I never met Kenny Rogers, but it wasn't for lack of trying.
Long before I was a fan of his music, Kenny was part of my life. Growing up Dad was a long-haul pilot and as luck would have it things always went awry while he was away. Irrigators would break, cows would have difficulty calving, my brothers would get asthma, and Mum would be left to deal with the mess all on her own. Phones weren't what they were now, so Dad would be blissfully unaware of the calamity happening at home until Mum would pick him up at the airport and say "You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille."
At twenty, I found myself in the back of my mate's latest boyfriend's car getting a lift home from a party. His mix tape looped around to Lucille and we sang loudly in the backseat. When we got around to the part about the crop in a field, I asked "who seriously has four hundred children?"
My friends fell about laughing and they still bring it up on a regular basis. Turns out Lucille's scorned lover had four hungry children and a crop in the field.
I saw Kenny Rogers in concert at the Gympie Muster back in 2012. Although had his B-Side face by then (the A-side version was my favourite), he sounded exactly the same. My mates and I had dubbed ourselves "Kenny's Angels" and we had jackets and a sign that made it onto the big screen.
After the concert, I was convinced that Kenny had given me a look that said "Come backstage and I'll regale you with stories from the road and sign your jacket" but the security guard thought I was mistaken. I attempted to out run him, but cowboy boots are slippery and he promptly dissuaded me with a shoulder barge.
So, my friends, I never met Mr Rogers, but our band of merry women formed in Kenny's honour have completed the Great Endeavour Rally twice. We even WON this year's One Day Rally.
Kenny chose a fine time to leave us, but I'd like to think he would be proud of his Angels.
Vale Kenny Rogers and thanks for the memories.