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May 26, 2005

"Hi, I'm Garth Brooks. Can you hand me my pants?"

Garth Brooks proposed to Trisha Yearwood tonight.

This isn't exactly groundbreaking news. They've long been linked as an item by the press. (She's rumored to be the reason they broke up.) I think the business about proposing on stage was a little tacky but I don't perform in front of 7000 people every night.

While I was at University I worked in a record store. This brought me exposure to both of these country legends. (At least indirectly.)

The first is story is Garth Brooks. Garth, before he exploded in Country music, used to tour the smaller regional concert tours. This is very typical. Kenny Chesney and Gretchen Wilson are two who've recently come up out of this farm league sort of approach.

One of our local venues for these sorts of smaller shows is a small amusement park called Camden Park in Ceredo Kenova, WV.

One of the guys I worked with at the record store was Wayne. (I have a LOT of Wayne stories.) Wayne used to work part time at Camden Park with his friend Charlie whenever there was a concert. Wayne worked the first concert Garth Brooks played at Camden Park.

During the show it was getting closer and closer to the time for Garth Brooks to take the stage. No one could find him. Someone tasked Wayne to go find Garth and off he went.

The main dressing room for the venue was also the storage room for all of the midway prizes. This was one of the last places that Wayne checked and, sure enough, he found Garth Brooks. Garth was struggling to get dressed and when Wayne walked through the door he found Garth trying to wrestle his shirt, hat and guitar and doing a poor job of all three. (Almost falling over in the process.) Finally Garth noticed Wayne, introduced himself and asked if Wayne could hand him the pair of pants on the doorknob.

When Trisha Yearwood's first album came out she had the full court press of her record label behind her. (Sort of like what MC Hammer had going for his second major label record but in Trisha's case it worked.) We received a metric ton of Trisha Yearwood crap to dress out our cashwrap and store windows. Posters, signs, etc. By the time we were done our cash registers looked like the centerpiece of the Trisha Yearwood temple.

About a week later I was ringing up a man at the cashwrap. I remember that he looked really annoyed about something. He had a lot of country music in his pile so I gestured to the wall behind me, chock full o' Trisha Yearwood posters and asked "Have you heard any of her music yet?"

I was then given a hard look as he stood there silently for a minute.

"That's my ex-wife."


Without being asked he opened up his wallet and pulled out the photo sleeves. He began placing pictures on the counter: He and Trisha in a staged picture a la Sears Portrait Studios, one from Christmas and one with them and a dog.

"That's my dog. When we separated she tried to take my dog. The dog I had raised since I was a kid. When we went to court I told the judge I didn't want any of her money. I just wanted my dog back."

At this point almost all of the employees were now at the counter listening intently. (It's not everyday you witness a Nashville soap opera.) He then showed us a picture of just him with the dog.

"She can have all the record deals she wants. The b#$%@ couldn't get my dog."

He said some other things about Trisha that made it pretty clear that he felt fame had changed their relationship and not for the better.

I hope Garth and Trisha have a great life together. I just hope that Garth makes sure to put his dogs in the pre-nuptial agreement.

Posted by Jim at May 26, 2005 12:17 AM


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