One Sunday, my friend Kim and I attended church at a Church of Christ in a town through which we were passing on vacation. At the close of services we all rose to be dismissed with a benedictory prayer. Immediately, I recognized the voice of the person offering the blessing and rather disrespectfully for the time and place, I elbowed my friend and softly asked if she, too, recognized it. She shook her head to indicate she did not while shooting me a look that said be quiet.
“Look at your program!” I said in an exaggerated whisper, as she was the one who had picked it up and tucked it into her Bible upon arriving in the sanctuary. Another negative headshake.
“Just look at it, Kim!” Finally, she did and, lo and behold, whose name do you think was listed? Why, just my favorite actor’s.
When church ended we made a beeline to follow him to his car. Well, I made a beeline and my friend was being dragged along for the fun of it. My brain was working overtime as we followed him and another male (who turned out to be his attorney) toward the car, which happened to be parked at the very end of the lot next to a beautiful creek. I can’t tell you how much I wanted to meet him, but I had to be careful and not seem too much like some psycho in doing so. The last thing I would want would be to wind up on an episode of E! as the latest celebrity stalker.
My initial and quite ill-conceived plan was for my friend to “accidentally” push me in the water. Surely, TLJ would lend a hand to help fish me out and Voila! I would get to meet him.
Luckily, he stuck up a conversation with us first and I was able to stay dry. He was most pleasant and polite and it was beginning to feel very much like a dream come true. There we were - my friend and I - having a regular conversation with Mr. Tommy Lee Jones. Who would have thought it?
It was at this point things took a turn for the strange.
A woman (turns out it was a soon-to-be ex) walked up and began her own conversation, which was very heated on her part. My friend and I found ourselves on opposite sides of the arguing couple looking very much like two people watching a tennis match. With nowhere to go and not wanting to walk between them or stand there so close to the action, I gently backed up a bit into the opened door of Mr. Jones’ car and sat down on the edge of the back seat.
After only a minute or so, and sitting a little farther into the interior of the car than I meant, Mrs. Jones made a comment that absolutely froze me with fear. Just to paint you a mental picture…do you remember the scene in the movie Jurassic Park when the owner’s grandchildren have finally made it back to the main building and are wolfing down food at a table when the granddaughter realizes a dinosaur has come inside the building, too - her hand tightly clasping a spoon of green Jello? Well, when the words ...and I bet you’re still riding around with those snakes in your car left Mrs. Jones’ mouth, I became that petrified little girl holding that spoon of Jello. Have I ever told you how much I hate snakes?
All I could do was quietly whimper for my friend. “Ohhh, Kim.” “Help me.” “No, don’t leave.” “Kim?” “Come back.”
My last recollection of my one and only encounter with Tommy Lee Jones was sitting there in the back seat of his car while he removed snake after snake after snake from all around me.
Dreams are a funny thing, you know. I don’t know if TLJ attends church and, if so, if it’s a Church of Christ, nor do I know whether he keeps snakes as pets (if he does I might have to rethink the high regard I have for him), and I still don’t know where my friend went.
What I do know is…
One, outside a state of REM, I would never be so forward with a stranger, even a celebrity, and I have proof…I have eaten across the aisle from Reba McEntire on two different occasions at the local O’Charley’s and I merely gave her a polite nod and smile as I sat down in my booth.
Two, the late Ms. Marguerite Law, a beloved English teacher in my hometown, was spot on about dreams being possible sources of ideas for writing. Just look at the cash cow that was born from Stephenie Meyer’s dream about a vampire and a girl named Bella!
Three (and most importantly), what likely lasted mere seconds deprived me of hours of sleep. Did I mention I don’t like snakes?
P.S. Just in case there be confusion among some...the above story about TLJ is, alas, only a dream.