I just saw an old video of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and it reminded me of something from my past.
Sometimes, when my son was around eight or ten years old (early 1990s), I’d bring him along with me to the gym and he’d go (reluctantly) to the babysitting room for an hour or so. It was mostly other doubledigiters so he didn’t have a real problem with it, and eventually became friendly with a boy about the same age.
Their friendship progressed beyond the gym to birthdays and sleepovers. For a while, these two boys were inseparable.
One day, out of the blue, and I’m a bit fuzzy on the details, the boy’s dad asked if I could give him a ride to LAX. It’s a ninety minute drive and I’m not sure why I said yes ‘cos I seriously HATE to drive, especially if it involves LA traffic, but I loaded the boys and the dad (along with his guitar) in my car.
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when I learned that his dad was Ron Blair of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, but I was suitably impressed and starstruck. All I do remember is that he was always quiet but courteous and appreciated the airport ride. He looked EVERY bit a rock and roll superstar.
A couple weeks pre-Covid, a friend invited me to a fundraiser for the local food bank. It was an outdoor venue with a lot of musical guests. The headliner’s name was a familiar one. Lo and behold, it was Ron Blair, who now lives in my little town.
We chatted a bit; I can’t honestly say that he remembered me, but he did remember my son which was cool.
Still quiet, still friendly, and amazingly talented.
We’ve all aged and I’m obviously way too old to be a groupie (sigh), but I do remember THOSE good old days, haha.
My brain just recollected something else…meeting my son’s friend’s maternal grandmother, Mother Antonia. She was infamous for having renounced all her wealth to become a Roman Catholic American religious sister and activist who chose to reside and care for inmates at the notorious maximum-security La Mesa Prison in Tijuana, Mexico. As a result of her work, she founded a new religious institute called the Eudist Servants of the 11th Hour. (Wiki)
Before her death in 2013, she was on TV quite a bit advocating on behalf of the prisoners.