I’m not completely sure, but I think Mark Lowry and my mom might be An Item.

It was such a lucky accident that our spring break coincided with the Homecoming concert in Little Rock! I’m posting a lot of pictures, so bear with me– I wanted to show you guys what a great time my parents had last Friday night.

The evening started off a little rocky– 20 minutes before we were ready to walk out the door, my mom came into the living room with one hand over her mouth and the other hand holding up a small white object which turned out to be the cap from her front tooth. Yeah. So in between laughing our heads off, we started making a series of increasingly desperate phone calls to their dentist’s emergency line, which proved to be an exercise in futility. (Dear dentists of the world: If you’re going to close your office early on Fridays, then at least ANSWER YOUR DANG EMERGENCY LINE!) When it became increasingly apparent that nobody was going to call us back, Daddy went into McGuyver mode and started rummaging around in his workbench in the garage to try to come up with some kind of glue he could use to repair the bridgework. I had to nix his first two suggestions because, hello, if it says on the label that it’s not safe to even breathe the toxic stuff, I’m thinking maybe it doesn’t need to be in Mom’s mouth! That left us with good ol’ Elmer’s glue, which none of us thought would really work, but hey, it was better than duct tape. Surprisingly, it seemed to be holding, so with an emergency kit of glue, a Q-tip and a toothpick safely tucked into my purse, we jumped in the car and headed to Little Rock.

When we arrived at the Alltel Arena, Russ had arranged for us to be able to park back with the buses which certainly made things easier. Once inside we went straight to the backstage catering room to eat some dinner. That’s always the best place to find the artists all in one place and I had an agenda– I wanted to get as many good pictures of Mom and Dad with as many people as I could. My parents aren’t big fans of being photographed, but they do love to have the pictures as keepsakes, so honey, I was firmly in paparazzi mode. And may I just say that my sweet Homecoming family COULD NOT HAVE BEEN SWEETER to my parents, and I am forever grateful. Seriously, I have now expanded my list of People I Would Give A Kidney To If They Really Needed It to include the whole dang Gaither crowd, and most of the backstage Alltel people as well.

I want you to know that Russ’ beloved family of choice was also well represented at the concert, along with one of our favorite readers here at B’Bloomr, Carolyn (aka carsmith) and her sweet husband. Momma June, my incredible sister-in-law Berna and her handsome son, Seth were there with bells on. They all seemed to be having a great time, though I was kind of distracted and hyper-aware of Mom and Dad and how they were doing and were they too tired and blah blah blah, so I didn’t really get to spend as much quality time with them as I wanted to. Forgive me, Smedley clan, I’ll make up for it soon, I promise. I missed talking to you.

So anyway, here are the pictures, and I am so glad I have them.

**Here’s Claude Hopper telling my dad a joke. (He’s not to the punchline yet.)

**I was not kidding about Mark Lowry and my mom. They totally connected– started talking Bible right off the bat (favorite thing to do for both of them), quoting scripture to each other and comparing favorite translations. Mark’s inquiring mind kept the conversation going for over an hour, peppering Mom with questions about everything from raising 6 kids to the Great Depression. They talked politics and religion, agreed with each other passionately, disagreed with each other occasionally and thoroughly enjoyed each other. Mom was so impressed with Mark’s depth and his heart for God. Mark was thoroughly impressed with Mom, period. Also? She totally cracked him up, a lot. I love his face in these pictures.

**This kind of looks like Bill is trying to pin a corsage on my Dad. Actually I think he was fixing the backstage pass on his lapel.

**Look at the way those two are looking at Mom.

**OK, Mom looks like Bill could put her in his pocket! No wonder Madi is so dang tiny!

**Dad with Ryan and Doug of Signature Sound. Char loves those guys and all, but she is much more interested in her chicken fried steak at the moment.

**Mom and Dad chatting with fellow Arkansan Joy Gardner– kinda blurry because I got a little carried away and whipped that camera out too fast.

**Kim Hopper, or as she’s known around our house, Karlye’s mom.

**BTW, the reason Madi is not in ANY of these pictures is that she and Karlye and their gang  were busy running all over the arena and generally having a fabulous time. Charlotte spent most of the night happily ensconced in Russ’ dressing room. She had everything she needed for a good time– endless snacks, a comfy sofa and “America’s Funniest Home Videos” on the television. Here she is with Nanno at halftime.

