Wednesday, June 28, 2006

How Chris Got His Hat

Authenticity disclaimer: I saw my brother Chris last Christmas, and this is how I remember him telling me the story. My fact-checking research consisted completely of me sitting back in my chair and asking myself, “What was it he said?” You have been warned.

It started in a bar. Now this wasn’t one of your prissy city bars, with fluorescent cocktails in fancy glasses and James Bond suits broguing pick up lines to slit-skirt hotties. No, this was a bar bar, a peanut shells strewn on the counter and sawdust “just in case” on the floor bar.

The kind of place where everyone knows everyone, so when the stranger came in, he stood out.

Now Chris, being of the philosophy that no one should drink alone – unless they were aiming to – and that no one should feel an alien in such a place, bought the stranger a beer. This act of kindness led to conversation.

They talked about horses, and some about farms and ranches, and some about trucks – the kind you have to kick-start on cold mornings – and some more about horses. They talked about a lot of things, a full beer’s worth in fact, maybe more. They didn’t talk about music, Chris figuring that he and the stranger agreed enough on the topic to make such conversation predictable and boring.

And then the stranger had to go. He thanked Chris; apparently it had been a real long time since anyone bought him a beer in a bar and talked to him like he was a regular guy. And he really enjoyed the conversation – especially the part about the horses.

And he really enjoyed the beer.

And as he got to the door, he thought he’d bring up the topic of music, and asked Chris if he’d like to go to a concert that night. Chris, being no fool, said “sure.”

So Toby Keith took Chris out to his waiting ride. (What? Oh, I didn’t mention before that this was Toby Keith? My bad.)

Chris took a fancy car to a concert, got a backstage pass, heard Toby and a passel of other stars sing, hung out backstage with the lot of them, and even joined them for the post concert parties. Quite a night.

I asked Chris what it was like to party with a star. He said he didn’t really know about stars, but it sure was fun hanging out with Toby.

And when I asked him what the best part of the night was, Chris just smiled and tipped his hat. The one that Toby wore on stage; the final thank you to a guy that bought him a beer in a bar and talked to him like he was a regular guy.

And that’s how Chris got his hat.

Just my thoughts,


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