Let me start by saying that I was young, very young, when Kenny Rogers came into my life. This was the first album I ever heard. I didn't speak English at all, and had no clue what he sang about, but back in the early 80s my parents played this cassette in the car. A lot. Because I begged them to. My parents enjoyed Kenny Rogers, and I just fell in love with his raspy, harmonious voice. Through the years (which is the title of one of his most popular songs, by the way) I kept following his music and wishing that someday I could actually hear him sing to me, live.
As a clueless teenager, already living in this country and speaking the language, I still couldn't deny my love of Kenny Rogers. It gave classmates an easy target to pick on. More than once I stood by Kenny while other kids would tease me as they sang "you gotta know when to hold'em, know when to fold'em..." Instead of feeling upset, I would feel bad for them that this was the only song they could think of when it came to Kenny Rogers. I was nerdy anyway, one more reason to get picked on didn't really matter. I was one of those proud nerdy kids. :)
Forward a few more years to the mid 90s. I'm attending BYU, and I have a super cute boyfriend called Russ. We hadn't been dating for long, so we didn't know each other that well yet. One day in the fall semester of 98 Kenny Rogers was singing at what was then called UVSC, now UVU. I was ecstatic! I finally had the chance to see him live! So I decided to ask my boyfriend on a date to go to the Kenny Rogers concert with me. I still remember where we were standing on campus, between the library and the Smith Family Living Center. I made the invitation, and my boyfriend started chuckling. He said "you're so funny! Let's go on a date to see "The Gambler"!". And then he did it... he sang "you gotta know when to hold'em, know when to fold'em..." Imagine, if you will, my heart dropping to my toes, my shoulders slump down, and I swallow hard and... laughed right along with him. Yeah, it was not going to happen. :(
Years later I married that cute boyfriend, and what was his became mine, and what was mine became his. Including an extensive collection of Kenny Rogers' cassettes and CDs. My new husband was surprised by his discovery, and must have gone back to that moment when I asked him to the concert, and realized that I was serious. :) He has felt badly ever since. It was fine, though. I still wished to see Kenny Rogers, and now he knew how badly.
Now we're in 2013, and for Valentine's Day, my adorable husband surprised me with this:
BEST. GIFT. EVER.
Here I am! Of course I bought a t-shirt! This was the best day ever! The little kid in my was jumping up and down! Unbelievable!
We waited for the show to start while looking at all those cool 80s album covers. It was awesome.
Here he is. My cute Russ, who made my dream come true!!!!
Our start stamps. We're here!!! It's happening! My cheeks were hurting from smiling so hard and the show hadn't even started yet!
Then he appeared. And sang. To me. Live. And the waterworks began. :) I cried, and laughed, and jumped, and screamed. Russ held my hand through all of it! :) I thought at one point he'd pretend not to know me, I was that hysterical, but no, he put his arm around me and let me enjoy this moment.
I LOVE KENNY ROGERS! He sang all the favorites. He joked around with the audience. He talked about the background of some songs. It was better than I had ever imagined it would be.
I'm even more in love with Kenny Rogers than ever.
This has seriously been one of those highlights of my life moments. I love that I can go back in my mind to that memory, and that night.
And I'm so glad I married that cute boyfriend who teased me 15 years a go about wanting to see "The Gambler". I might be a huge fan of Kenny Rogers, but I'm Russell Sperry's number one fan.