Hi, everyone, I finally got to meet Melinda in Gilbert today.
Some of you may know that I'm disabled & have been having some health problems--why I wasn't able to go to Franklin. I've had a friend visiting me, & she wanted to drive me up to Gilbert! Desiree suggested that I email Kelley about what the setup was. Kelley answered back with specific instructions about where to go, etc. She also wrote, "I'm so glad that Backups will be there tomorrow." Alan had made me a small Backups logo that I could hold up to be recognized.
Gilbert is a s.e. suburb of Phoenix. We did a MapQuest & discovered the Bashas grocery store was in the very southern part of Gilbert & much closer than we expected. We arrived a little after 3 (Melinda's signing was from 3:30-5:30.), & there were hardly any cars in the parking lot. When we got inside, there was a small line of 8-10 people. There was an imposing security guy standing by the table where she would be signing. I took up my note from Kelley, & he said it would be OK for me to be first in line, so we pulled out my little camp stool, & I sat down. The mother & 2 sons (probably 4 & 6) who were already there were very accomodating & stood beside me, & we talked a lot while waiting. (The mother whispered that the boys were really there for the ice cream, & they kept looking over at the table where the guys were fixing the little cups!)
Melinda & Kelley were about 5 minutes late. I was holding up my Backups logo, but they weren't really focusing on it. Suddenly, Melinda pointed at me & said, "Sue, get up here right now!" I guess she recognized me from my myspace photo on Kelley's message. She came to the side of the table, held out her arms, & said, "I'm going to give you a big, ole hug." I answered back, "This is what I came for!" Then she gave me the wonderful Melinda hug that others have described.
She then sat down, pulled out her pen, & said, "I'm going to write you a special message," & proceeded to. She grabbed my hands & talked about how special the Backups are & how much we all mean to her; she is so happy that we are there for her! She kept repeating that she was so glad I had come to meet her. While she was holding my hands, she noticed the silver ring splints I wear & told me to find Kelley & show them to her (I guess she thought they were stylin'!)
I asked her if she had been able to see Jordin during this trip, & she said, "Not yet, but I hope to tonight." Then she said a few more personal things to me & asked about my health, & then it was time for her to get started with the signing. She was her usual kind & wonderful self!
I had a few copies of the logo, & as I was looking for Kelley, I walked back through the line & showed them to people. A couple of them were particularly interested, & we may get a few new members.
I found Kelley in the checkout lane, buying food. She said she felt like she was coming down with something, so she was buying juice & other things with vitamin C, so she wouldn't give it to Melinda. She gave me a big hug, & we talked for 10-15 minutes. She reiterated how much Melinda loves us Backups & how important we are to her & also told a cute story about Melinda going out looking for other Idols' fans (I won't mention which ones!) & saying her Backups were so much better than the others' fan clubs. She said that Melinda had been writing with Jonny Lang last Friday!
I told Kelley that I had forgotten to tell Melinda what Gale told me, "I'm Sue, & I'm a Backup on crack," (an inside joke related to a comment Melinda made at the AI taping on Monday), & she laughed & promised to tell Melinda. I said it is amazing how we have become a big family, how Alan had made the logo for me, etc. We talked about more odds & ends, & as we parted, she said, "Here, I want to give you another hug." When we left, she was out in the parking lot looking for their driver to ditch the groceries with, but he wasn't there.
Interestingly, because the store was so rural, there weren't many people there, only about 25 people in line. The woman with the boys said she had heard about it on the radio, but it didn't appear be that well organized. If I had waited, I probably would have been able to talk with Melinda more, but I was pooped just having gotten there!
Alan, I suggest we make something about the size of a business card, with the logo & website address on it. I would have loved to have a bunch of them to hand out, & maybe Backups in the later tour stops could do that. It might help us get more members!
Anyway, I had a wonderful time & was so glad I went!
A big thanks to my friend Lee who made it all possible
, & to all of you for being Backups!