Finding out top secret information 24 hours before Johnny Depp’s second visit to Lawton and feeling the pressure of, “Oh no, here we go again”.
I knew that he would return. He said so and he kept his word. But no one knew when for sure.
Ever experience the kind of irony where you simply find things out? It falls into your lap. You did not ask for it. It just happens. Feeling almost angry at the knowledge, better off not knowing. The knowledge that now I have to take action. I must win.
Is it fate? A challenge I must accept. Challenge accepted fate. This time I will not be defeated.
As our covert operation begins, team members 1-5 are in place conducting surveillance (without incriminating our sources and secrets) on the scene. We had a broad window of time in which we may possibly get a glimpse of the star. “BLANK has entered the building and there appears to be camera crews and activity!” I am en route team. Please don’t let anything exciting happen until I get there…
“Several vans have left the scene”. Send in operatives one and two for questioning. Operatives one and two are informed that: “No Johnny Depp here. Our crews have gone to Carmike Theater”.
Two weeks earlier a friend had shared an article about the opening of The Lone Ranger happening towards the end of June. It was noted that Johnny Depp would first return to Lawton, Oklahoma for a special screening for the Comanche Nation. He looked to the Comanche’s for inspiration for his character, Tontoh, a Comanche Indian, during his first visit back in September.
We had not planned on going to the theater. After all, here we are, grown adults searching all over town for Johnny Depp, with our children in tow, But…
Nothing exciting ever happens in this town.
Local sources suggested there would be between 3,000-5,000 fans to welcome him as he walked the red carpet. Imagine it folks, a red carpet in Lawton? But it was there- they rolled out the red carpet at the Carmike Theater in Lawton, Oklahoma. Pictures were popping up everywhere on the internet. There were bleachers set up for spectators, and barrier rails on either side of the carpet to keep people out.
“So maybe we’ll just drive by the theater and see what’s happening. What could that hurt?”
The drive from one end of town to the exact opposite seemed to take forever that afternoon. Somehow there was more traffic than usual, or maybe we just wanted to get there.
When our team arrived at the theater, to our amazement, there was hardly anyone there. Of course, we still had hours until the actual event, but look at this, prime parking. Fate. “Hmmm…it’s 100 plus degrees, but let’s walk over and take a look…”
This was really happening. And of course this turned into a 3-4 hour wait directly in the blazing hot sun. Our team motto became: “We’ve come this far, we’re not leaving now!” First, we sat in the bleachers, realizing that was not going to work if we wanted to get close. Next, we staked out an ideal spot within the shade of the building, close to the barrier rail. Of course, security made everyone move away from the building and we lost the prime spot. We ended up moving just a little further down, still at the front of the barrier fence. Still within arm’s reach of the star when he walked the red carpet.
There was a great vibe in the air. Nowhere near the amount of people they had predicted. About 1,000 of us were crazy enough to stand out in the hot sun that day. Everyone was really nice. The staff were handing out free water to the crowd. Despite the heat, we were in good spirits. The kids were behaving unbelievably well under the circumstances.
Finally the moment had arrived. Limousines began pulling up and dropping off esteemed guests at the beginning of the red carpet. Staff members began passing out free autographed pictures of Tontoh to the crowd. And… there… he… was… A new shorter hair cut since I had last seen him. Much more clean cut looking, but the same ring covered fingers. Dressed in all black, pants, button down shirt, and vest. He wore aviator sunglasses, several necklaces, and a beaded one with a large circular medallion. On the medallion was what looked to be a painting of his character Tontoh. Perhaps a gift from one of the Comanche’s?
He walked behind several important people from the Comanche Nation. He had LaDonna Harris, well known Comanche and President of Americans For Indian Opportunity on his arm. He waved at many and always had a grin on his face.
The police informed us that Mr. Depp would pass by, but would return to greet the fans along the barricade. Whatever direction he was is the direction the crowd moved. We were the last people standing against the end of the barricade. We anxiously watched as he stopped to shake hands, autograph items, and pose for pictures, awaiting our turn.
Finally he is right in front of us. I thought it very nice how he stooped down to be at my daughters level and shake her hand. You could tell he likes children, as he spoke to my son and apologized to us for the long wait. He shook my hand, too and in those seconds I was speechless. What does one say to the great Johnny Depp?
He continued along the red carpet addressing fans. He did not have to do this. As hot as it was, I was surprised he took the time. It only reinforced what a humble gentleman he is.
Will he ever come back to Lawton, Oklahoma again? Doubtful, but at least we can say that we saw him both times that he did.
And what an adventure it was!