The Pastor's Buzz

Pastor Buzz Trexler's blog for God's people in The Meadow.

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Name: Buzz Trexler
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Journalist for 29 years; married to Donna for 28 years; parent of David, 27, and Elizabeth, 24; pastor of Green Meadow United Methodist Church in Alcoa since 2002.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

You look familiar to me ...

As best as I can determine, it was Oct. 26, 1991.

Donna and I were seeing Rich Mullins for the first time at the Civic Auditorium in Knoxville, Tennessee. We were standing at our seats on the left side of the auditorium and it seemed the show was a little late getting started. This fellow walks past us in shorts, sandals and a T-shirt and as he passes our eyes lock. There is that moment when there is a hint of recognition and it seems one of us is going to say something. He smiles and continues walking ... up to the stage. I laugh, look at Donna and say, "That's Rich Mullins!"

He kicks off his shoes and sits down to the hammer dulcimer and begins playing.

It's a moment locked in my memory, though I can only guess at the date from a Rich Mullins timeline at www.audiori.com/richmullins/timeline4.html From 1991 until 1997, Rich only played two shows in Knoxville. I was at both and this incident took place at the first show.

I can also only guess that it was the same night that Rich's brother David cites in this interview with Rhonda Miskowski:

Rhonda: ...What is your funniest memory of Rich?

Dave: Him not being able to get into his own concert!!

Rhonda: You're kidding - do tell!

Dave: We were in Knoxville, TN, and right before the concert he decided that he and Michael Aukofer and us - me, Robin and Jonathan, should go to get something to eat.So we're eating at some restaurant and he realizes it's time for the concert to start. So it's pouring down rain and we run to the car and rush to the concert. I dropped Rich, Michael - who carried Jonathan like a football - and Robin off at the door and went to park the car. When they got in the door, the ticket taker wouldn't let him in without a ticket. And he told the guy, but you don't understand, I'm Rich Mullins. And the guy responded, yeah, yeah, that's what they all say. There was a picture on a poster in the lobby and they got it and showed it to the guy. So he finally got in. And Michael had to sneak on-stage because the Ragamuffins were already on stage playing. Pretty funny.

It's also pretty "Rich." His life was filled with such stories of not being recognized ... and even unique places of being recognized. And how it never seemed important.

Now, 13 years after the night of recognition/nonrecognition in Knoxville, I was reminded of it during a Todd Agnew concert at Knoxville Chrisitian Center. I interviewed Todd a little less than two weeks ago for The Daily Times and had brought a copy of the interview with me to the concert. I normally grab some meet-and-greet passes for me and my family and give the artist a copy of the interview. However, this time I didn't bother to get the passes and merely bought the tickets.

My daughter Elizabeth, her boyfriend Sam and I were standing with some members of my church's youth group in an incredibly long line that snaked through the parking lot. This guy walks by and our eyes locked, he smiles, I smile, and there was this moment of recognition and feeling that one of us was going to say something. He walks on and I laugh.

"That guy really has the Rich Mullins look down," I said, pointing to his black hair, bare feet and raggedy jeans. I also was struck by how much he looked like Rich, except for the heavy goatee-like beard.

Later, when he came on stage, I saw it was Todd Agnew. It blew me away.

I had paid little attention to his publicity pix.

And, like Rich, it really didn't seem to matter to him, anyway.

Grace and peace.

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