It was the 4th of July, 1981 – and it was HOT. Record hot.
We had been driving all night from Jacksonville Florida and were just east of St. Louis when the air conditioner in our tour bus decided it had had enough and suddenly gave up in protest. It was right around noon.
It only took a few minutes before we were gasping for air and panting like sled dogs in Alabama. Suddenly, as we crossed over the Mississippi and saw St. Louis on the other side, a vision appeared before my sweaty eyes. There on the river’s edge, right beneath the behemoth shining silver arch, was a huge festival where thousands of people had gathered amidst the colorful tents and spinning rides. It was like St. Louis threw a surprise party just for me!
But then as we drove past it I saw my present. Right smack in the middle of all the people was a geyser. A beautiful cold wet delicious geyser shooting straight up in the air, and raining down on what appeared to be a small group of people - including 2 girls dancing around in the water.
I ran up to the front of the bus and smacked our driver on the shoulder.
“Dude… we HAVE to stop down there for a break. We’re suffocating in this thing and we can cool off there in that fire hydrant.”
“Man, I’d love to Jeff, but we have to play in Kansas City tonight and we’re barely gonna make it in time as it is. And by the time we work our way through all that traffic and find a place to park this beast it will be another hour. Sorry bud – but we just can’t stop.”
In 1987 I was back in St. Louis again, but this time to perform for the Sammy Davis Jr. Telethon for M.S.
All the big stars were there… Sammy himself, Billy Crystal, Lola Falana, Lou Rawls and of course, Livingston Fury.
It was an exciting night to say the least. Hundreds of people packed the ballroom of the Adams Mark hotel, celebrities signed autographs, and for a few minutes earlier that evening, I was part of a historic and very worthy charity event.
But the best part was that fact that we were also hired to be the band at AJ's, the hotel nightclub, for the entire month to follow.
And the very next night is when I saw her - wearing a smokin hot skintight yellow minidress, dancing directly in front of the stage and sneaking suggestive peeks at me when she thought I wasn’t looking. Of course when you’re so cool that you wear sunglasses on stage, there really was no way she could tell when I wasn’t looking. Which was never.
Immediately after the first set ended her girlfriend came running up to the stage.
“My friend thinks you're hot!” she yelled over the Rick Astley tune the DJ was now playing.
“Well that’s true," I laughed, "I am sweating like a pig.”
And from there I made a bee-line directly to Charli’s table, where she immediately buried her face in her hands in utter embarrassment.
“Ah, don’t be embarrassed,” I schmoozed. “I was on my way over here anyway. Your friend just made it easier for me.”
And that’s how it all began. We spent every waking moment together that month getting to know each other… very well.
And one day we were looking through one of her scrapbooks from when she was younger, and on one of the pages was a picture from the St. Louis Post Dispatch of her and her girlfriend dancing around in a fire hydrant. I looked at the caption underneath the picture.
Young people taking advantage of a fire hydrant opened by the St. Louis Fire Department's Engine Co. 8 to help cool off VP Fair visitors on the riverfront.
I looked at the date at the top. It said 1981. This was incredible.
“Uh, please tell me about this picture.”
And that’s when Charli went on to explain how horribly hot it was that day, and how the fire department opened up the hydrant but for some reason they only kept it open for about 10 minutes.
“So you’re saying you were the only ones dancing in the water that day?”
“Because my sweet love… not only did I first see you 6 years ago, but I knew I wanted to be with you even then.”
And that, my friends, is what we call destiny!