“You know, I’ve been telling people for quite a few years that if God has this man for me, he [the man, not God] would have to come knocking at my door. Because that’s the only way” Tonya Puckett said she’d ever find her way to another marriage.
Well, the Rev. Melvin Miller of Progressive Baptist Church in St. Paul came a-knocking.
The former wife of Twins Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett — he died at age 45 in 2006 — and Miller were married Saturday at his church. The marriage was officiated by Melvin’s father, the Rev. Earl Miller, senior pastor at the church.
“A funny thing happened,” she told me Wednesday. “I was looking for a tutor for my son, [Kirby Jr.] and my kids’ godmother said to me: ‘I know this guy; I’m going to run to the church right now.’ I didn’t know who he was, and I think it was that evening he came knocking at my door. I met him because he was working with my son. And I loved how he [Miller] interacted with him [Kirby Jr.]. I loved how he told him he could be and do anything he wanted. And I loved the way he would pray with him. That was the first thing. We developed a friendship.”
They met in March or April 2012, Puckett said, “and we’ve been engaged I guess several months and started planning a wedding in about three or four months. It went pretty quick.” He has four children, she has two. “Overnight, we have quite a few kids,” she laughed.
While congratulating Puckett, I told her she was a brave woman to try marriage again, given that she is financially secure.
“I was talking to a woman the other day and she said the same thing to me: ‘I will never get married.’ and I said, ‘I was that same person.’ Kirby and I haven’t been married for 11 years, but I have no reason to get married. I don’t need to get married. I don’t want to get married.
“But this is the kind of guy he would have to be, and if God sent that man to me, then there would have to be no denying. Really, for the last five years I’ve not even gone on a date.
“So I really spent time being by myself and with God and kids and volunteering and all that. Then I met this guy and I knew that he was the guy and that changed everything. I believe that with everything in me. Don’t ever say ‘never.’ You might be next. Who knows?” she teased me.
Although Puckett has visited Progressive Baptist “several times over the years, and I’ve known the family since I was a teenager, I had never met Melvin. I am taking his name, but for the sake of having the same name as my children, I’m going by Tonya Puckett Miller.”
As for whether there was a prenup, she said, “I would never answer that question.”
A borrowed guitar
These should be the final words on Prince’s handling of Roots guitarist Kirk Douglas’ instrument during a March performance on “Jimmy Fallon.”
In an Epiphone interview, Douglas said, “Basically, Prince arrived to sound check sans guitar. I guess his guitar was on its way. … Our stage manager, Keith, offered Prince one of my guitars for him to play. I had several guitars there, and this guitar, my Epiphone Crestwood, was one of them. I think to him it had a very inviting strap, given its purple hue.
“Then his guitar arrived and Prince finished the sound check with his guitar. Just before the show, Keith came to me and said: ‘Prince would like to use your guitar for the performance and would like to buy it from you.’ I replied he can certainly use it but he most definitely cannot buy it from me. … And then Prince came on. I was very excited to see him do the first song.
“He then came to me [between sets] and said: ‘You’ll let me see that other guitar?’ And I’m enough of a Prince fan to respond: ‘Yeah!’ And then he went on to play … ‘Bambi,’ a Prince classic, and he’s playing my guitar, and I can’t express how amazing it was to see that.
“At the end of the song, I thought he was going to play behind his head … but he kept going and then I just saw the thing sail in the air. I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”
Prince has since made restitution for his egregious behavior.
More on Prince
In related information, I was gently yet thoroughly interrogated about my relationship, if you can call it that, with Prince by blogger Kristi Dyes.
From Seattle she writes the “Beautiful Nights” blog, which she explains is “a Prince fan site, but the main focus is on the associated artists. Everybody knows about Prince, but there’s not a lot of information about all the people who have worked with him. I wanted to have a platform for them to tell their stories.”
Dyes asked me every question imaginable trying to unearth my feelings about Prince. We talked for more than one hour, and I have been remiss in living up to my promise to publicize her work here.
She apparently thought I might be insulted if she labeled the piece “Billy Jack Bitch,” the name of a Prince song about me. But my skin is not that thin. Enjoy: www.startribune.com/a2254.
C.J. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.