The first words I spoke to Linda Ronstadt were these; “Why did you open for Jackson Browne? You are the bigger star”. The first words Linda Ronstadt spoke to me were, “Oh. Jackson would not have a girl be the bigger act”. She had just sat down next to me on a bed in a hotel room in Denver. Other musicians were there winding down after the show. I was nearly incapable of breathing. You see, we adored Linda. Like one adores a saintly figure albeit a very sexy one. In the years just before this my buddies and I had become aware of her. The country rock music she was singing by the time I’d moved to Colorado for a spell was her ticket to fame. We propped her album covers up on our huge speakers so we could see her adorable face while she sang with her incredible voice. She was an angel who’d come to earth to melt our young, lusty hearts.
I had been crashing on the couch of an old friend that I went to high school with in Illinois who was then living in Greeley, Colorado attending college. I learned of the concert taking place in nearby Denver and convinced a gal who lived next door and my buddy to go to see her. Linda was on a double bill with Jackson Browne. I liked Jackson’s music very much. I admired his songwriting greatly. But he was a mere mortal. Like me.
When Linda and her band finished their set there was an intermission. My friends went out for a smoke. I stalked the hall of the smallish venue looking for a miracle. I soon realized that the ‘rent a cop’ was standing guard by the band’s ‘green room’. I leaned against the wall on the other side of the door trying to look like I belonged. The green room door swung open and a guy holding a few cans of Coors strode out of it. He handed me two of the beers for reasons I didn’t question. They allowed me entrance to the green room. The cop looked away as I walked in trying to not turn tail and run back to the seating area and forego this fantasy. But something told me, “Why not? You only go around once in this life”. And so I found an empty chair and sipped the beer. I didn’t recognize a soul in that room. But as I drained the second can one of them said, “We’re staying out at the Hilton. Drop by the after party and join us”. I shook his hand and returned to our seats. My friends were a bit baffled that I was gone for at least the first three songs of Jackson Browne’s set. When the band had finished and the house lights came on I could contain myself no longer. I said to them, “We’re going to a party”. And then I explained the circumstances to even my own amazement. They were leery. They felt that it might be too presumptuous. I said, “We were invited. Okay. Stay in the car if you want but I’m going”. The guy in the green room had written the room number on a pack of matches. I found it and knocked. The door opened and I sat down in the middle of a hotel bed while three others sat on the opposite bed. A joint was passed. The door opened again. That is when Linda walked in wearing ‘granny styled’ pajamas and sat right next to me. She was sewing a button on one of her stage blouses as she talked. She seemed like the girl next door, that is if the next door girl was a national honor student who had one of history’s greatest voices. On the other side of me sat the harmonica player for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Jimmy McFadden by name. I admired his intricate harmonica belt holding 12 keys of harps. He asked me if I played. I said ‘yes’ a bit faltering I’m sure. He said, “Let’s hear some”. And then he joined me. Incredible. Linda said, “I have to get a better sewing needle from my room for this chore. I’ll be back in a minute boys”. I found the faces of my friends across the room. I looked at them, holding them both with my eyes because I loved them, glad they were there to join me in the miracle of living. Thank You Linda. Your gifts live on.