Tuesday, April 24, 2007

My Willie Nelson Handshake

Back in September, Willie Nelson was passing through south Louisiana on the way to somewhere and was stopped by police on Interstate 10 just outside of Breaux Bridge, LA. He and his passengers were ticketed for possession of various drugs and let go. Today he appeared in St. Martin Parish court, which just so happens to be the courthouse in which I am working. I was minding my own business in the Clerk of Court's office when a real commotion began at the front entrance. It wasn't long before I learned who had shown up for court. Many people ran to the courtroom to catch a glimpse of the country legend, while I just tried to go about my daily business. Apparently, he met with the DA in his office to avoid a mob in the small courtroom, so many people returned to work without so much as a glance of the red-headed stranger.

After about an hour, the security guards watching the closed circuit TV monitors in the front of the courthouse started saying that Willie was on the move and was being escorted out of the building through the side door. I wasn't far, so I hurried to see a small crowd at the door but no Willie Nelson. I pushed my way through the door and there he was at the bottom of the steps. Dressed in a black suit, cowboy boots and dark sunglasses, his long hair in a single trademark braid, Willie was happily signing autographs and posing for pictures.

I made my way down the steps and positioned myself for a couple of quick pictures with my camera phone. He seemed to be enjoying the attention, but the parish police were trying to move him along to his awaiting car. Satisfied that I had seen the man up close, I decided to make my way around his awaiting car and head back to work in the courthouse. At the same moment, he was making his way around the other side and before I knew it, we were alone behind the car standing face to face. I instinctively held out my hand and said hello. He amiably smiled, said hi and shook my hand. Rather than delay his departure any longer, I moved along as he got in the car to leave. In all the times I have seen Willie Nelson in concert, I never thought I would ever have the opportunity to shake the man's hand, let alone while on the steps of the courthouse in St. Martinville, LA. I have to say that I had a pretty great day today!


Anonymous said...

Hey Wes - great story. I remember when you ran into Jerry Springer in the French Quarter when A&M was in the Sugar Bowl. But Willie Nelson in Breax Bridge? Now that's saying something. As I have often mentioned, landwork provides many unique opportunities to meet interesting people, and your encounter with Willie is a great example! Mack and Jerry

Bubba's Sis said...

Now you must never wash that hand.

I love Willie - I got to meet him at the rodeo in 1986 (my high school drillteam was performing at the rodeo for Texas' sesquicentennial, and he was there so we got to meet him!). We smoked some weed together.

OK, that part isn't true, but I really did meet him!

An awesome experience, indeed.

Roxanne said...

Free Willie!