You never know how something will affect you, until it affects you. And the effects of this situation....well they suck. Did I use affect and effect correctly?! He would have been mad at me if not. So I kind of hope it's wrong and I'll get a call from him scolding me.
My mentor and friend, and the most prolific, influential man I have ever known left this world this past weekend. But don't cry for him, cause he died in a moment. An ironically perfect moment, on the golf course during a Kidd's Kids charity event. At his favorite place, helping his favorite people. That's who he was. Kidd Kraddick was a Moment Maker. And whether you had the privilege to have him in your life personally, or the lifelong experience of inviting him into your homes and family wagons every morning, you knew him. He was best friends with millions of people he had never even met. For nearly 30 years he was a staple in North Texas and then, for the latter part, the country. And so many took it for granted that he wouldn't be the one who forever started their morning. For many now it feels like their coffee pot is broken. Their morning kickstart will never be the same. But, don't cry cause it's over...smile cause it happened. Because since we knew Kidd Kraddick, we know what it's like to laugh and cry hysterically, and feel something so special and bigger than us. And we can continue making a conscious decision to make sure our mornings continue to be filled with joy. And then, his work here on this earth can be considered done.
It's amazing to me to look for those moments in life when everything changed. Moments that seem so trivial at the time that we hardly notice them. When all the while it is setting into motion a path that will establish your course in life. I can find a few of those moments in life, and several of them were set into motion by Kidd Kraddick, which changed my course. And you're welcome Kidd for a golf reference. Yes, you are responsible for many "courses."
My senior year in high school I was getting ready for school, curling my hair, probably running late as it was. But Kidd was on air at 106.1 KISS FM in Dallas doing an unscramble the word contest and during a Britney Spears song (Baby One More Time, duh) I happened to call in and be the 1000th caller, unscramble the word, and won $1000. I include that detail because it always made Kidd so mad that I could tell everyone he did an unscramble the word contest in the first place! But he did. At least that day. And when I went to pick up my check at the station I met Tara who worked for him at the time. She took me around and told me she had gone to my same high school. She introduced me to Kidd. And I was instantly smitten. Smitten by the immediate charisma this man exuded. I had never seen anything like it, and to this day, have never again. I had to find a way to surround myself with that, so I begged to be their intern and have been learning from him ever since.
I continued to work for Kidd in multiple different roles over the years. I did promtions, marketing, production, on-air segments, office management and even was his personal assistant for some time. He never failed to tell me how much I sucked at being his assistant. Which I took as a compliment. We were too similar...scatter-brained, flighty, absent-minded, unorganized. But I would like to think he had me in that role for a time because he liked hanging out with me, even if I did send him to the wrong airport, lose his itineraries, talk back when he asked me to do something I didn't want to do. But I brought him Diet Coke. And let him make a fool of me on-air. That seemed to make up for the other.
Throughout my time physically working with the amazing crew that is Kidd Kraddick In The Morning (Kidd, Kellie, Big Al and Psycho Shannon (I unfortunately wasn't there when J-Si and Jenna were) plus different producers that I was lucky enough to spend time with from Bert, Flakeboy (Tom), Rich, Scott) I have some ridiculous memories and experiences, which I cherish. One in particular that stands out is me being sent with one other girl to Panama City, during Spring Break, with ZERO money, for a "bit" trying to prove that guys are huge suckers and will do anything if it means that they might get to take a girl home. Sounds dangerous and totally irresponsible. And it TOTALLY was. But we were able to get guys to rent us hotel rooms, and rental cars, and buy dinners, and even give us jewelry by flirting (that's as far as it went, to be clear). During that trip we did different "challenges" to earn points (here comes the immaturity) and one day I had to dress like a maid and pretend I was there to clean the room of about 8 co-ed spring breakers. We never knew each day what idea Kidd would come walking in with or who it was going to involve. There was truly never a dull moment.
Kidd is the one who encouraged me to move to Los Angeles. Granted, I think that was his way of getting me to move on without firing me! :) But regardless, that set a whole different wave in motion for me. He instilled a confidence in me, taught me to tell a story and make it interesting (there's a difference in embellishing and lying!), and to stay on my toes. He taught me to find the beauty in everything, the stupidity in the mundane, and perhaps most importantly, if we can't find laughter in somber situations we will drown. He taught me humor as a craft, and that's why I'm still swimming.
I knew weddings weren't his thing, mainly because he has ADD and has trouble being in any one place for too long. He was on cruthces from a foot surgery, on pain medication, heading to a wedding with over 200 people, in the middle of nowhere on a ranch, AND IT WAS FLOODING. I remember, amidst the ominous black skies, looking around to see if he was there yet before we started. And he was. I found these two pics below. And I remember EXACTLY what each expression was about. The first was when Kidd first walked up to me and pouted at me, and I back, as to say "I'm so sorry your wedding is flooding, the runner floated away, the horses took off and your ring bearer almost got trampled by a horse!" The second look was his first words which were "Laugh it off! This is a great story!"
Kidd and I have stayed good friends. He hasn't always been there for me. But when he has, it has meant the most. I take pride in knowing we have been able to stay in touch through so much, and even though I didn't see him often since moving away from Dallas, when I did, we picked right back up to where we left off and made each other laugh. He was like my soap opera drama. He put me through a roller coaster of emotions, always, but always kept it interesting, and ongoing. He would get my hopes up about things, and within two minutes be on to something else, and give me harsh criticism often times, but that taught me thick skin in this business. And with all that said, when he let you know he was paying attention, or told you how proud of you he was, it meant more than I can explain, and made up for everything else.
Last year when I played at the House of Blues in Dallas, he hosted my band at his house prior, and stood right in the middle of the crowd at the show, smiling so big and cheering. And I know he wasn't just spectating....he truly saw me that night. And it's one of the best views I have had on stage. Over the past year we have had some intense conversations about life....some good and some bad. And he leaves this earth knowing me better than some of my best friends. He had a knack for upsetting me, then making me forget it with one quick check-in. And as much as I wish he could check-in with me today, I'm happy to know he is right where he belongs. Dancing funny in Heaven, with the music up so loud, trying to get the angels to play a trumpet part on an Eminen song, and laughing with his beloved Kidd's Kids who have been patiently awaiting him. And we are still lucky...blessed, because we got a chance to know a man who forever changed us with his spirit, and will continue to do so as his legacy lives on with Kidd's Kids, and the personalities he paved the way for, that will continue on in his honor.
I sent him a text last week about a crazy dream I had just had about him being my tap dance teacher, and using pasta as a prop in our dances...or something like that. And his response was "You need mandatory drug testing" which of course made me laugh out loud. I realize sometimes you are better off not telling your dreams to people because they make you sound completely ridiculous! But I like the fact that our last interaction was completely ridiculous.
Kidd is survived by a strong family, and a strong morning show crew, and although mornings will never be quite the same again, I know they will continue to tell his stories and share his love, cause he's been training them to do that all along. He's been training us all, and we are all stronger because of it.
I love you Kidd Kraddick. I always will.