Being a Fanboy

I’ve seen Caedmon’s Call perform twice: the first was at The University of North Alabama a few years back. Because I was traveling with friends [namely, Jess and Karina] and, for some forgotten reason, we had to be back to Huntsville for early things the next day, I didn’t get to meet the band then.

A couple years ago, the band played Big Spring Jam. Well, that’s not entirely accurate–at the time, Danielle Young had just had complications with her first pregnancy, so she and Cliff, who form two-thirds of CC’s vocal triumvirate, were in the hospital waiting for Danielle’s pregnancy to settle down.

I never will forget Derek coming out center-stage and saying, “It’s weird to be standing here. I’m usually over there,” nodding to his usual spot on the side of the stage. “How many of you have heard Caedmon’s Call on the radio?” he then asked. The crowd hooted. “Good,” he said. “Well, I do a lot of the songs that don’t make it on the radio, so I hope that you’ll enjoy it.”

Derek’s right: a lot of the “Derek” songs end up not being “CCM” enough to make it onto stations like WAY-FM. The CC “radio songs” are usually penned by Aaron Tate, one of the band’s founding members but one who never tours. Aaron, he writes.

Derek writes, too. Derek’s written a lot of the songs that have shaped the way that I think about life, love, and all those intangible things that keep you up in the middle of the night. Lines like “Given a chance and a rock see which one breaks a window / and see which one keeps me up all night and into the day.” That line’s resonated on so many levels with me, and not just in the original, intended purpose [as part of “Table for Two”, Derek’s ultimate song about singleness].

I have often been caught up with later lines of the song, lines like, “This day’s been crazy but everything’s happened on schedule / from the rain and the cold to the drink that I spilled on my shirt / ’cause You knew how You’d save me before I fell dead in the Garden / You knew this day long before You made me out of dirt / and You know that plans that You have for me / and You can’t plan the ends and not plan the means / and so I suppose I just need some peace / just to get me to sleep.”

Derek’s written many other great songs, and I could write a whole entry on each one of them; however, I’ve quoted “Table for Two” enough on this site to make you all aware of it [and painfully so, I imagine]. But even though there was that one grand, glorious evening where it was Derek’s writing on showcase, I didn’t get to stick around and meet Derek after the concert, as I was chaperoning kids from church and had to leave when they did.

A couple of months ago, I found out that Derek would be a part of Andy Peterson‘s Christmas program up in Nashville. I made tentative plans to go, but didn’t think much of it. [Typical me.] It got to about a week before, and my friend Ben mentioned to me that our boy JP was going to be unable to go. Seeing that Sarah and Trey were going, and that Ben needed a way to get there, a plan formed:

Ben would drive from Jacksonville, Fla., to Huntsville, Ala., on Saturday afternoon and stay with me on Saturday night.

Ben and I would go enjoy the fun at Aldersgate on Sunday morning.

Ben and I would hop in my truck and trek up to Nashvegas.

Ben and I would pick up his friend Erin, who had our tickets, at Lipscomb.

Ben, Erin, and I would hang out at a coffee house across the street from the Belcourt Theatre until Sarah and Trey and all of Trey’s wacky friends would be able to make it to the theatre.

So, heck, we did.

So we do all that, and while we’re sitting in Fido’s, Sandra McCracken, Derek’s wife, just happens to walk right by our table. Ben, never a bashful sort, has met Sandra and Derek once before, so he strikes up a conversation with her. Me, I’m still sitting there going, “Man, this gal can write, she’s doggone good looking, and she’s married to my boy Derek. Dude.” My lower jaw manages to stay in its normal position.

Finally, Trey and Sarah and the brood arrive, and I finally get to meet Treyford. [As Dan Patrick would say, “He’s tall.”] Sarah I’d met once before, on the road back from Jersey, and she was as delightfully wonderful as ever.

We hang out at the concert, which is great. But there has to be an ending to all of this, right? Yep, and as you might expect, it involves Derek. After the concert, our little [] brood makes its way down to speak with Darkwing. Trey and Ben ran into Sandra and Derek back in October while I was off calling a hockey game, so they lead the group up there. Derek, despite having met a ton of people in his life, recognizes them.

Of course, this is where the fun of message boards works against them. Trey and Ben are the type of goobs to change their “display name” on message boards at will. They do this every couple of weeks, so it’s hard for someone without a scorecard–or a heroin-like habit of reading the rumor board … hey … wait–to know their real names. But hey, Derek obviously recognizes them.

Then, I catch Derek’s eye.

So you know, I’m a prolific poster on the rumor board. [That’s putting it mildly–I registered on 9/1/02, and now I have the most posts on the board by about 300, and that’s over folks who’ve been registered for six months longer than I … no life, yes.] I have long had this photo of myself on the rumor board–oh, yeah, it’s the source photo for the smiling mug you see to your left here on–as my profile photo. To make myself easy to spot [as if I’m hard to pick out, heh], I wore that shirt and hat to the concert.

So, when Derek sees me, he says:

“Oh, it’s GEOF!”

I tried not to pee my pants. I succeeded, but only at the cost of losing all control of the rest of my faculties, doubling over in laughter while shaking Derek’s hand. He laughed right with me, though, so it’s all cool. Then he recognizes Sarah, too, saying, “Man, it’s like meeting a bunch of celebrities!”

I take a second and think: I have the most posts; Ben is second; Sarah is fourth; Trey is fifth. Yeah, we’re net.celebrities in our own corner of the woods.

But the concept was just mind-boggling: here is a man who has made an influence on my life–stronger than he might ever imagine, stronger than I’d probably ever realize myself–and *he* recognizes *me*. What a freakish thing.

I still can’t quite believe it.

I’ll meet Derek again. We might never be anything more than acquaintances, but for that one moment … yeah.