**OK, Mom and Mark may be a new item but Dad’s crush on Janet Paschal is longstanding and well documented. She even called him when he was in the hospital a few years ago (which he mentioned to every single doctor, nurse and janitor in the whole dang place!) He just adores her and she is so darling to him. This is another crappy shot, but I love it because it was taken immediately after the concert when Janet had just exited the stage. She was totally surprised because she had no idea Daddy was there, and he was just so pleased to see her–look how cute they are!

Aren’t these great?! (P.S. Mom’s tooth stayed firmly in her mouth the entire night– score!)

14 Responses

  1. auburn60

    Well,now I am just PUMPED about going to Corbin,KY tonight to see the crew! Even if the whole Taff-and-extended-fam won’t be there. (I was sort of dreading the drive because of the rain and stuff. Every time I go to a concert it rains!)

    Dentists–pah! Don’t get me started.

    I would love to have been a fly on the wall for that conversation between your Mother and Mark.

    Your Dad looks like he is having a great time! Wish he could come to FF.

    Leaving in about 3 hours… :)

  2. belinda

    I love the pictures and your Mom & Dad look like they are having such a good time. That has to be something that you are so thankful that it happened like it did and such great timing. I’m sure they loved everything and getting to meet everybody. The pictures are priceless and it sounded like everything happened like it was suppose to. Great story and I’m sure it was a great night.

  3. ShowMeStGirl

    Great pictures. Thank you for sharing with us. Last year my mom was in the hospital for 325 days and is right now house-bound until August. She had a botched surgery in Jan 07. They have several Homecoming videos so we played them often in her room. When she was barely conscious, we could tell she was praying or singing along when she would hear them sing. I cannot wait until she can go to a concert again. My folks love the Homecomings.

  4. ruthiebear

    These are some precious pictures of some precious memories, Tori. It just reaffirms to me how real and caring the Homecoming group is. How special for your parents to mingle with the artists and get such quality time. Thanks for sharing it with all of us.

  5. rachelbaker

    Wow, what great photos! Looks like a great night. I’m also very impressed with your dentistry skills. Are your parents seriously in their 90s? They look so much younger! You have a lovely family.

  6. gracelynn

    Tori the pictures are just precious! I love the ones of your mom and Mark, as well as the ones of your dad and Janet! That look on Mark’s face is priceless! Makes me wish I could have been there with you. auburn have fun for me too tonight since I cannot be at another Homecoming for a couple more weeks. ;) And believe me, I know how caring and loving the Homecoming family is…all of them. And lets not mention dentists….I have to see mine on Monday about a sensitive tooth. (And I just ate a frozen Eddy’s coconut bar so my tooth is aching big time….WAHHH!)

  7. becky

    I just love Mark Lowry. I have gotten many hours of laughs from his comedy. :)

  8. rockin robyn

    Tori – those pictures and those memories are priceless for your parents. Thumbs up to a wonderful daughter…

    I JUST LOVE THE GAITHER FAMILY!!! I think Mark and Gloria should do a Bible Conference/Discussion somewhere – I would so love to pick their brains and learn from them. My spiritual growth over the past years has really blossomed and I am so curious and love hearing discussions on the bible.

    Thanks for sharing your “family” pics with us…

  9. nashbabe

    You do realize that the tooth repair sounds stereotypically Arkansan. *backs up to avoid Tori throwing things at her* :-)

  10. Steve Weber

    I’m so glad that the Taff family has been involved with the Gaithers for so many years. When I first saw Russ on the Homecomming he looked so happy singing to God.

    We had a little Russ-O-Thon today while doing chores around the house. My autistic son Steven really enjoys him along with the rest of the family.

  11. belinda

    Steve – I totally understand the Russ-O-Thon – we have them all the time at our house and I’m having one at work today. Just love his music!

  12. grfdave

    Thanks for sharing these behind-the-scenes moments.

  13. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Oh my, Tori, I just love these pictures. Are you going to make a mini-album for them, “Back Stage with the Gaither Family?{ I know it absolutely thrills your heart to see them having so much fun.

  14. carsmith

    As always it was so good to see you, Russ, Madi and your parents. Sorry we missed Char but saw she was busy backstage. Your folks have the sweetest faces and make a cute couple. I can see where you get your sweet spirit. You are blessed to have them and I know you treasure every minute you spend with them. The concert was wonderful and we were so glad to attend. I have a cute picture of you, your Mom and Dad and Momma June. Not sure how to send it.

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