Garth Stole Sioux's Heart

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

The Greenwood Cultural Center had a fundraising brunch as part of the commemoration of the Tulsa Race Massacre. A friend of mine (Darice) and I went to Tulsa, and reserved two spots at the brunch. I thought the highlight would be hearing Alfre Woodard speak. She did make a lovely and moving (prepared) speech, but Garth Brooks stole my heart.

Let me preface the rest of this post with this: I am not was not a real fan of his. There is a popular Garth Brooks bar song that I sang--one time--along with a large group of people (surprise--in a bar), but I’m more into Trisha Yearwood. So, when I heard about this brunch, I squealed about other stars who would be in attendance… but I figured I would take a bathroom break when the country star had his turn to talk.

I came prepared with a book (of mine) to give to Alfre Woodard, and one for Wes Studi (a Native American actor) but Brooks was not book-worthy. Or so I thought. My friend loves Garth Brooks--the storyteller--and said she appreciated how “down home” he is. Mentally, I rolled my eyes. Darice loves most people. She was wrong. I was right in my assessment. After all, I’m always right.

I was so wrong (which is almost always the case). Garth Brooks (a Tulsa boy) didn’t have even a post-it in front of him, but his off-the-cuff speech was funny, emotional and inspiring. He told a wonderful story about his dad (and I’m paraphrasing it here):

“At one of my concerts my dad was backstage with me. One of the concert hall guys came and told me, ‘Ninety minutes ago, there were 850,000 people.’ I thought he meant that now there were that many people in the audience. But the man said, ‘No, I mean an hour and half ago there were that many people waiting for you to start the concert. Now there’s even more.’

So I said to my dad, ‘Did you hear that, Dad? 850,000 people here early to see me, to see my concert.’ I thought he’d be impressed. But my dad was a tough guy. Instead of being impressed, he said, ‘That just means there’s 850,000 people you can disappoint… so go out there and make sure you show them a good time.’”

After hearing his humble and touching talk, I inscribed one of my books to Garth and waited in line to have my picture taken with him. This is why he made me a forever fan:

1. He tipped his hat to every woman who came up to talk to him. Every single one without fail. It was a small gesture, not showy, but was obviously just part of who he was.

2. With each person, he connected with them. He looked them right in the eye and truly listened.

3. He was there--posing for pictures--long after everyone else had left.

4. When I handed him a copy of my book, he actually looked at the cover, commented on my name (“You spell your name like this?”), and held the book with the front cover facing the camera.`

                                                Whose book is Garth Brooks holding? My book!

As a writer, I learned several things. One, don’t be surprised when your first impressions turn around and bite you in the butt. Two, always go the extra mile. If I ever am lucky enough to do a book event and someone wants to ask me a question or talk to me after the event’s over, I will remember what a gracious and generous man Garth Brooks was. 

And finally: in my opinion, down-home and humble and off-the-cuff always wins over eloquent and polished...

Sioux Roslawski is now a Garth Brooks fan, along with being a newly-published author. Her book, Greenwood Gone: Henry's Story, is available at Barnes and Noble, along with Amazon.


Margo Dill said...

YAY! I am so excited about this. :) I can't wait to share it now.

Joanne said...

Loved this! And congratulations on getting your book out and into the world. How wonderful that the untold stories of Greenwood are getting attention, and that your book is part of that.

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Isn't it funny how you can go into something like this thinking "Here is the person I'll connect with but this one? Not really." And then it all gets turned upside down.

I'm glad you had such a great experience!

Angela Mackintosh said...

What an awesome photo, Sioux! I don't listen to country, but Garth Brooks sounds like a genuine guy and a class act. That's so funny what he said about your name spelling, and I love his story. I'm so glad you're out promoting Greenwood Gone: Henry's Story! It's a fantastic book. What an amazing experience!

Jeanine DeHoney said...

So glad you were there and got a chance to meet some esteemed celebrities and promote your book about Greenwood. Congratulations again to you.

Cinda said...

Love this story. That is so exciting! My mom and I saw him in concert and that man had more energy than 500 of me. It was a great concert.

Renee Roberson said...

I loved Garth's music in high school and college and I bawled all the way through his documentary, "The Road I'm On." (He cried quite a bit in it, too!) You need to watch it. He strikes me as such a kind and genuine soul, and this story does not surprise me at all. I'm so happy you gave your book to him and that he was so gracious. Way to go!

Sioux Roslawski said...

Margo--Share away... and thanks.

Joanne--I mention you in the acknowledgements. Without you, this book would be in existence. Thanks.

Sue--Life sure can throw us a curve ball.

Angela--I think he IS genuine and is certainly classy when it comes to his grace and manners.

Jeanine--Thanks. I cannot wait until YOUR book is finished and comes out, so I can shower you with congratulations.

Cinda--When he gave his speech, he said he was going to have trouble, because he wasn't used to standing still. (He was behind a podium.) Thanks--and congrats on your book.

Renee--That sounds like something I would enjoy. (I love watching sad or emotional pieces.)

Kim Lehnhoff said...

Sioux, your book is wonderful! I'm going to pass it on to Seth and Russ next!

I hope you sold lots of books to help restore Greenwood.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Kim--Thanks so much. If you have time, please leave a review. Those are so important when it comes to PR and sales.

Cathy C. Hall said...

Yep, Garth's a great guy and good singer, too! :-) So glad it was a great experience for you, Sioux!

Sioux Roslawski said...

Cathy--He really is. I'm watching the Kennedy Center Honors right now. I joked with my husband, saying he would probably hold up my book when he got his honor. Ha!

Linda O'Connell said...

You look mighty fine under Garth's arm. What IF he read your book and promoted it all over hishome town? Unexpected things happen all the time.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Linda--I was kind of hoping he would hold up my book as he was getting his Kennedy Center honor. But no... ;)

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