Tina Turner and me

Tina Turner newly swissed

No, I haven’t met Tina Turner. I’m hoping to, of course, but it hasn’t happened yet.

Other people I know say that they have spotted her at the grocery store, and since she lives just two train stops away from where I live, it’s only a matter of time.

What will I say when we finally meet? That’s the thing, isn’t it? What do you say to someone like Tina Turner, who probably moved to Switzerland to avoid people like me, people who get all star-struck and then say dumb things around celebrities.

My track record is not good.

On a short vacation a few years ago to Ixtapa, Mexico, Susan and I stayed at a resort hotel that was host to a celebrity golf tournament, and you’ll never guess who I met at the elevator one day. Give up? It was Dick Van Patten. Yes, him! Remember his role as family patriarch Tom Bradford on the TV sitcom Eight is Enough?

Anyway, I smiled and put out my hand to press the up button on the elevator, and Mr. Van Patten thought I was reaching out to shake his hand, so he took my hand graciously and shook it. We said “hi,” a moment that I’m sure he still cherishes deeply.

That was my brush with celebrity.

But Tina Turner is different. She grew up in the American South, was raised by grandparents in a strict Baptist church, and in adulthood has rather publicly embraced Buddhism, even saying that this new faith helped her through difficult times, of which she seems to have had more than her share. Actually, she has called herself a “Buddhist-Baptist” and says that, when she prays, she prays in both a Baptist and Buddhist style which, I have to say, makes me all the more curious. Pastors are attuned to statements like that.

So, I would very much enjoy meeting Ms. Turner, and if I could manage to avoid the awkwardness I experienced with my dear friend Dick Van Patten, I would enjoy having a conversation with her about her spiritual life.

She has one – a spiritual life, that is – for which I’m grateful.  And I would love to know more, if she would be willing to talk.

And then, because I can’t help myself in situations like that, I would probably ask her if she would consider singing at my church – not a concert, but a gospel song, in worship, just one Sunday morning, please. You can’t blame me for dreaming.

(Note: For other posts like this one, click on the “historical figures” tag. You’ll find posts about George Washington, Picasso, Pope Francis, and others.)

About Doug

I have been a writer ever since fifth grade when I won second prize in a “prose and poetry” contest. I am also a Presbyterian pastor, and for several years toward the end of my career I lived and worked in Zürich, Switzerland. I am now retired and live just north of Holland, Michigan, along the lake.

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2 Responses to Tina Turner and me

  1. Susan Davis March 19, 2014 at 3:42 am #

    Richard said exactly the same thing, he would ask her to sing a gospel song at IPC. When we did see her on the Bahnhofstrasses in her fur coat, we just passed by. It wasn’t the right moment. I hope you get her to sing at church!

    By the way, I don’t think you will see her on the train. I bet she drives or is driven most places.

    • Doug March 19, 2014 at 3:50 am #

      For my morning runs I head off along the Seestrasse in the direction of Kusnacht, but haven’t made it yet as far as her home. Not sure what I’ll do when I eventually make it, so I’ll probably wave, if she happens to be driving away at that moment, leaving her to wonder who the wierdo was. I’d love it if she sang for us! And I’ll invite you and Richard to come up for the occasion.

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