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THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2007
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Meeting Ellen makes Decatur woman’s day

By Andrea Brunty
abrunty@decaturdaily.com · 340-2448

Dina Hayden can't stop smiling.

The Decatur resident has a reason to grin because she appeared on "The Ellen Degeneres Show" that will air Friday at 4 p.m. on CBS.

Hayden visited her son and daughter-in-law in California this week and traveled to the show. The show gives out more tickets than spaces available in the audience, so Hayden wasn't optimistic she'd get in.

"All I wanted to do was get into the audience to see her," she said.

If Hayden didn't get picked to be in the audience, she'd end up in the "Riff Raff Room," which is where extra audience members go to watch the show on a big-screen TV.

"All of a sudden they were calling numbers at random and one of the numbers was mine," Hayden said.

Potential audience members were asked to fill out a form with a question for Degeneres.

"I'm 75 ... if all I get to do is shake her hand that would make my day — it was all I could think of off the top of my head (to write down on her questionnaire)," Hayden said.

Next, the studio interviewed the audience members about the answers to their questions.

Hayden got called back three times, and was one of four audience members left.

"They asked me what I would do if I got called on, so I said 'well, I just would grin from one ear to the other to even be acknowledged,' " she said.

During the show, the first two audience members sat in the chairs to ask Degeneres a question. But when Degeneres asked "Now where is Dina Hayden from Decatur, Ala.?" Hayden jumped up and said "I'm here, I'm here," while waving her arm in the air.

"I can't even remember what I said ... I just got to shake her hand and give her a hug ... and of course my heart was going ...

"I felt like a real celebrity."

Trainer Bob Harper, actor Ryan Phillipe, former "Idol" contestant Katharine McPhee and "My Grammy Moment" winner Robyn Troup are Degeneres's guests for Friday's show. Audience members each received a copy of McPhee's CD.

"Ryan was adorable, just so cute. I was ready to go down and hug him myself ... but I held back," Hayden said.

During the commercials, it's like a dance party, and Hayden said she did her fair share of dancing.

"At my age, you just want to be entertained, and Ellen is entertaining," she said.

FRIDAY

Music and Dance, Priceville Palace, The Classics Band, 7:30-10:30 p.m., casual dress, bring finger food. Sponsored by Southeastern Talent Promoters and Producers Association Inc., a nonprofit organization. Public invited to listen or dance. Call 353-4362 or 350-1666.

SATURDAY

Free Income Tax Assistance, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., second floor, Decatur Public Library. Bring W-2 forms and all paperwork. Call 353-2993.

Music and Dance, Priceville Palace, Shades of Grey Band, 7:30-10:30 p.m., casual dress. Sponsored by Southeastern Talent Promoters and Producers Association Inc., a nonprofit organization. Public invited to listen or dance. Call 353-4362 or 350-1666.

THURSDAY’S CHURCH EVENTS

Revival, Sonrise Temple, Lile Street, Trinity; 7 p.m. today through Saturday. Heath Sullivan, speaker. Call 353-6502.

Singing, 7 p.m., Moulton Baptist Church; the Inspirations. Love offering taken.

We publish notices of events of general interest on the day of the event and, when space allows, for two days before.

Please submit items one week in advance. Call 340-2433; mail to Community Calendar, The Decatur Daily, 201 First Ave. S.E., Decatur, AL 35609; e-mail to news@decaturdaily.com; or fax to 340-2392.

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