When I was a kid our parents took us to a Carroll Baker concert at The Arts and Culture Centre. During the intermission, the country legend signed autographs for fans. Beyond her incredible talent – and at that age my musical influences were whatever my parents played around the house or in the car – but I remember thinking; she’s the most beautiful and most talented and most famous woman in the world. And she’s about to talk to me. Wow! And talk to me she did, for what must have been only a brief minute or two, but to the little kid I was, it felt like I was the only one who mattered as she signed the back of one of my mother’s cheques – the only paper mom had in her purse for me to use.
It was a special moment I never forgot, and anytime I have the opportunity to interview Baker, I always bring that up and remind her just how special she made me feel that evening. She actually says she remembers signing the cheque and making a comment about filling it out for any amount I wanted; which she did, and she also remembered my hair. Those feelings I had after that special encounter, which happened when I was about seven years old, never left me.
When your kid finds out Mark Critch will be heading into The Herald office for a photo shoot and a sit down about his latest project with your usually (in their opinion anyway) very boring and unexciting mother, it feels like an opportunity to let history repeat itself a little.
“He’s famous!” my 10-year-old squealed, so very incredibly impressed for once. Of course, bestie and neighbourhood pal Sadie had to be brought up to speed too. We all know it’s no fun to meet someone famous unless there’s someone you can share such an experience with.
The girls strolled into the office that morning and made out like bandits. Mom (me!) also happened to have photo shoots lined up with the Edge’s Carl English and the Growlers’ Ryane Clowe, so naturally the gals were glowing. Of course, it helps that Newfoundland’s own superstars, like Baker did back in my day, had an appreciation for their young fans. Clowe and English made the girls feel like superstars and both men were more than gracious with snaps and selfies and general chatter.
But then Critch was something over-the-top special. The girls have seen him in a variety of clips from 22 Minutes. My daughter loves the Cod Father video best, and when Critch went topless on Signal Hill and one-upped the PM, she couldn’t stop giggling. When his book, Son of a Critch, showed up and I began reading it around the house, my daughter – who herself has a love of reading and treats books as if they are spun from gold – kept asking me to read ‘the funny parts’ out loud to her. She also reminded me to use a bookmark, as opposed to my usual bad habit of ruining the binding with an open flip-over. I’d been told.
Hamming it up
Posing for a laugh with the girls that day in the office, Critch seemed to enjoy hamming it up with his giddy young audience as they ‘read’ excerpts from his book while giggling appropriately – more than he did any of the more serious shots we took for potential covers
And the girls? Well, they were over the moon thrilled with the attention, and it choked me up a little. I remembered what that felt like almost as if I was once again that little girl meeting her own superstar – that stunningly beautiful and amazingly talented country songstress who made a small child feel like a million bucks.
Thanks Mark for leaving a mark! Being playful and having a few minutes of fun with two 10-year-olds may have been par for the course for you that morning, but to two impressionable 10-year-olds who think you are bigger than sliced bread, it was nothing short of priceless.
Pam Pardy Ghent, The Herald’s Managing Editor, can be reached by emailing [email protected]