Pat is on my arm. I happily feel like the dude in pairs figure skating.
It was time to leave for the evening concert and we were stoked. We drove downtown and parked in a lot near the Civic Center. Much to Pat’s dismay, I motor to football games and concerts far ahead of kick offs and stage lights coming to life. We parked and waltzed into the Civic Center with a light crowd and eagerly presented our tickets. The clerk looked down at the tickets, blinked, looked again and came up for air. “You’re early,” she said, not quite stifling a laugh. Pat and I looked at our watches. “What do you mean?” “Celine does not appear until a year from now.” Pat stared at her ticket. I stared at my ticket. We were exactly 12 months early. Not ready to surrender, I asked, “Well, what’s going on tonight?” “Monster trucks,” the clerk said. “Monster trucks.”
Before you judge, remember this. Pat is married to me. Nothing is without challenge. We saw, and loved, Celine a year later to the hour. What a country.