A few years ago my mom and I came to the agreement that I'm about 60% country girl. I spent just enough of my childhood in creek beds and tumbleweeds to call myself country. I lived in the city limits but was raised in the “Nashville of the West Coast” - Bakersfield, California. My mom and dad own a little sliver of land out there that could make a cowgirls dreams come true.
<-- (Mom and Dad's house. photo by Angie Stumbo)
Tumbleweeds and goat head thorns fill their back acre. There’s an almond orchard across the street that stirs up dust that you can’t imagine. One of my favorite things in the world is sitting on their front porch with a bottle of cold beer or a hot cup of coffee or – depending on the day - both. You have to talk a little bit louder at sunset. That’s when the barnyard cacophony begins. The neighboring animals have shouting contests about who had the best day. And not uncommon to see the sheriff’s helicopter overhead, hovering with their spotlight shining on the local fugitive – Farmer Chris’s bull.
Back in Bakersfield, there’s a bar called The Junction. It has twin swinging doors that you get to slam through when you come inside. The kind that make you feel like Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven. I went there for the first time when I was 23-years-old. I’d just left my ex-husband and wasn’t too sure about where life was heading, but stepping into The Junction took
me to a different place. A place where worries fade away with every Jack & Coke and my smiles grew with every bad karaoke song.
(actual footage of me singing karaoke) -->
The same happened when I stepped into The Wicked Tickle (aka Cape Fear Regional Theatre) last Sunday afternoon for their matinee showing of Music City.
I was so thankful for the opportunity to go watch this new performance with my friends Tiffany (The Mrs. Tee) and Katlin (Guac and Soul)! I could write you a review of the show, share all the fantastic details, and tell you how to get tickets – but the girls already beat me to it – so go check out their posts.
Instead I’m going to tell you how my day with Music City made me feel. But first - BOOTS.
My mamma sent me a pair of brand new Ariat cowboy boots right as my husband was heading off to war for the 6th time. Tucked in the shoe box, right next to the boots, there was a pair of horseshoe diamond earrings, several pairs of warm boot socks, and a note that read
“Go kick the crap out of this year.”
And I did.
<-- (same boots. Photo by Katlin Neese)
I wore these boots almost every day for the next 4 years. Every time I slip my feet into those boots, I feel like I can take on the world. Suggested attire for the show was “Justins and Boots” so I was feeling a little bit like myself as I got ready to go Sunday afternoon.
Most of you know that I’m fairly “new” to Fayetteville and this move has been one of the most difficult transitions of my life. I was excited to go to the show on Sunday, but it had nothing to do with the actual show and everything to do with the fact that one of my oldest friends was driving here from Winston-Salem to join me.
Liane and I met in the cello section of orchestra as nerdy 12-year-olds. I’d like to think we are way cooler now, but we did an amazing amount of goofy giggling over dinner after the show. So that’s debatable.
(Me and Liane in 1993 I cut our shoes out of this photo because #reputation) -->
And awesome. As we drove downtown, I got to show Liane some of the things that I love about Fayetteville – my favorite stores and restaurants, my office building, the park where I ran the food truck events last year, the new baseball stadium.
(Me and Liane now. Very cool.. The coolest.) -->
When we arrived at the theatre, we parked across the street at LeClair’s General Store. We went inside and I introduced her to LeClair’s owner (and my friend) Patrick and we ordered some coffee. As we walked around the building, I showed her some of the amazing things that Patrick has in his store and we spent some time catching up. After a few minutes, Katlin joined us and we headed across the street to see the show.
<-- (Me. Liane and Katlin. Super Cool.)
It’s been a while since I stepped foot in a live theatre. I grew up in theatres, back stages, and in orchestra pits, and the smell of the wood and curtains rushed in with a thousand memories of another Me. I inhaled deeply and said “It smells familiar, doesn’t it?” And the theme for the evening was set.
From the 1990’s country costumes, to the dance moves, to the story line… every part of Music City felt familiar. Its hard to say too much about the show without giving away the whole thing.
But let me tell you this: This show is for you.
If you’ve ever stepped through a pair of swinging saloon doors.
If you are old enough to remember watching the television on that terrible morning in 2001.
If you know the feeling of taking off your boots on a hot summer night.
If you have some Friends in Low Places and have heard the 3rd verse to A Thunder Rolls.
If you know how to do the Watermelon Crawl.
If you’ve ever tasted the lump in your throat when the camo bags are packed and there’s a plane to catch
If you’ve ever fought back tears while praying for the phone to ring from some unknown desert.
If you know what it is like to give up everything and pursue your dreams.
If you know that the right choice isn’t always the easy choice.
If you’ve ever just wanted to go home.
After reflecting on the evening, I realized that it was more than just the show and the music.
It was the intermingling of new friends who push me to be a better version of myself and old friends who remind me of where I come from.
It was the pulse of the music in my ears at the beginning of the show.
It was the beat of my heart in my chest when the mood shifted.
It was the cheers for victory, hoots for hilarity, and tears of remembrance.
Music City made me feel settled.
This show took me home.
Maybe this show even helped me realize that I’m more at home here than I realize…
There are only 4 more days to see this show at Cape Fear Regional Theatre! Click here to get your tickets now! The show is running now through October 7th at Cape Fear Regional Theatre!
When was the last time something unexpected made you feel like you were finally "home"?