Meeting Tom

The Story of the Sketch

Tom JonesTom's incredible voice has been a constant in my life, much like an old friend, sustaining me through the worst of times. For this gift, wanted I thank him from the bottom of my heart with my artwork. Saturday February 19th, 2006 in Atlantic City, New Jersey was magical from the first note to the last. The arrangements to all the songs had been switched it was all fresh and ever delightful. "LOVE LETTERS" was spine tingling, “KISS” was alive...and ”I'LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN”...still broke my heart into a million pieces. It was an odyssey driven by Tom...up and down the valleys of emotions that one can experience in a lifetime...experienced in a way that only Tom can show us. I didn't get the sketch to the stage in time, and staff that tried to get it backstage were unsuccessful. With hopes of another try in 3 days in New Brunswick, I wasn’t upset. So I decided to head over to one of the restaurants for something to eat. I met up with a couple from Long Island, we got to talking about Tom’s awesome show, and ended up having cocktails together. We could see Tom at the other end of the restaurant dining with friends and his was all around him....One guard was the first person I met in AC. The couple asked what was in the portfolio I had with me...the sketch came out and within minutes there was a parade of people coming to see it including the staff and maitre' d who felt that Tom needed to see this for himself.

First it was thought that Tom’s tour manager would come over to look at it. The next thing I know the big security guard from earlier is giving me a thumbs-up from across the room. Now my mouth goes to cotton. I didn't know what to think. I look up, and the waiter has taken the sketch and is headed for Tom. I was half horrified, half thrilled, timidly I start to follow..but stopped a distance back not wanting to invade Tom’s space or appear pushy but from where I stopped I could see Tom's eyes go wide..."Yes, yes I’ll sign it,"he said to the waiter. Then I heard the most incredible thing in the world. "She’s here? Where is she?? Send her over I want to meet her".... (Did I really just hear that?? Isn't it supposed to be that I want to meet him?????). The next thing I know Tom is asking me if I'm presenting the sketch to him or if I want him to sign it. I explained that I wanted to present it to him properly but the matting and frame were not ready in time, but that if he signed it I would be most honored. Tom thought for several moments looking between the sketch and searching my face…then leave it to Tom to come up with a win-win solution for me. “How about if I sign if for you, but you must promise to send me a copy?” I told him I could do one better.

I’d be seeing him in three days in New Brunswick and that I would give it to him then it that was alright. He agreed. I had to have the waiter tell the story back to me to make sure I didn’t image any of it. He reiterated that Sir Tom definitely wanted to meet the artist and wanted the piece as soon as he saw it. I had to be sure. I couldn’t sleep that night..all I could think was that Sir Tom Jones wants a copy of my artwork! Now there were several major problems… the frame ordered was going to be too small for the lithograph…. And getting a lithograph made on a holiday weekend…proofed, printed, matted and framed takes several weeks. But I had given my word, so it had to be done! The last two days were spent getting people to jump through hoops and do things at warp speed. The art gallery opened when they were closed. The owner promised to do the 3 hour scan and proofing himself if I trusted him to make the best choice. But a mat and frame were nearly impossible. An hour later he said just the frame was impossible. By that night he called to say a retired framer agreed to do the rush project for me. Tom’s lithograph would be matted and framed. When I arrived the gallery was locked and the show was only hours away and I still had to take the piece apart and sign it..and seal it.

Unfortunately the gallery itself did not have the proper sealing for the sketch. I stopped at a local mom and pop framing store who listened to my plea that this was being presented to Tom Jones in a few short hours and the backing wasn’t done. Well it turns out they LOVE TOM too! They stopped everything took all the hanging hardware off…finished the back properly and reattached everything for me, well for Tom. That night at the State Theater friends and I gathered for the show. I had just settled into my front row seat when security approached me, they wanted to take the piece, I suppose fearing a hazard to Tom, which I totally understood. But no one was taking this. They didn’t believe that TOM knew anything about this. Not even the signature on the piece did anything to convince them. I thought for sure my dream was going to end badly and that any minute someone would try to take it again. But finally the lights dimmed and the magic began again. Tom came on, he spotted the big red bow almost immediately, and smiled. Tom was in an amazing mood... He was downright funny.... singing little dittles to himself... very upbeat....very open. the whole place could just feel the love. His set continued to be a wonderful groove between all the band members...and the acoustics let TOM shine.

He took us on another wild ride. I waited and waited, then during his encores I moved it to a position in front of flinched..and I thought that was going to be the end...but I held it up....and he came rushing over and took it as I knew he would if given the chance. He teasingly asked “Is that for me???” Then he held it up for the whole place to get a good look. His face was beaming! I was in heaven! I did something that made him happy. Mission accomplished! But remember I said that Tom was in a really good I took the red rose I had...and offered that after the next song, again he came right over, and I got a wonderful kiss! The audience was in an uproar !!! Oh My... I know some of the noise was real..some was just in my head from kissing him with my hand behind his head. Now that is a perfect ending.. I spoke with security before we left...seems Sandy verified my story...wish they had bothered to tell me...I wouldn't have been having such a heart attack for half the show! I was fine after all was said and done... and I cried tears of joy all the way home! Janet Potter