On the Eve Eve of being 35

January 10, 2012 at 2:53 am Leave a comment

I turn thirty-five on Wednesday. Thirty-five just seems monumental to me. It’s not really, it’s just a number. Just a marker of the years I’ve been on the planet.

But years that divide by five are just more celebratory, right? Right.

I’ve been thinking (yikes!) about what makes me…me. So in honor of myself (can you do that?) I’m going to write every day this week (an accomplishment in itself) a tribute to those who have influenced me the most.

But I have to be categorical here, and say that I’m only going to write about the influential people I have never met. The famous ones. If I try to write about the folks who have invested in my life, who have loved me unconditionally and helped me grow, I’ll spend this week in a big puddle of tears. And I’ve written enough gut-wrenchers lately to last me into 2013.

So here goes…

1. Barbara Mandrell.

I adore Barbara. My earliest memories are of shelling peas in my grandparents’ den on Saturday night and watching The Barbara Mandrell Show on NBC at 7:00. I loved her singing, her ability to play ANY instrument, her humor, her clothes, her hair, her stage presence…she could do no wrong. The last time I saw her on television was a few years ago and she was making a tribute to Reba McIntire. She was sincere and beautiful, and it was obvious why she is one of the most respected women in country music.

I also remember listening to tapes of her duets with Lee Greenwood. I think I was probably the only seven year old in town who knew all the words to “To Me”.

Just as sure, as I’m sure there’s a heaven
This was meant to be
No road is too long, as long as you belong
To me.  

It just doesn’t get better than that, people.

My cousins and I pretended to be Barbara and her sisters, Louise and Erlene. I insisted on being Barbara. It worked out well, because I could be in the middle of the group, between the girls I loved most in the world. We would sing for our moms and my Mamaw and find whatever glittery costumes we could find to wear.

If we’d have had these dresses, we would’ve hit the big time:

Aren’t they gorgeous? And then there’s the talent:

I loved her when I was a little girl. I admire and respect her now that I’m an adult. She made country music fun and sparkly, while staying true to the heart of the music. She also proves that talent plus hard work pays off. Her natural ability is astounding, but she had to have worked for countless hours to master the number of instruments that she can play. I’ve listened to country music for a long time, and I’ve yet to see anyone who can do what she did. She’s one of the most impressive entertainers I’ve ever seen.

Thanks, Barbara. You made a lasting impression on a little girl who loved good country music. I recognize quality now because you demonstrated it in your fantastic career. I watched you play every note of that steel guitar and thought you were a princess. Thanks for making music seem like so much fun. You’re the best.

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Entry filed under: Life Stories, People I Love, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , .

2011 Obviously…

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