Saturday, December 7, 2013

On Meeting James Taylor

They were all there,
Trudy, Kate,
then the man himself, 
strolling in through the front door
of the Chapel Hill Museum.
I was reeling with excitement,
like some silly sixteen year old.

I remembered standing in the cafeteria line
at Virginia Commonwealth University,
remarking to a friend
"Have you heard this new singer,
James Taylor?"
J. T. was the rage.

"Fire and Rain"
was the song that got everyone talking,
about his time at the McLain Institution
in Massachusetts,
where he checked himself into
the psych ward.
"Suzanne, the plans they made
put an end to you."

America's Troubador,"
announced the cover of Time Magazine
for June 28, 1974.

Now, 24 years later,
I'm in the Chapel Hill Museum
watching the DVD of J. T.'s 
"Pull Over" album.
He was rockin' the crowd with
his band 
(Luis Conte on percussion)
playing "Mexico."

                                              Chapel Hill Museum devoted a space for J. T.
For a small donation, you could get invited
to the reception to meet him!
I did just that,
and now I'm waiting for him to arrive.
A tall, lean man soon entered,
greeting guests (people who had known him when he was a kid)
silver haired neighbors.
 Lots of hugs and chatting.
Then, he comes in my direction!
Looked straight at me!
"Dana?" he asked.
How did he know my name?
Oh yeah, the name tag.

"I'm a fan," I replied,
"one of the originals."
He bent WAY down to give me a hug.

That day, everyone was a fan
of J. T.

Now, 10 years later,
J. T. is still America's Troubador.
Coming through the recent door
of memory.
Singing at Red Sox games.
After the Boston shootings.

A million fans on Facebook.
World traveler.
But most important,
still humble.

"He's a minister,"
his mother, Trudy, told me.
A minister of music.

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