Ever heard of Prescott, Arizona?
Yea, me neither.
It sits two hours outside of Phoenix, nestled in the mountains, 5,000 feet above Dallas.
And from what I can tell, I'm sorry Chicago, but it is the windy city. I've never seen wind so fierce or birds so brave. Every time one takes off, the mother in me hurts for the poor stupid bird. They don't make it very long, but they sure do try. I guess even animals have to test their boundaries.
Back to Prescott... it is beautiful here and the people are particularly kind and hard working. The rugged west is growing on me.
Last weekend at the SeaWorld San Antonio show I met a group of guys (and one gal) who just finished basic training at Lackland Air Force Base. They stood up front through the whole show and made me nervous. Are they here because they like the music? Or will they, at any minute, die laughing? Nine years in and I still battle the voices of insecurity. But they just looked so stinkin' intimidating with their crew cuts and reserved, respectful mannerisms that I wasn't sure what to make of them. They stayed for the entire show. And when we ended with the song Hope Now, they linked arms and sang it together. One guy had tears running down his face.
They waited in line forever, and of course I have a special love for military people, so I gave them as many hugs as I could :)
As I started talking to some of them they told me about boot camp and how they'd go back to their barracks each night and listen to Hope Now. They told me about their families and where they were going to be stationed. And as they started to walk off the last guy came up and asked if I would sign his program for his mom. He had been waiting patiently, quietly, for everyone else to go. He told me his mom was a huge fan of our music and had always wanted to see us in concert. I asked if she was at the show and he told me she didn't live around here, but that this would make her day. He said he hoped one day she'd be able to see a concert because it would mean a lot to her.
"Where does she live?" I asked him.
"We just played a show there last weekend outside of Phoenix! Bummer. I think we are playing there again soon, but I'm not sure where."
"Well most shows are in Phoenix, but she lives in Prescott."
Prescott. I've seen that name. I know I have.
I went and found Richard (our new drummer) at the merchandise table and he looked up the show for the coming weekend.
Prescott, Arizona. Sold out.
I was so excited I almost fell over. My little heart was overflowing for happiness. Not because I was sooo happy that this person would get to come and see us in concert, as if I were blessing her with the gift of seeing Bono or The Beatles, but I was so happy that I could give Jeff something to give his mom. Because any guy who waits around for an hour to have you sign a CD for his mom living thousands of miles away, means he really loves his mom and longs to do something special for her.
I ran back to the table and told him. "You're not going to believe this. Of all the places in the world we could be playing next weekend, we are playing in Prescott, Arizona. And your mom will be on my private guest list."
Two hours outside of Phoenix, nestled in the mountains, 5,000 feet above Dallas and San Antonio.
His mom wrote me that evening. I've highlighted the parts that made my heart soar: