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About that time I met Paul McCartney at a frozen food plant in southern Minnesota …

REUTERS/Andre Camara
Linda and Paul McCartney shown in London in 1993.

Appearances at plant openings and business expansions are a routine obligation of being governor. Few are memorable.

But when I read the news this weekend that Fairmont Foods in Fairmont would be closing its operations in March, I remembered every detail of my visit there with Gov. Arne Carlson more than two decades ago. After all, Fairmont Foods is where I met Paul McCartney. 

Yes, that Paul McCartney.

In 1993, Fairmont Foods was chosen to produce a line of frozen vegetarian foods created by Paul’s wife, Linda, who would die of breast cancer in 1998. Arne was asked to preside over the ribbon cutting ceremony, which would also include both Paul and Linda. 

I was the governor’s communications director at the time, and neither I nor his wife Susan would usually accompany the governor on this kind of state business. But Susan and I are baby boomers of the first order, and a one-on-one with a Beatle was not business as usual. The governor made room for us.

When we arrived at the Fairmont offices, Arne and Susan were taken aside for a private meeting with Paul and Linda. I hovered in the background, grateful for the brief glimpse I had of Paul: so tall, so English, still cute.

Just before the ribbon cutting was to begin, Paul went into a private room for some grooming. The door was left ajar and, yes, I admit it, I peeked in as an assistant touched up his makeup and hair.

The autographed "Sgt. Pepper" album
MinnPost photo by Brian Halliday
The autographed “Sgt. Pepper” album

I didn’t expect to get any closer to Paul, but I just happened to be at the door of the room where he was getting his touch up when he exited. I stammered and smiled. He smiled back. And then I produced my secret weapon.

Just before I had left that morning, my husband, who fancies himself the state’s foremost authority on the Beatles (or at least their biggest fan), handed me the iconic cover of the Beatles’ album, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Take it, he said, and ask him to sign it.

So there, standing the offices of Fairmont Foods, I made a request I’m sure Paul has heard thousands of times before.

I don’t remember much more about the visit. I know Linda McCartney’s line of frozen foods stopped production a few years later.  And my heart goes out to the people who will lose their jobs when Fairmont Foods closes in March. But I certainly have a lasting and beloved memory of the place, one sits on my mantle: an album cover that reads, “To Brian and Cyndy. Love, Paul McCartney.”

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by John Edwards on 01/19/2015 - 11:27 am.

    How tall is Paul?

    I don’t know Ms. Brucato’s height, so from her perspective Paul McCartney may have appeared tall. So is the only one I have seen who described him that way. There is pretty good evidence, however, McCartney might be 5-7 1/2 inches. Ringo is famously about 5-6, and the other Beatles not much taller.

    The website http://plasticmacca.blogspot.com/2010/04/bigger-they-are-harder-they-faul.html thoroughly explores the subject.

  2. Submitted by Joshua Johnson on 01/19/2015 - 03:31 pm.

    I met Paul that day too!

    I met Paul McCartney this day as well. I have a great story about it, as well as a “Let it Be” signed album hanging in my living room as a result of the meeting.

  3. Submitted by Lee Raymond on 01/20/2015 - 08:33 am.

    I also met Paul that day!

    I was working at the time at Fairmont Foods and was lucky enough to have met and shook Paul’s hand in the lunchroom. It’s a memory I will never forget!!!

  4. Submitted by Kathy Silker Strauser on 05/04/2016 - 03:05 pm.

    Paul and Linda

    My brother was hired that day to take pictures for the Associated Press and so he got to spend the day with LInda and Paul. We met them at the airport with banners.
    At their hotel they both were so gracious and spent a lot of time signing autographs.
    My 2 yr old Tyler had a stuffed dinosaur with him and Linda and Paul both signed it. I have pictures of them signing it.
    I had worked at Fairmont Foods at one time so it was pretty neat having met them and also the fact that Linda was having her meals done there was pretty special for all of us who lived there.
    I was sad when she passed as she was so so friendly and I think she took as many pictures of us as we did of her and Paul. She was a member of the Eastman (Kodak) family.
    Paul is not very tall but looked amazing for his age!!!!

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