Celebrity Encounter · 15 April 2012

We tend to recognize our favorite rock stars no matter how they are dressed. So being able to spot a camouflaged celebrity who is seeking privacy tends to make the encounters all the more exciting.

In our small town, the pastor of our church, Pastor Nate, is considered a rock star. He leads a large congregation, but he is also active in the community. He gets called on from time to time by others than just church members to help lead people in times of stress and dire circumstances. And so, he has become a celebrity. Even if he does not look like one.

To see Pastor Nate on the street takes a careful eye. True, he is a bow hunter and therefore a master of blending into his surroundings in the woods. (I can see him in a gillie suit stalking his prey with his bow at the ready, even though he tells us that he sits in a tree stand and waits patiently instead.) He takes his camouflage around town seriously too. Nobody would mistake him for a pastor just by looking at him. People often see him around with a shaggy beard, a skull cap, and a flannel shirt – he looks just like everybody else in town.

Recently, my wife, The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi, ran into Pastor Nate at the library. One of the most wonderful things about the encounter (according to my wife) was that he addressed her by name. (He used her real name and not β€œThe Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi.”) Addressing people by name is a skill my wife admires in others because she wishes she had that skill. Still, she was astounded that the lead pastor of a large church would know her first name. While it is true that we are season ticket holders for our near front row seats at church, it is still a wonderful feeling to be addressed by name. Especially by a celebrity.

The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi and I both like to give people their private lives. Consequently, she would normally not ask a celebrity for an autograph or picture. Instead, she would just walk up to him, tell him she loved him, and walk away (like she did with Cuba Gooding, Jr. years ago). Or she would give our celebrity pastor space in order to give him some semblance of a normal private life (without being the person who always asks for advice or comments on his last sermon). So when Pastor Nate addressed The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi by name, it was like a celebrity talked to one of his public adorers. Then, instead of getting advice or instruction (or an autograph) from him, she told him what to do.

The two had been checking out books they had reserved, but Pastor Nate could not get his checked out. They were at the self-checkout stands and he could not get his card to work. The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi offered to let him use her card if his had something wrong with it. He was surprised, but grateful for the offer. As she was passing over her card, Pastor Nate further explained that his son had reserved a book and he did not want to go out to the truck to get him and his card. Pausing, with the card in her outstretched hand, The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi told him that hers would not be able to check out the book either. Instead, he would need to go up to the counter and provide proof that he was related to the person who had made the hold. A DNA sample or seven pieces of picture ID would suffice in most cases. (Actually, it is much simpler than that, but embellishment is the spice of story.) The advice paid off and he was able to check out the book with no hassle.

The encounter was like a dream – my wife had not only been addressed by a rock star, she had given him a little music lesson too! When I saw Pastor Nate later and talked to him about his encounter with my wife at the library, he was excited and grateful for her offer of the use of her card and for the lesson he learned. She was his rock star.

His attitude, the way he dresses like us normal folk, and just about everything he does belies the fact that Pastor Nate is a rock star. Still, if I ever see him around town with a painted face wearing a gillie suit, I will walk away to avoid any encounter with him and I will assume he wants his privacy.

© 2012 Michael T. Miyoshi

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