I got my first CD when I was 7 years old. It was Tim McGraw’s first Greatest Hits album. I still have it, it’s scratched all to hell and hardly plays, but I still have it.
When people ask me what’s so special about Tim, I don’t know what to say. I explained it once and the way I explained it made it seem like I saw him as a father figure. I’d never thought about it that way, but the more I think about it, the more I see how true that is.
It’s no secret that I don’t have a relationship with my biological father. Yes, I know who he is and I see him from time to time, but there’s no relationship there, no father-daughter bond. None of my stepdads (not including the current one who kind of resembles Tim….) have been great people.
When I explain my love for Tim, I tell people that his music has helped me through every milestone in life. I tell people that he has been the only stable male in my life, for my whole life. I guess that’s where people get the father figure thing from. I don’t necessarily like to think of it that way because it makes me sound crazy. He’s just been an amazing male role model for me.
I’m not blind, I know he’s not perfect, and even though he doesn’t know, he’s never let me down like everyone else in my life. His music is always there. Whatever mood. Whatever emotion. Whatever time of year. The music is always there.
I recently went to Nashville with a group of the greatest women. We talked about our favorite country artists, obviously mine are Tim and Faith. We talked about what we would do if we ever got to meet our favs. I remember telling them that I didn’t think it would ever happen for me because you can’t buy meet and greets for Tim, you have to win them. I have never had any luck winning things like that.
Fast forward to May 17th and I get the MCGRAWFAN newsletter, that I get for being a part of Tim’s fan club, and there’s a link to enter a contest to win two tickets to the Tree Town Music Festival in Forest City, Iowa and two meet and greets for Tim. I entered for the hell of it. There wasn’t a single bone in my body that thought I would win. Not even for a second. And honestly, I’d forgotten that I’d even entered after that.
On Thursday May 26th at 11:45am, I got an email saying that I had won! After letting in sink in, I sat in my bed and sobbed for a good 30 minutes. How in the world was I supposed to get to Iowa in THREE DAYS when I am out of a job and saving for a move?? I couldn’t believe it. I just won tickets to meet my number one favorite person ever….in IOWA.
Then I started to tell people. Not even for a second did I think that I would get the reaction out of them that I did. I have never in my life felt so much love and support from the people that I adore. They all wanted this for me almost as badly as I wanted it for myself. They knew how much this would mean to me. A couple of them even pitched in in different ways to help make it happen! And I will never be able to thank them enough, even if they are telling me that I don’t have to thank them…
Flights were arranged and booked that Friday. I flew out of Atlanta to Minneapolis Saturday afternoon and spent the rest of the day (and night) with one of my soul sisters. We parted ways around 8:30 Sunday morning and I hit the road to drive the two hours down to this tiny little town in Iowa. After food and coffee, of course.
The weather was nice when I got into Iowa and when I got to Forest City. I picked up my event tickets when I went there, but the meet and greet passes weren’t ready yet, so I wondered the festival grounds for four hours alone. Trudging through the mud and trying to evade the rain (and storm) that came from nowhere. I was so stressed out from the weather and being alone (social anxiety sufferer over here) and the mud and my ankle was throbbing. I honestly thought about just saying whatever and leaving.
I let that thought pass and I went and picked up my meet and greet wristband. When you win stuff like this, it almost always comes with two. Duh. So I had an extra one and I didn’t want it to go to waste. I spent the next hour scoping out people, trying to pick out someone that would appreciate it as much as I would. Y’all! It is so hard to find someone like that! BUT! I found someone! Her name was Sydney. She looked like she was going to cry when I gave it to her and she kept saying “I don’t even know what to say right now!” Needless to say it went to good use.
We were told to start lining up at the meet and greet area at 9pm, but of course, being the punctual person that I am, I was there at like 8:20.
While waiting in line, these two people behind me were trying to buy their friend a shirt and they were two dollars short. After everything that everyone had done for me, the least I could do was give them two dollars. So I did and they thanked me for the rest of the night and I had friends to talk to while we waited. Turns out that they loved One Tree Hill and Sophia Bush and the Chicago trilogy, so we had plenty to talk about!
9:30 is when they started the pictures. I wasn’t too far back, so I knew it wouldn’t be long before it was my turn.
Two people are in the tents at a time; the person getting their picture taken and the person on deck. So I get to look at him for 2 seconds before it’s my turn.
When I walk up to him, he smiles and shakes my hand and asks how I am. I don’t know how I was even able to form words, but I said “I’m great!” and we take our picture! When he pulls away, I turn to him and I say, “Okay! Before I forget! These are your lyrics!” And I show him the tattoo on my arm that says ‘theres a diamond under all this dust’. He sort of grabs/holds my hard and you can tell he’s reading it. When it clicks in what song it is (Better Than I Used to Be), he gets the biggest smile on his face! He says “Oh wow! That’s awesome! That’s amazing! I love that! That’s great!” And so I thank him like 800 times and walk away and I cry.
It was so quick, as I expected, but it was so worth it. The stress of figuring out how to get there, the stress with the rental car company, the stress from the weather and the mud. Every bit of it was worth it. I don’t think I would change a single thing, except maybe the mud because my shoes were ruined. Everything happened as it should have.
To all of the amazing people that helped me get to Iowa (who tf goes to Iowa?!), thankyouthankyouthankyou! This meant more to me than I will ever be able to explain. I love you all immensely. I’ve got the best people in my life.