We want to give a HUGE thank you to everyone who contributed stories for the “What’s YOUR Story” contest. Every single one of them was an encouragement to us, and many of them touched us deeply. It means so much that you guys care enough about us to share with us your experiences. We want to congratulate Johnothan Bomboy for his winning entry, which won him a Mike Mains & The Branches t-shirt, as well as a bunch of other sweet stuff. We are also currently clapping our hands (yes, really) for our two runners-up, Taylor Dooley and Michael Wilcher, who also get some presents in the mail from us. All three of their stories are below, and all three are great! Thanks guys.
Grace and Peace
Winning Entry, Johnothan Bomboy
It was my first time to the Cornerstone Festival. It was another HOT scorching day. I was standing outside of a porta-john doing the typical boyfriend job of holding the girlfriends purse, while simultaneously attempting to hold onto whatever shred of "manliness" I could. After some time of standing outside awkwardly shifting around, my girlfriend emerges from the porta-john. Though she walked in empty handed, she walked out with a sleek, ever-swanky looking iPhone. When my girlfriend and I carried this phone to our campsite, one of our fellow campers informs us, from the picture of the rather dashing man on the home screen, that it must belong to one of the members of a band playing at the "Underground" stage. My girlfriend and I fiercely debate (argue/fight) over whether we should give this rather expensive cellular device to the lost and found or go to the tent and attempt to match the picture on the home screen with one of the men at the stage, her wanting to take the phone to lost and found, I wanting to play and intense game of "Guess Who?" meshed with "Where's Waldo?" Finally after 30 minutes of debating/arguing/fighting my girlfriend concedes and the game commences!
Instantly I begin scour through the crowd anxiously playing my game I named "Where's Who?". I think I spot someone who may resemble the man on the phone and muster the courage to yell out. "HEY DUDE!!!....YEAH!!!....YOU!!!...*man walks over*...You missin a phone man?" I ask. "Nah man," he replies. Alas. The search continues! Again, I see another man of similar resemblance. I yell to him, "Hey is this your phone?" He walks over. He's a rather tall man, with a beard that could make Gandalf the Gray jealous. Wearing what I presume is an ascot and a polo, with hair combed neatly to the side, I think, “This man closely resembles Fred from Scooby Doo and the gang.” I show him the picture on the home screen. "That's my friends!" he exclaims. I look at him curiously. "It is!" he says once more, excitedly. "I'll get him for you." My girlfriend and I anxiously wait. He returns with a friend dressed equally nice. I've seen this man before. His hair is combed just as neat as his friend, and is sporting an almost pencil thin mustache. This was no John Waters style mustache mind you. But just as well trimmed and cared for. He is also sporting a rather fancy velveteen jacket, and an eye-catching bow tie. All in all, this man defined dapper. He comes over to me and my girlfriend thanking us for returning his phone. He says, "If I had money I would pay you." He tells me, "If you stick around after the show I can give you one of my bands CD's." I quickly accept but can't help but be somewhat reluctant, never hearing the band before. Though they were dressed so nicely, I almost thought it was too nice. I feared it might be a 50's doo-wop sound. My girlfriend and I readily take our standing position as close to front and center as the anxious mob would allow. The band kicks off, and INSTANTLY I am captivated and taken aback. The show was AMAZING and still is my FAVORITE concert of all Cornerstone. I get to meet the band afterwards and they give me the CD as promised. I spend the rest of the summer listening to the CD over and over and over again. It quickly became a favorite among my friends and I. Now I can only dream and wish I could see them again and that I could get more music. That's my story. This is my tale. Of the great. The magnificent. The musically-gifted. Mike Mains & The Branches.
Runner-Up, Michael Wilcher
First off, I don't care about getting free merch, I'm not writing to you to gain anything out of it. I'm writing to you because I just want you guys to know how much I care about this band and how much you guys made me feel like family. You guys have forever changed the way I live because of one weekend at Purple Door Festival.
On the weekend of August 12th and 13th, my friends and I drove six hours to see you all. When I got to Purple Door, I saw David, who remembered me from a show that was almost a year before in VA Beach, we got to hang out for a bit, he suggested music, I suggested music. Mike and Shannon showed up briefly, but in those brief couple of minutes, it was like I was surrounded by family. You guys are the most real and caring individuals that I have ever had the pleasure to meet.
During all of this, I was suffering from depression and all its friends. I didn't smile, I didn't want to. I didn't know what my life would look like in the next 5 and 10 years. Now I do. You guys have inspired me to make music, not only to make music but to touch the lives of teenagers suffering from the same things I was suffering from a month ago. You guys have inspired me to smile.
Thank you so much for just being around and being the most real and caring people I have ever met.
Runner-Up, Taylor Dooley
"Just say what's on your mind. 'I think I love you.' But you don't know what love is..." I think most people don't really know what love is. They 'love' their record player, their new hair cut, barbeque sauce... It's a word our society tosses around every time we 'like' something. I'm a victim of this; we all are.
On one of our first dates, my boyfriend Travis had his Mike Mains and the Branches CD in his car. We were listening to it and I instantly adored 'Miracle' and 'Stereo' (which happens to be the 5th most played song on my iPod.) The first songs on the CD were my favorite so we never really got past track 5, the rest being foreign territory. In passing, he had said that one of his favorite definitions of love was in one of the songs, but at the time he couldn't think of the name and if he did I forgot because I kind of freaked out when he said the 'love.' I mean, we'd been dating less than month and 'the L word' wasn't something I'd even thought about. It caught me off guard until I realized he was just talking about a part in the song... Anyway, it was a while before I listened to 'Stop the Car.' You see, I have this really bad habit of changing the song within 2 minutes, so naturally I didn't reach the bridge for some time. When I finally did, however, I instantly knew that this was the song he had been talking about.
Love, at least in my eyes, is really complex. You can't find the definition on dictionary.com and get a satisfying answer. In lasting relationships, love is an important aspect. I didn't want to be one of those girls who says 'I love you' within a short span of time because I don't think you can determine whether or not you love someone that quickly. In a quest to understand it better, I began relying on the Bible (1 Corinthians 13) and the 'Stop the Car' bridge. The bridge describes it in a way that I can begin to comprehend, saying that '"I know that it's great and it's different. It's when you give and give of yourself until your tank is on empty just to be with the one you love.' You bleed on the inside at the thought of losing them that's how I feel." When I listen to it, part of me feels pain because I hear the pain in your voices as you're telling us what it really feels like to love. It's an honest definition that shows how it feels when you truly care. It's not the fluff Disney shows you when you're an 8-year old watching Snow White for the first time. I'll be honest in saying that I still don't fully understand it. Though it may seem silly, this song has guided me, as all your music does, whether is be spiritually, musically, or otherwise.