Posting this today because I woke up thinking about Mom …..
In April of 2012 Kerry and I went to Tennessee.. Bonnie Raitt was starting her Slipstream tour in Nashville at the Ryman and as we had never seen her live it seemed like the perfect time to go ..We had both been listening to Bonnie since her first Album .. Our mother knew and worked with her father , John for many years in the theater so she had always been on our radar..
This story is really about Mom .. She lost her battle with Parkinsons 2 years before this trip… We had just started recording our first CD and the fact that she never heard any of our original music was not lost on us…It began pouring as the show let out and we got soaked running back to the hotel .. We peeled off our wet clothes and threw them on the bed laughing about bringing the wrong shoes when we heard Mom singing “ Somewhere over the Rainbow “.. No mistaking her sweet, clear soprano voice.It was coming from inside the room and although it was very faint we could both hear it ..I had packed a mini ipod shuffle for the journey but when I looked for it on the plane could not find it . A friend recorded a few of Moms songs to play at her service and loaded them onto the shuffle along with the thousand or so other songs already there .. Searching through the wet clothes the voice got stronger and there was the ipod in my purse having slipped through a bit of torn lining .. The fact that it was playing this particular song and somehow was turned on at all was odd .. Kerry and I looked at each other the way we have our whole lives ..Making that how weird face. It upset us both but we didn’t dwell as we were having so much fun on our first southern adventure .
The next evening we were thrilled to go to songwriters night at the Bluebird Café.. 10 songwriters perform 3 songs each with a very established songwriter as the main act. This show it was Kent Blazy.. Multiple awards and radio hits written for the likes of Garth Brooks among others .. He did a couple songs and then told a story about one he was about to share ..The Bluebird is a real listening room. No one dares make a sound as writers share their music and stories. You could have heard a pin drop. He recalled watching a movie about the life of Stephen Foster as a very young boy and described it in some detail. This film was the inspiration for this particular song got its start .. and it was a beautiful song. Here we were on the other side of the country and a man we have never met is talking about a movie that was our mother’s first starring film role. The movie was called “ I dream of Jeannie “ and Mom was Jeannie .. So few people have even heard of this film let alone seen it that we just could not believe what was happening .. We both let out an audible gasp and held hands becoming very tearful until the show ended . We tried to talk with him after the show but so many folks were gathered around and although we did our best it was difficult to fully explain the significance of his story and that moment.
The following morning we got in our rental car and headed to Memphis.. Gorgeous green country and so unlike California .. The only town that was showing up on the map between Nashville and Memphis was Jackson and we needed some lunch. ..To our delight an authentic looking place called the Old Country Store was just off the freeway next to the Casey Jones Museum . Wood floors ,farm equipment hanging from the ceiling , and filled with everything imaginable …great photo ops for Kerry 🙂 There was also a restaurant inside the store that was an all you can eat buffet kind of thing crowded with locals for Sunday lunch.I did not recognize some of the food and decided to try a tablespoonful of just about everything including meat loaf which I rarely eat… We drank sweet tea and were trying to figure out what some of the greens were and then I took a bite of the meatloaf..Mom made a meatloaf unlike any either of us have ever had anywhere but in her kitchen ..I have tried to recreate it over the years and have given up… It was sweet and definitely an acquired taste..Non family members who didn’t grow up eating it were not convinced of the wonderfulness of this meatloaf… Rolled oats, ketchup, mustard, egg, spices and brown sugar.. She always said the secret was cheap meat 🙂 I was now eating Moms meatloaf and gave Kerry a taste..
That was when we realized that these were not random things happening..Mom had never been to this part of the country and was most definitely with us on this trip …I started talking to her out loud after that.
Love you Mom … always ….