I did something really fun one July night, a few days after my birthday. I was able to attend a “Mark Chesnutt” concert in the town of Mankato, Minnesota. He is one of my favorite artists and it was a great performance. He is a real pro with 14 No. 1 hits, 23 top ten singles, four platinum albums and five gold records, while at the same time being a very humble, down to earth man. The concert was out doors in a arena made of stone much like the old Roman amphitheaters and did not have seats, you just sat on a stone slab, unless you were smart enough to bring your own lawn chair, which I wasn’t. My wife couldn’t make it, so I went with two of my boys.
Sitting beside me on the stone slab was a beautiful girl in her mid 20’s and on the other side of her was her huge husband. He would make two of me, and I am not exactly petite. They were talking a lot about American football and I gathered that he had played a lot in his day. They had also been drinking a lot. He left to go get another round of drinks, which they didn’t really need and she suddenly noticed me sitting beside her. She was really pretty, slim and tan with beautiful big blue-green eyes. Suddenly she whirled towards me (noses nearly touching, looking into her beautiful blue-green eyes) and said, “Do you like whiskey?”
“Aaaa… yes I do.” I answered. (Thinking, that’s real normal.)
She went on, speaking like a machine gun, ”What do you like? Royal Crown is my drink, I can’t live without Royal Crown and soda, it has to have soda in it, but do you know what happened? We went to the booze tent and the Royal Crown didn’t come in, it didn’t come in! The only other Canadian whiskey they had was Lord Calvert, and Lord Calvert sucks compared to Royal Crown. The bar lady felt really bad, though so every time I get a drink, she gives me a double whiskey for the same price. This is my third double.” Taking a big drink of the pale blue liquid in her glass. (That explains a few things, I thought)
“I like Jack Daniel's .” I answered.
She reloaded the machine gun and told about her job... everything about her job, she was trying to get promoted but had not been able to, and didn’t know why except that she was from Wisconsin, and the boss was maybe prejudice against people from Wisconsin, or it could be some other girls were stabbing her in the back. They do that all the time.
Spinning back to me nose to nose. Did I mention she was really pretty?
“What do you do?” she asked.
I told her that I ran the distillation equipment in the largest ethanol plant in Minnesota and I made over 300 gallons of ethanol per minute, 24-7.
“It’s like vodka that will burn in your car.”
“300 gallons a minute!” she said in awe.
I could tell that I had achieved instant hero status.
There was an awkward 10 seconds of silence, then she whirled around again and said, ”Do you like football?”
“Well, I like it but I’m not a fanatic.”
“That’s what I am! A fanatic! I couldn’t live without football in my life. My husband, Gary, played a lot of football. Did you see how big he is, he played college football - defensive tackle for Northwestern, do you know where Northwestern is? ”
“In the northwestern part of the state?”, I said wisely.
“Yes! You do know football! When Gary was in his junior year they won the national championship! (that is like the Super Bowl of college football) Gary has the state record for the most tackles in one game. He was drafted by the pros - the Pittsburg Steelers.”
“Really, I wouldn’t want to make him mad”, I said thoughtfully.
She went on, ”Then the dam fool went skiing. Hit a tree so hard he broke his ankle. They had to put a steel pin in it, football career over just like that! You can’t play football with a steel pin holding your foot on! He should be a Pro making millions … and he is selling cars for a living”.
“I’m sorry, it must be very frustrating for him.” I said with sympathy.
“Oh, he’s frustrated all right”, she said rolling her beautiful eyes. “Here he comes with the drinks!”
She grabs her forth double from Gary and they immediately start an animated discussion / argument over whether Minnesota or Wisconsin has the better college football program. I don’t know if I am a part of the conversation or even understand it, but she glances my way for support .
I glance at the stage hoping the band will appear soon and change the subject.
At last we hear “Ladies and Gentleman….. Mark Chesnutt” and the crowd goes wild.
Now she screams “I want to dance! I want to dance in front of the stage for Mark! Come on Gary.”
Gary, ”I’m not dancing”
“Come on, Gary, ! I want to dance in front of the stage for Mark!”
“No, I’m not dancing! If we go down there someone will take our seats. Besides, my ankle hurts.”
“If you don’t dance with me I’ll dance with someone else!”
I pretend not to here this.
Suddenly she whirled towards me (noses nearly touching, looking into her beautiful blue-green eyes; long, slim, tan legs nearly in my lap, Gary towering over us) and said, “You will dance with me, wont you?!”
“I don’t think so, I’m really not much of a dancer”, I said quietly.
She spins around and snarls at Gary, ”He says that HE will dance with me if you don’t! Are you going to dance or not?”
I am quickly evaluating every possible escape route, and wondering if that steel pin slows him down much.
Gary, ”I don’t want to lose our seats!”.
"Then we will get someone to save them"
She turns to me and says sweetly,” You will save our seats for us, won’t you?”
“Hell yes ! I’ll save your seats for you! You two go dance up a storm and if anybody even looks at your seats I’ll get rid of them. Don’t you worry.”
Just then Mark Chesnutt strides up to the microphone and booms out “Bubba shot the jukebox last night!”, and the crowd goes wild and the concert was on.
I enjoyed the show immensely while keeping one eye on the crowd of dancers in front of the stage. My new friends never came back and I never saw them again.
When it was over son number one said,” Glad they never came back.”
Son number two said, ”Ya Dad, we were wondering how you were going to get out of that one.”
Mark Chesnutt interview -