My son and I were visiting friends in Southern Illinois and had the fantastic opportunity to see Ronnie Milsap in concert there this weekend. I had always played a mix of music for my child as he grew up from all eras. He seemed to take a shine to Ronnie Milsap, maybe it is because the artist is blind. It is always wonderful to watch someone else do something they love in their own way. But when someone is forced adapt and does it so well, it is truly inspiring. Jax is a big classical music listener; this artist was one of the few he enjoyed which were from the genre of country music. I hadn’t heard until a few hours before the performance that he was going to be in town. When I read about it, I told Jax.
Without hesitating, he picked out a Dwarfism Awareness wristband and said he’d bring this to him as a present. (Because, of course, mom can accomplish miracles, he assumed he’d get to sit down and talk with Ronnie Milsap!) I explained to him that he is a very busy man and would have to leave to go to work someplace else after that. Jax just kind of gave me a, “C’mon mom, you can do better than that.” Look, so I told him flat out: he’s famous and has a lot of security around him.
“Well, I wouldn’t hurt him.” He said.
“I know you wouldn’t, but—“
“So, when he sees me, he’ll see that I’m a nice kid.”
“It’s just not that easy, there are a lot of people who want to see him everywhere he goes. “
My kid can be pretty convincing; I told him I would try. Of course, the closest we got was a couple of security personnel who probably thought I was a loon. They went inside the giant luxury trailer and brought out an autographed guitar pick from Ronnie Milsap. Jax sent back the wristband he had brought for him and we went to find our seats.
We moved around a bit to find a spot where he could see which wasn’t too close to the booming speakers. We sat ourselves in the grass to enjoy the music. It was a fantastic show with a mix of old and new music. It was nice to sit under a beautiful evening sky and simply enjoy. For a while, it was just my son and I, enjoying the music as he held the guitar pick.
About 10 minutes into the show, a little girl, much younger than he, spotted Jax. Children are wonderfully bold in their curiosity. She zoomed over to his side; she stood there and stared at him. Jax gave a smile; the girl just looked at him with her head cocked a bit. Jax asked her what her name was but she didn’t answer. Finally, he smiled again and his thoughts returned to the music. But there she stood. Every few minutes she would move a little closer to him or a little farther away. I could see he was becoming a bit uncomfortable. He tried talking to her again, but she wouldn’t answer him, she just stood by him and stared. I will have to admit, it is hard to ignore a child staring at you from a less than two feet away.
He began to fidget uncomfortably next to me. She stood and stared. Usually, people ask a question, or comment. They usually say something…anything…but she just stood silent. I started looking around for her mom, who was watching the concert rather than her preschooler. When I turned back, Jax had his hand out and she was reaching for it. I grabbed my camera, and had I been quicker, I would have had a beautiful shot. I really didn’t want to spoil that moment so I lowered the camera and watched.
She said, “Abbey.” He smiled and gave her his name too. She sat next to us for quite a while as we watched and listened to Ronnie Milsap. I think Jax knows a little better of what it might be like if he were a star. It is interesting how life answers questions for us sometimes.