4 May - Gokey Chasing

When this season of "American Idol" started, we were thrilled to see a Milwaukeean make the Top 12. When he was announced last week in the final three, the planning wheels started spinning. His schedule said he would make appearances throughout the city -- FOX station, AT&T store, his church, the Milwaukee Art Museum, Harley-Davidson Museum, Discovery World, Summerfest grounds, then to the Brewers vs. Cubs Game to sing the "National Anthem" and throw out the first pitch. It just so happened I had a studio session downtown at Beathouse Music -- perfect. It also just so happens people don't call me "Triple Book" for nothing. My plan was to catch the Motorcade in the Third Ward after my session, then to Summerfest then head home. Then I thought, wouldn't that be neat to bring two kids who religiously watch the show on a little adventure - Gokey Chasing? I could easily take them out of their educational institutions, have them sit three hours during my session, pack lunches, then head to watch the Motorcade. As I am planning this through, I received a text to celebrate my friend Shanel's birthday. Huh. So...add on to the plan, dropping the kids back to their home, then head to the soiree.

After explaining to these little Idol soldiers what was to take place, I was reminded that I had yet another commitment smack dab in the middle of the day near home. I absolutely could not miss this. Okay...just a minor obstacle that Triple Book can work around. New plan: studio session, head back home, engagement, pick up these kids, Gokey chasing, drop kids back off, Shanel's soiree. As I am working this out in my head, I realized I would have to make it to downtown Milwaukee three times that day. As friends have coached me through the years, I realized there is a time and place to use the word "no." I rescheduled my studio session at Beathouse Music for the following Monday.

As I touched base with my husband who was driving in from Chicago, I can hear the silent chuckle, see the shaking of his head and feel the stress in his exhale. He interrupted me and said, "I have a thought. Let me call you right back." In the meantime, I have these two patient boys in tow, excited to get a glimpse of one Danny Gokey. I tried managing expectations that even though we are TRYING to see this rising star, there is no guarantee that we WILL. This is all a part of the experience. The phone rang and my husband said he was able to get tickets to the soldout game. Wow. One more chance for these kids to see Gokey if all else fails -- which it would not. I do happen to subscribe to where there is a will, there is a way. Fifteen minutes until we could park and walk to the Third Ward. We made it to the front of Summerfest, where the Motorcade was going to stop. Perfect. Saw my friend Alaria, head of "Chick Singer Night," along the way. But since there were so many people along the Motorcade path -- signs, Gokey shirts and all -- I thought perhaps they did not realize the gates were open. Why not go in to find the best possible view? The two patient kiddos said nothing and followed my lead. We risked leaving our perfect view of the 5-second glimpse in hopes of getting a better view. I remember the big screens that reached all the way towards the lake -- piece of cake, not a bad seat in the house. As we reached our destination -- it was packed. But with a goal in mind and positive thinking, I have come to know somehow one can just WILL things to happen. So I took the same attitude and told myself that this whole chase was for these boys to experience, not for me. We started inching our way up. We tried getting around the crowd for different angles and views. No dice. We tried positioning ourselves in front of the screens. What screens?! NO SCREENS?! After 20 minutes of trying to penetrate these walls of pliable brick, I realized there would be no movement. I realized I had to accept something -- defeat. We were just too short. And everyone was territorial. In seeing the uncomfortable looks on these two sweet faces, I told them to hop up on my shoulders. I could understand their skepticism and why they resisted -- they were my size. I wouldn't accept it. In my white summer dress, I ordered the older obedient one to hop up. Against his will, he did and peeked. This kind couple next to us, Tom and Jane, watched the whole thing unfold and heard me explaining, sometimes to be a part of something bigger, we have to sacrifice and relish in the experience. Just to be here, with all these strangers, is part of it. So Tom offered when the music started he would put them on his shoulders. I could tell the older one appreciated it, but did not want to impose. After encouragement, he was lifted up by Tom and saw Gokey singing Michael Jackson's "PYT". He was thrilled. What kindness extended to three strangers. The younger one just kept his head down and frustratedly whispered to me, "I wanted to stay outside by the Motorcade." Ugh. The older one comfortingly said, "No, this is great. At least we can hear him sing." I forget what it is like to be that small, packed in like sardines, no ventilation or sight. So I decided there had to be something positive from this fruitless effort. We thanked our new friends, Tom and Jane, and headed to the car. If we headed to the game and missed the anthem and first pitch, I would never forgive myself.

Hubbo told me to take the back path of 43rd and National Avenue. Miraculously we arrived in 15 minutes...but 45 minutes before Hubbo's arrival. And there was no ticket for me. Um...more planning, but of course, I have no worries. Everything always works out if you put in due effort. If we met at a park and ride, would they get back in time to make the first pitch? Could I pay for special parking, though Preferred Parking was already soldout? And would Will Call let me "borrow" Hubbo's ticket to make sure these boys got to their seats? The answer to all these was "no." The parking attendants said I could go no further. I realized it was time to make a call of desperation to our dear friend Bob with the Brewers. Being a soldout game, along with all his other responsibilities, I am quite certain this was the last thing he needed. Uh...Just a hunch. Called work and cell, no answer. After realizing all my paths of planning were met with roadblocks, my phone rang. His calm and nonchalance reprieved my desperation. He asked where I was, came to the top of the bridge to meet the boys to safety. He held them until Hubbo could make it. Within 30 minutes, all were reunited.

I breathed a sigh of relief and headed to an impromptu visit with a dear friend Kramer. I decompressed with cheese, crackers, spanikopitas, well-needed red wine and great conversation. We talked about her aging parents, how audiences are still enjoying their classical training in piano and oboe and her concern for their current state of health. We looked through precious old family photos. Kramer made an interesting comment that stuck with me, "No one has actual photos anymore. It is all stored on the computer. Does anyone keep photo albums?" It sat with me. I think this is why I am continuing this blog. To have some documentation of the people in my life. And as my husband might add, for people to get a glimpse of the inner workings of my madness. Huh. Afterwards, I headed to meet up with friends to clink glasses in celebration for Shanel's birthday. What a relaxing night after all.

I came home, got ready for bed and saw something on my pillow. It was a photo of the kids...with Danny Gokey. Tears came to my eyes, as silly as it was. After all the stars aligning, our own personal Jesus in Bob and the patience of the people I include in my mad planning, these boys received more than they had hoped.

The next day, they told me that Bob took them to the suite. In a sea of adults, Danny saw the kids, asked for a hug and took a photo. I told them for their humble patience, it was merely karma.