Fan Club Party and Late Night Jam, Ryman Auditorium on June 4, 2003

Getting to a fan club party has never been as nerve racking or stress elevating as it was trying to do so in a big rig! When you find yourself traveling away from Nashville four days before you have to be there .... well, you can just imagine what goes through the mind.

Monday evening, with the run to Tyler, Texas behind us, we had that diesel motor roaring, eighteen wheels a'rolling, and our fingers crossed, as we, with high expectations, once again head east towards Nashville. Tuesday night found us in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, and we were finally able to rest easy. We were going to make it after all! I guess I should send a word of thanks to Mike's dispatcher, Ron. He said he would have us in Nashville on June 4th, and he did.

Feeling such relief at being so close to Nashville, I decided to phone a couple of 'Pals' in hopes that things were working in their favor and they would be making the party also. Neither one of them were home at the time I called but returned my call later on in the evening. It was so good to hear their voices but what they had to say was sad. Neither Bobbi nor Serena Williams were going to be able to make it to the Fan Club Party.

Wednesday morning we were up early, got a shower, and headed on towards Nashville. We rolled into the downtown TA Truck stop just after 10 a.m. We were in Nashville, and the fun was just ahead! It was about 3:30 when we climbed into a cab for the short ride to The Ryman. Only a handful of people stood at the door as we arrived, and we recognized several familiar faces. Judy was sitting in her wheelchair with a huge grin on her face and Evie stood next to her, her eyes twinkling with happiness. Serena Lee was talking to some other fans, her voice bubbly and joyful, while her mother was sitting nearby, smiling at everyone, and there wasn't a wrestler in sight! LOL

Isn't it the greatest feeling to be around Marty fans? I wonder if he fully realizes the joy he puts in our hearts? The love for Marty and the caring for one another is just so apparent when you are waiting in line to see him. Talk about a high! There's none better, and ... it's legal!!!!

Bev and her daughter, Laura, soon joined us. They were both wearing those beautiful shirts that Bev had created with Marty's black silhouette surrounded by sparkling glitter, like the light from a halo.

We enjoyed visiting with one another as we often checked our watches, and waited for the doors to open. For a while it looked as if it could rain. We would have all been drenched if it had, but it didn't, in fact, just before we went in, the sun began to shine brightly.

Once inside we headed for the balcony and passed tables spread with food. It all looked so good, but I was too excited to eat! We went on in and sat down then Evie and Mike went back to get the food, as I guarded our seats and bags. Mary came and sat behind us and we talked some. She was telling me how the photographer from Country Weekly had taken a picture of the back of her shirt.

It wasn't long before Marty and his sweet mother made their appearance. Marty sat at the microphone and talked to us for a short while, then he took his mother's arm and began guiding her towards the doors so they could grab a bite to eat before he would greet the fans one-on-one.

A line of people stretched across the back wall as fans from all over waited for their time with Marty. The low buzz droned on as fans visited with one another, catching up on old acquaintances and making new friends as the line inched its way up towards Marty.

After our 'meet and greet', we headed over to The Gaylord Center for the taping of 'The 100 Greatest Songs'. Mike and I walked over with Evie and Judy. We helped Evie push along Judy's wheelchair. As we started downhill, I tried to keep a grip on it so it wouldn't be so much on Evie. I was walking on the street side and kept stepping off the curb. We were laughing trying to keep a hold of the wheelchair. If we would have let go, Judy would have rolled right on down the hill and beat us there! LOL

Our seats at the taping were way up high and, with my fear of heights, I almost had to leave. I would look down and get dizzy. My legs would go numb and I thought I was going to be sick. I sat there staring at my hands and glancing over at Mike every once in a while. He would ask me if I was going to be okay, and I would assure him that I was trying to control it. I never fully felt comfortable up there in the rafters, but I was able to maintain a certain degree of cool, and watched the show in it's entirety.

After it was over it was back to The Ryman for the Late Night Jam! We had good seats for the show but the gentleman in front of us had better. I should have asked him his name since his head is in most of my pictures. (smile)

I won't even try to list the songs and performers in order. I could never do as good of a job as Mary. Actually to create this list I would have to steal Mary's material because ... I can't remember! I do know it was a fantastic show and I really enjoyed myself.

After the show ended we met back up with Judy and Evie. When we were finally ready to leave, most of the crowd had left. As we women sat just outside the door, waiting for Mike to bring the car around, we were able to chat with both Harry and Brian. We were determined to corner Kenny also. We just wanted to see if he was as friendly as the others, or if he's shy or what. He never has much to say to the fans and we find that puzzling. But, that is a puzzle that will have to wait until another time as we never did see Kenny.

With one last glance around we climbed into the car and drove away, our bodies tired but our hearts light. We had just spent another wonderful evening with Marty.

Review by Darlene Renteria, Ringling, OK

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