Dreams Do Come True
April 1, 2012
I wrote an article about Ashley Judd's new television series, Missing and titled it, "Best Television Premiere Ever". I had just watched the first episode and felt compelled to go to my computer and put down in writing everything I felt at that precise moment.
I told it just like I felt it. This was a unique experience in television for me. It was as if I were watching a movie rather than a television series and it was taking place on location in Europe which nobody else in television is doing.
Somewhere in her hotel room waiting for a talk show interview the next morning, Ashley went online and was searching for reviews of her premiere. Luckily, she found mine. She noticed my profile listed me in Texas. All these thoughts were going through her beautiful head and then she did the obvious; she found a way to contact me.
I received a phone call the next day. It was Ashley's agent asking me if I would be available for a phone call from Ashley Judd at 11:30 that morning, New York time. I said, "Okay, who is this?" The voice at the other end responded, "I am serious, Discovery2020 (that is my writing name). I am Mrs. Franchitti's agent and she read your article about her tv premiere and would like to talk to you."
My heart went right up into orbit! "Please tell me the truth. I have blood pressure issues and heart issues, which are under control, but this could send me straight to ER. Are you being dead serious with me?" "Yes, sir, I am. Dead serious" he replied. "Please tell her I will listen for her ring," I blurted out as my chest swelled.
It was 7:00 A.M. my time when he called. I had three and a half hours to wait for Ashley's call. It was the longest three and a half hours of my entire life. I paced the floor. I drank four cups of coffee. I had already drunk three cups prior to her agent's call. I checked my blood pressure twice and it was fairly normal. I had a history of losing my voice over the phone when talking to someone famous. This only happened once, but has always stayed with me. It was very embarrassing. It is a form of panic disorder which most Americans have. Some are not aware that they do. It comes in all forms and depths of acquisition of your being. I called a celebrity on a local talk show and when he got on the phone with me I simply lost my voice. Was this going to happen again?
The phone rang. There was still a part of me that thought this was some kind of hoax. Somebody out there read my article and decided to play an ugly trick on me. "Hello." I held my breath. "Hi Discovery2020! This is Ashley." I recognized the voice. Okay, now I must sound normal, I thought to myself. Do not sound like a kid with a crush. "Hello, Ashley. I am honored. I know your time is valuable." Immediate reply, "I am the one that is honored by your very sweet article about me and my new show. I just wanted to thank you one on one."
I am feeling the words starting to slip away. I must gather myself quickly. "You are very welcome, Ashley and I meant every single word. I have been a huge fan of yours for some time now and was expecting this series to be really good, but it was better than expected."
"Could I please have your name?" she asked. "I simply can not continue to call you Discovery2020." I told her to call me Bill. "Bill, I see from your profile on the article you wrote that you reside in Texas. Are you anywhere near the Texas Motor Speedway?" I told her that I was probably 45 minutes away. "My husband," she started, "do you know who my husband is?" I replied that I knew her husband was race car driver Dario Franchitti and that I had never missed an Indy 500. Therefore, I watched her husband win the event for the second time in 2010. She continued, "Well then, that makes this even better. My husband and I are coming to Texas for the event at the Speedway and we want you to be our guest in my suite."
Wait a moment. When am I going to wake up from this dream? Are you kidding me? Hello!
"Would you please repeat that, Ashley?" I asked in abashment. She responded, "I said, would you like to be our guest at the Speedway in Texas?" Without further hesitation, "Yes, mam," in my best Texian accent.
A limo picked me up and pulled right up front of the Speedway where a young lady waited to escort me to Ashley's suite. I mumbled a few words to this nice hostess, not aware of anything that I was saying at the time. We walked into the suite and there were several people inside and I glanced to the rear of the room towards the glass looking out over the track and there she was, Ashley Judd in the flesh. We approached her and she reached out her hand for mine. This was really happening.
We exchanged a few pleasantries and she introduced me to her friends. These were local friends that came with her to the Speedway anytime she and Dario were in town. We chatted amongst the guests and then, unexpectedly, Ashley took me by the hand and walked us to the rear of the room to a couple of ringside seats where we were alone. Her husband was not on the track, yet and she just wanted to talk with me.
After a half hour, or so of conversation, mostly me talking about her, she suddenly turned to me and without hesitation asked, "Bill, how would you like to be my pr man?" Okay, now I know I am in a dream. I just looked at her and stared. She continued, "I realize this is completely out of left field, but I am not happy with my current pr guy and after reading the way you feel about me, the actress and the way you have expressed to me in this short visit your passion for film and film stars and all that goes with that media, I just had a sudden urge to bring you on-board. That is the way I do things, without provocation."
I had a million questions to ask, but at this stage of my life, I did not want to waste another minute. I didn't even ask about salary. I simply blurted out, "Yes!" She gave me a warm hug; we shook hands and she said we would talk out the details after the races.
After my talk with Ashley following the races, I called my wife and she could barely understand my rambling. Once I made her understand, she and I talked about what this would mean. I made it clear that I would be gone for months at a time. This could be a very challenging time for her, but if she wanted the better life for us both that we had always talked about, this was my last chance to obtain it. After many tears, she agreed and I was coming home for the last time in a long while to pack and depart again with Ashley and her entourage.
From that point on, it was non-stop flights, luxury hotels, interviews, parties, gala events and all the while sitting up late in my room writing articles of my journey and Ashley's adventure. We flew to Scotland where she and Dario have a second home and Ashley took me on a quick tour of the countryside. We were becoming very good friends. My wife was home alone tending to the day to day routine and mundane things that needed to be carried on in my absence, but the deposits I was making to our bank were much greater than ever before and she was happy for that and doing a lot more shopping than ever.
After Scotland, we returned to the states and traveled to her acreage in Tennessee where her home was adjacent to her mom's and sister's land. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with the family. Then, it was off to one of Dario's races, followed by a trip to New York for a fund raiser. I was growing tired, having not been used to the lifestyle as is Ashley, but nevertheless was happy and content in my new vocation. Ashley seemed acutely aware of my contentment and told me how happy she was for her decision to bring me into the fold.
Yesterday, Saturday March 31st, Ashley and I were in New Orleans for the Kentucky/Louisville final four game. The winner would play Monday night, April 2nd for the national championship against the winner of the other game between Kansas and Ohio State. Being Ashley's alma mater, she simply could not miss this game even with her husband in Birmingham, Alabama preparing for a race.
However, we will go to Birmingham today to watch Dario attempt to win and then come back to New orleans on Monday night for the championship game. The picture to the right is Ashley in her Kentucky attire and showing off her moves at yesterday's game.
As you know by now, Kentucky did win 69-61 over Louisville yesterday. I am in my room early this Sunday morning writing an ending to this piece and then it is off to Birmingham.
This is what dreams are made of. Don't ever give up on your dreams.
Scroll down for a final thought.............