Monday, February 4, 2019

Making Memories: Stevie Wonder, Football, and Things

You know you are getting old when you remember participating in the Super Bowl festivities the last time Atlanta hosted, showing off the then “new Georgia Dome.” As I looked it up to get my facts straight, the Georgia Dome was deemed an architectural wonder, being the second largest covered stadium in the world in 1992. And as with all state-of-the-art things, years later that shine had worn off and talk began of building the Mercedes-Benz Stadium to take its place. I’ve been to both and have to say that the new one is amazing.

I am not writing an architectural review; however, but to take a stroll through some memories that hearing about the Super Bowl festivities stirred in me.

It was the last weekend in January of 1994, and the eyes of the world were focused on Atlanta, the venue for Super Bowl XXVIII. Of course we, working hard to raise two kids, did not have the money to attend even if it was to be held in our backyard of nearby Atlanta, but we did decide that we could manage to take a day to explore the related events that were held in the streets of downtown Atlanta. So, we loaded up our five and eight-year-old kids and headed out for fun.

As we did on most occasions when in Atlanta, we decided to stop at Guitar Center and have a look around; after all, Mark always wanted to see the latest guitars and pick one off the display to strum and dream of owning for a minute or two, and the kids loved all things music.  After a few minutes, we wandered out of the guitar section following a sound coming from the keyboard section of the store.

It was there that we saw Stevie Wonder swaying back and forth as he filled the room with song. We stood there and watched, getting our own private concert. Stevie’s bodyguard noticed us but determined that we weren’t a threat, nodding in our direction.

As we got the kids back in the car, we explained who was playing the piano and told them about his blindness and just how famous he was. I know that we were probably more impressed than they were at the time.

Our next stop would be Peachtree Street in search of the perfect commemorative T-shirt. We walked around taking in all of the festivities, shopping at the vendors, and finding something to eat. The city streets that we normally drove thru had a much different look about them. Traveling by foot, we looked up at the tall buildings to see the night sky instead of passing along in a car.

Seeing Stevie earlier that day was a reminder that other famous people were probably among us, although most were most likely dining at places we could never afford. Still, the feeling was that this was a moment in local history that we could participate in.

This week as I watched the Super Bowl coverage in Atlanta from the comfort of home, I didn’t have the urge to go down there and participate. I was satisfied with my view from the couch, but I did remember…

The thing that came to me was the importance of taking the time to be in the moment and make a memory for tomorrow. I’m glad that I let Mark persuade me to spend money we probably didn’t need to spend, to do something that some would consider a foolish waste of time, because we made a memory that I and my kids will always have. Not many people have had a private Stevie Wonder concert and, I might do well to do as Stevie says and “Don’t You Worry Bout a Thing.” Those worries that we tend to worry about today, probably won’t be the things we remember tomorrow.

I want to remember the importance of making a memory. There are still many more things to do and see- more memories to be made. Take the time today to do something memorable.

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