By Marlena Hartz: Freedom Newspapers
Laverne Robbins waited for hours. Her feet hurt as TV cameras panned the crowd that lined Main Street in search of the perfect moment. Meanwhile, the 75-year-old waited.
And then she got her chance.
She told Grammy award-winning singer Amy Grant her wish.
“My grandson’s wife died from blood clots. She was only 30. I feel like his family needs some sunshine — they deserve something good,” said the grandmother, leaving her hopes for her grandson and his 11-year-old child open-ended.
In jeans and scuffed boots, Grant towered above the diminutive grandmother, nodding her head sympathetically and listening attentively as the Clovis resident told her story.
“I was so nervous I could hardly talk,” Robbins said shortly after leaving Grant’s side. “And I was crying. She (Grant) said that she couldn’t make the decision (about who gets a wish granted), but she said she would try her best.”
The crew of the new NBC reality series, “Three Wishes,” recorded the wide-ranging wishes of area residents Thursday for the one-hour show that features Grant and others granting the wishes of small-town folks across the country.
Hundreds lined Main Street for a chance to be included. Tickets for Grant’s concert Sunday at Ned Houk Park were also distributed.
Anticipating the long line, some brought along reading materials and lawn chairs.
Their wishes varied.
Sandra Smith, the wife of county commissioner Albin Smith, wants a drug rehabilitation center for Clovis.
Six-year-old Tyler Hickman a BB gun.
Julie Garcia Maes wants a van with a mechanical lift for her son, crippled by muscular dystrophy.
“I get spasms in my back,” said the petite mother, who has to lift her elementary-school-aged son, and his wheelchair, in and out of her vehicle, day in and day out.
The wishes never really leave contributor Carter Oosterhouse.
“We hear thousands of wishes and it’s hard for us. The wishes stick in your head,” said Oosterhouse, a “Trading Spaces” carpenter. “It’s interesting to see people have wishes for someone else — that happens all the time… to see the power it creates when a whole community comes together.”
The show’s intent is to capture the feel of small-town America, a population “Three Wishes” executive director Andrew Glassman said is often overlooked. It is a lifestyle, the Los Angeles resident said, pointing to Main Street’s quaint boutiques and faded signs, that many people never get a chance to see.
“We wanted to get to places that aren’t ordinarily featured,” Glassman said. “We wanted to have that main street feel. It’s refreshing.”
“The magic of the show is that people come and surprise us with their wishes,” he added. “Some people need help with bricks and mortar — but we can do so much more than that.”
He and the “Three Wishes” crew, Glassman said, have already made stops in Iowa and California.
The show will premiere in September.