Spring 2015, I got an email from a girl from Montana (US). Randi asked me if it would be possible to book me for her wedding that will take place in Automn 2015. She saw me together with her boyfriend in Paris last year and since then Mike did not stop talking about me. She wanted to make a surprise for him and I instantly fell in love with that idea. So I found myself month later in a plane, heading over the great ocean to the US to be part of Randi and Mike’s special day.
After 12 hours of flight I arrived safe and sound in Helena (the capital of Montana). I never saw such an airport before. All made out of wood! Cowboys with their families, having balloons and banner “Welcome home”, welcomed their children back home from a trip to France, I already felt the warmth in their gestures. Lovely!
I called the hotel and they send me a shuttle. You always expect a man, who drives a shuttle, don’t we? This time not at all, the shuttle was driven by a 70 years white-haired old lady with that country accent we all have been listening in the Western movies and she said: “Welcome to Montana!” and suddenly my heart whispers to my brain, with the same power of when I first stepped out of the metro and saw the Madison Square Garden in NY, “ Yes, I’m in America”.
A beautiful room was assigned to me, deposed my luggage and my travel companions, Martina the guitar and Arnold the Amp, I left the hotel to have a walk and discover Helena.
So many white tiny villas dressed for the Halloween upcoming party, huge green gardens and pure fresh air.
I saw a police car parked and after two seconds I had my first selfie. These cars are like space shuttles for me. Computers and cameras on board. I didn’t take too long before a cop, well a policeman dressed as a soldier, asked me why I was taking those pictures and asked me to give him my papers. I didn’t panic, since I`m used to it in Paris. Everything went all right in the end.
After a long walk, I ended up in a live music bar, the biggest in town. In the menu, country music, beef burger and people dancing like crazy. I did my best to just sit at the table and listen to the music but they didn’t let me, they grabbed my arm and I found myself dancing and laughing with everybody.
The next morning, the bus took all the guests to the Kleffner Ranch where the ceremony and the celebration had to take place. What a beautiful spot! Surrounded by large fields, you can see bulls, horses and other animals. The sunshine warms the cold October air. People telling each other how lucky we are to not find snow everywhere.
I’ve been trying to be discrete, hiding in the back of the bus, not to be found by Mike. During the ceremony I sneaked into the barn where the celebration takes place afterwards and set up.
And here they come. Since the sun strikes Mike’s eyes, he needed some seconds to get used to the darker lightening in the barn but when he realized that it was me, singing live in front of him, he couldn’t hold back his tears of joy and fell in Randi’s arms. What a beautiful moment!
He holds a speech between my two sets, introducing me to the 200 guests and I felt almost as part of the family. His words touched me. He couldn’t tell me more often how thankful he is that I came to surprise him.
Later on, after dinner, people started dancing and singing along with my songs and when the band jumped in, I found myself singing a song of ‘Journey’ being surrounded by a party crowd that did not want to let go of me. I could have stayed forever. Such a unique experience, dancing with young and old, no matter what generation.
I’ll never forget this night and will return for sure to explore more of this beautiful country. Montana, we’ll see us again!
P.S. Special thanks to Randi and Mike and their families for making me feel part of their special day!