I wasn't able to be home for Casey Muessigmann's performance on The Voice Tuesday night. In addition to the national significance that Sept. 11 holds for most, it also holds a special place in my heart as an anniversary date for my wife and I.
This year, we celebrated 23 years together Tuesday evening with a late dinner. After forgetting the special date a few years ago -- give me a break, it falls during fair week -- I've learned not to repeat that mistake again.
So we were enjoying some fine Chinese cuisine as the Spencer native took the stage on the national television show, hoping for a chance to score a mentoring opportunity from one of the show's four professional judges.
Before we had left the restaurant, I heard the news: Casey, who can sing anything but is country by nature, earned the praise of singers Blake Shelton and Cee Lo Green, and selected Shelton to mentor him for the remainder of his involvement on the show.
When we arrived home, we immediately went to Facebook and found video of his blind audition segment. It was Casey smiling, laughing and wrestling with his dad. Pretty much a day in the life of this young man.
He wowed them with his voice as he belted out "Sweet Home Alabama," making it his own and creating a new move - the Casey Slap.
Regardless of what the future holds on the show, Casey demonstrated a gift to entertain.
My wife had tears in her eyes as she watched the young man she once counseled at Camp Cayoca, a Catholic summer youth camp. She remembered his performance during talent night at the camp where he modified "Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog" to the delight of the entire audience.
Casey was one of my eldest son's first friends when we moved to Spencer. Both were entering the eighth grade that summer and the two had met at Camp Cayoca, so Casey was a familiar face who helped Kynison acclimate to Spencer.
I've watched Casey grow while remaining the same person. He's a wrestler. He's a singer. He's a likable guy.
On a couple of occasions, following his graduation from high school, Casey joined me to broadcast Spencer Tiger wrestling on SMU. He was a natural.
But I could always sense that he was trying to find himself.
He tried school, he tried wrestling, but he never seemed to be completely content. It's my opinion, he's always been a singer. A student singer. A wrestling singer. But a singer at heart.
Now he's in his element. The Voice has given him the break he's been searching for. It's great to see a Spencer alum, smiling from ear-to-ear on national television, and demonstrating the love and passion that so many people in Spencer have.
He's been an entertainer all his life. Now is his chance to shine for the rest of the country to see.