Now I have some idea of what Dorothy must have experienced in “The Wizard of Oz” when she woke up.
Dorothy thought it a dream of some sort, yet at the same time real. She had experienced something very special, very good, fun-filled and exciting. The experience left Dorothy with a much greater appreciation for her loved ones and for life itself. Can a dream really make this type of impact? ABSOLUTELY! As Dorothy said to her uncles, “You were in the dream, and so were you. Oh it all seemed so real.” That is sort of how I feel today, almost two weeks after visiting the Grammy Rehearsals, courtesy of Access Hollywood’s “Access to a Dream.”
The funny thing is, the “Access to a Dream” was for my son Timmy Kelly. In my “dream,” my 13-year-old son Timmy got to meet and hang out with some very cool stars. I can remember it vividly. We arrived at LAX and were immediately escorted by limo to the Staples Center. Just as we sat down, I heard a man begin to sing a song that was familiar. Timmy said “oh yeah” recognizing it was Gnarls Barkley rehearsing “Crazy.” There was Cee-Lo standing at the microphone booming out “Crazy” in this beautiful arena, causing my son to nearly jump out of his skin and his seat.
It was a “dream” but one that we were able to enjoy and experience fully. Timmy was fortunate enough to meet a number of the stars such as James Blunt, Rascal Flatts, Dixie Chicks, Reba McEntire and Carrie Underwood.
There were many, many wonderful experiences in this “dream” but I would like to share three very special moments.
Our time at the Grammy Rehearsals was coming to an end we got to meet an icon in the music industry, Stevie Wonder. He was on stage preparing his speech, reading from a Braille note. My son Timmy has a Braille note at home that he uses for all of his schoolwork. Like many dreams, this seemed unreal, like it was made up. But here was Stevie Wonder reading his notes from a Braille note.
As Timmy expressed it so well, “COOL.” Stevie Wonder was kind enough to come down from the stage, meet Timmy, shake his hand, chat with him and he allowed us to take a photo of him with Timmy. Of course Stevie removed his doo-rag first, then knelt down to have the photo taken. As I write this it brings tears of joy and awe to my eyes.
Much like other dreams, this one seemed to last a very long time. Suddenly we needed to move quickly from our great seats on the floor of the Staples Center. Where were we off to? How would we get there? Don’t get too excited, there was no yellow brick road. We climbed some steps and walked down a hallway and were asked to sit quietly in folding chairs. After a very short time we were summoned. Was it the Wizard?
Timmy walked through the doorway and was greeted by a soft voiced from a young woman who said “Hello Timmy, welcome to the Grammys?” This was no witch. In fact this was a young beautiful woman and Timmy immediately recognized her voice. His response “Oh, my God. BEYONCÉ.” Of course, it was Beyoncé, greeting our son, literally welcoming him with open arms. This was one of the few times that Timmy was speechless, but it didn’t last long. Timmy was very excited to meet Beyoncé. Beyoncé was impressed that Timmy recognized her voice right away.
The next thing I know, as Timmy is speaking to Beyoncé, he begins to sing “Irreplaceable” and like any good dream, Beyoncé joined in with him. They sang the entire song together. Are you kidding me? This is a dream, right? No this was as real as it gets. Here was a Superstar, Beyoncé, greeting 13-year-old Timmy Kelly from Philadelphia. Although Timmy is blind and has cerebral palsy, his hearing is so fine-tuned that he doesn’t miss a trick. Imagine this dream segment, Beyoncé holding Timmy’s hands, dancing and singing with him in her dressing room. Everyone was laughing and swaying to the music. Oh well, just another typical night in Los Angeles. Perhaps this is what they mean by “City of Angels.”
Maybe that is the message of the dream, that there are plenty of Angels roaming the earth, looking for opportunities to help people “Access to a Dream”; Beyoncé would be a great prototype to begin with and for other Angels to imitate.
Beyoncé is, much like James Blunt sings, “Beautiful.” Beyoncé is beautiful both physically as well as inside. I must admit that Eileen (Timmy’s mom) and I were moved by Beyoncé’s warmth, kindness, graciousness and especially her compassion. All of this happened minutes before her time to rehearse. It is hard to imagine a superstar of this status taking time just before a rehearsal to spend with us. WOW!
What an experience this was, emotions ranged from surprise, joy, tears of happiness and of course AWE. I think it is easy for people to be warm and open to Timmy and that is wonderful. I can tell you, as the proud father of Timmy, that watching these magical moments unfold touches my soul deeply. As a friend recently said “it is pure gift.”
Of course, dreams must include some humor. Immediately following our visit with Beyoncé, we went next door to another dressing room and another surprise for Timmy. The door opened and a young man said “Hello Timmy.” Timmy responded, “Wow. Hello Ludacris.” Ludacris was very welcoming and playful.
He said to Timmy, “I understand you just met Beyoncé.”
“Yes I did,” said Timmy.
“How do you know she is the real Beyoncé?” Ludacris asked.
Trying to throw Timmy off, but Timmy quickly responded saying, “Oh, there is only one woman with a hot voice like that.”
The entire room exploded with laughter. Then Timmy said, “I like that song [Timmy began to sing] ‘Shake Your Money Maker.’”
Ludacris laughed and got a big kick out of Timmy singing. In another light moment, Ludacris said “How much will you charge me to sing with you?”
“No, I won’t charge you anything. I can sing and you can rap,” Timmy said.
Ludacris laughed and said, “Access Hollywood has that on tape. We have a deal.”
Once again, it occurred to me as I stood there that this must be a dream.
An excellent dream, but a dream nonetheless.
After reflecting on this entire experience, I have come to some conclusions. Dreams happen when people are wide awake, and they are spectacular events, filled with laughter, tears, joy, warmth and most importantly promise. The promise that life is good and there are plenty of Angels roaming the earth, searching for opportunities to touch lives.
We have been very, very fortunate to have our “Access to a Dream” come true. Timmy was living the dream, interacting with all of these stars, singing with them and having the time of his life. Dreams like this didn’t happen without a great deal of time, effort and sacrifice. We are grateful to everyone at Access Hollywood. We would like to say a very heartfelt thank you to all of the people at Access Hollywood. Everyone treated us like we were family, and that is special. Please know that we will always treasure this experience. Hopefully we will meet again!
A very special thank you to Shelly for your efforts, sacrifice and patience.