Callie was slotted to sing first, and when the MC delayed the kickoff with several commercials, a list of thank you recipients, a couple of announcements about the food (Speaking of which, my BLT was MIA, and I was about ready to KSA if she didn’t bring me some grub sometime soon), I thought I was going to have to show those folks what a real, wild country woman can do when she’s feeling slain in the spirit. Or just really miffed. But then my Callie took the stage.
She began with “Crazy” by Patsy Cline and then knocked it out of the park with “Gunpowder and Lead.” She was brilliant and beautiful to boot, and I’ve never been more proud. Now all we had to do was wait and see what the other contestants had to offer.
I’ll freely admit that the participants who followed my girl were talented. Some in varying degrees, of course, and then there was the stage presence factor to consider, but all in all, the men and women on stage were all worthy opponents. The only aspect that caused me to roll my eyes was the attire chosen by two of the female artists. From the looks of things, they were focusing not only on the musical component, but the anatomical category as well, since they were spilling out of both ends. One brought a real level of sophistication to the ranks with a giant cross nestled between two chest boulders barely strapped to the cliff by thin strips of fabric. This new spin on Christianity gave me pause as a modified Psalm 23 sprang to mind: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of breasts, I will fear no cleavage, for thou art singing . . . A couple of twists and turns by the Daisy Duke Duo made me wince as skirts deprived of calcium during their formative years rode high, and I pitied the mothers of the boys standing beneath the stage, staring wide-eyed into their first Cinemax experience, as these moms would undoubtedly have to explain the term thong to their innocent offspring. But otherwise, the contestants were top notch, and I knew a win would be hard-earned.
After the last competitor left the stage, a band took over during the deliberation period of the judges, and my sandwich arrived a mere two and a half hours after I had placed the order. I split the plate with my sister, whose order never did materialize, and we watched a throng of people who had passed sober a few miles back take the dance floor. As I surveyed a man leave a table with enough empty beer bottles to give me an insider trading tip on Michelob stock, I noted his blue and orange jersey shirt along with his khaki knee length shorts, and I had to ask the age old question: how many beers does it take to get a Gator fan to do the grapevine in front of hundreds of people? I sat back, let the music flow over me, and reminded myself, “These are your people.” Then I spotted a couple in their fifties on the dance floor doing pelvic grinds, and I was once again a woman without a country.
The finale came as the winner was declared and, unfortunately, it wasn’t my Callie. But she held her head high, smiled her gorgeous smile, and let the world see a real class act.
We exited with the masses and stared out into a downpour that matched the depressing outcome. I hugged Lauren goodbye and then prepared to flee from the heartland. As I tucked my purse into the crook of my arm, I heard a voice from an older gentleman to my left.
“You run out into that mess, and you’re going to get your pretty self wet.”
Nothing like a good old boy for stating the obvious. I took a deep breath and darted into the night.
© 2013 – Traci Carver