Billy Bob's Texas, Fort Worth, TX on September 7, 2001

I don't know why we were up so early on Friday morning, unless it was because we had a date with Marty that night. Although I did have all the loose ends tied up, I would not rest easy until the knots were pulled tight and secured. In other words ... until we were actually there, and Marty was within both eyesight and earshot. We left Oklahoma under gray cloudy skies, and crossed over into Texas just after noon. Mike held it steady as we traveled on down that Hillbilly Highway, in route to Fort Worth.

As soon as we arrived, we went looking for Billy Bob’s. “Hey Baby! There it is!” Mike called to me as the worlds largest Honky Tonk came into sight. We drove around mentally preparing ourselves for the return trip later that evening. (no bus) We got a room at a Motel 6 just off the interstate, and unloaded our bags, then went to get something to eat. After we ate, it was back to Billy Bob’s for another look around. We never left the car, but just drove around the parking area and front entrance. A cowboy stumbled out of the front door just as we were passing by. He wasn’t drunk (I don't think) but he appeared to have just tripped on the rough concrete. Mike chuckled and said, “I have no idea what he was drinking to forget, but it looks like The Whiskey Ain’t Workin."

We circled around and checked out the stock pens. Things were quiet and there was little to no activity in the area. (no bus) We returned to our room and I tried to rest, but there was just too much excitement, so I got up and started preparing for the evening's events. Around eight we returned to Billy Bob’s. We parked close to the front door, and as we started walking towards the building, I glanced around again, enjoying the western surroundings. (still ... no bus) We stepped into the place and joined the Honky Tonk Crowd that was already there listening to the live music from the smaller stage. “You know that I took off work and brought you down here Just To Satisfy You, don’t you?” Mike asked. “ I appreciate it,” I smiled back at him, “but do know, I would have been Tempted to come alone, even if I had to ride a Blue Train!”

We found where we would be entering the area where Marty would soon be performing, but a thick chain barred the way. After a few minutes of just standing there staring at the blasted thing, we came to the conclusion that our laser stares were not going to melt the chain, so, with heavy hearts, we wandered away. We passed the time browsing through the gift shop where there were vast assortments of Little Things with big prices for people to purchase. Needless to say, we just kept puttering around.

We had just made our way back to where we begun, when my ‘Marty Radar’ went on full alert. I looked up and there was a group of familiar faces. Well, Touch Me, Turn Me On, & Burn Me Down! It was Bev, Serena, Jarred, and his friend James. In the mist of hugs and greetings, the party had officially begun! We all moseyed back to where we would be entering the main area, but the chain was still firmly in place. Jarred and James took off to check things out while we found a table nearby and settled in for the wait.

We all kept an eagle eye on the goings on around us. We were hoping to see one of ‘the guys’ walking through. I mean, this is what a true Marty fan does! We think the world of the band too, and That’s What Love's About! We girls chattered away about various things, but one important subject was ‘the merchandise table.’ As we rattled on about all the Marty paraphernalia we’d love to buy, Mike sat quietly, trying to figure how he was going to keep me out of his wallet. Finally, the chain came down, and the Marty Party goers were released to invade the Marty area! We breezed right on over to the merchandise table, and our hearts sank. There was only a small array of products laid out and most we already owned! (I could have sworn I heard Mike breathe a sigh of relief at this time.)

So, here we are, finally back in the main area and, not only did they not have a dazzling supply of Marty merchandise for us to browse through, but they also had more chains barring the way to our seats! Just one more reason for the saying Don’t Take Your Guns To Town, because I do believe Bev, Serena, and I would have shot our way on back to Marty! Then. instead of that swanky purple coat, Marty would be decking himself out in a Long Black Veil, in mourning for the Marty Pals that had lost their minds!

We did eventually get to our seats, and what great seats they were! Thank you Serena! You really came through for us here! In no time the man himself was on stage, bringing the entire house down with his fabulous music. People were rocking right along with the entire show. As you know, when you are at one of Marty’s performances, you aren’t just watching a show, you are a part of the show! He engulfs you and pulls you right in. He had us singing, laughing, whooping and a hollering. One lady walked up to the end of the stage and said she lived next door to Brad when they were kids. Marty asked Brad if he ever mowed the lady’s yard. Brad said ‘no’ so Marty proceeded to tell him how he had taught him better than that.

Marty sang, and danced around the stage with such energy, I’m sure they could feel the power at the other end of the building! Are You Ready For Country? I’m sure all the cowboys and Western Girls, would all agree, if that’s what it’s all about, I don’t want anything else! Give me country music and Hillbilly Rock any day!! The show was over too soon. The stage was dark, the music was only an echo in our minds, as we began to file out. But, as fan club members, we still had a feather in our hats, (along with a goofy grin on our faces) We were on our way, stage left, for our special treat! Meet & Greet!

Bev and Serena stepped out in the crowd and disappeared before I could get up and around. We found them in no time though, standing talking to Brad and Steve. Bev was explaining to Steve all about how Serena was attacked by a mental patient, and what all she has been forced to endure. Steve stood there listening, with a shocked look on his face. Suddenly he straightened up, twisted his head around like Mr. Macho, got this mean glare in his eyes and said, “Who was it? Just give me a name. I’ll go take care of him, I’ll find him.” Bev replied, “He won’t be hard to find, he’s still in the mental home.” Then everyone busted out laughing. So ... if you hear anything about a mental patient in Oklahoma being beat over the head with a guitar, by an unidentified man, .....well .... Hey! Now That’s Country! We take care of our own!

Mike and I left Bev and Serena talking to Steve and we headed down the hallway to see Marty. He was in a back room with a man in a wheelchair, a blind girl, and their families. The man had given Marty what looked like a peace pipe. It was a beautiful thing! Marty squatted down in front of him and they had a discussion about it. Marty seemed so pleased with it. I thought he said something about putting it in his museum or something on that order. They allowed pictures with these two, and Marty took his time with them, and posed for several pictures apiece. He has such a big heart.

Finally they were leaving, and he looked my way, and waved me over. As he signed my picture, I told him how I was in the middle of having extensive dental work done, and how he is the only entertainer I would go see with teeth missing. He said "Oh, you poor thing" and gave me a big hug. I told him how special he was, and stepped back so Mike could speak with him. We left that room through a door in the back which put us walking right by the bus. (yeah ... finally, the bus!) We waited for Bev and Serena, then we all discussed the possibility of stowing away by climbing into the luggage department on the bus. It sounded like a good idea until someone mentioned that most likely when they did discover us, they would probably just leave us there.

We walked back to the front, chattering all the way about how Bev wanted the promotional picture they had of Marty out in front. The front doorman was going to let her have it, but the plastic case was screwed in, and none of us had a screwdriver, so she was forced to leave without it. We said our good byes, and each headed our own ways. Till next time, the next Marty Party, I will say a Hobo’s Prayer, and I will ask God to take special care of Marty, this caring, wonderful person, who gives so much of himself to others.

Review and photos by Darlene Renteria, Ringling, OK

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