Please don’t get too excited.
The first soloist couldn’t make it.
The second one went our of town.
So actually….I’m the third-string singer.
Not that I won’t give it my heart and soul.
I’m kind of a heart and soul singer.
When I sing….I’m smiling and articulating and nodding and tilting and giving the song everything I have……from the top of my 5’1″ highlighted hair to the tips of my red polished toes…..
…..and hoping and praying that I stay on key.
It wasn’t always like this.
When I was younger I was convinced that I was going to take it on the road.
I knew that I knew that I knew…..I was going to Hollywood.
Or the Grand Ole Opry.
I knew that I was the latest greatest undiscovered talent…..just waiting to be discovered.
I would sit in the back of the family station wagon and belt out Kenny Rogers.
“You got to know when to hold ‘em. Know when to fold ‘em. Know when to walk away.
And know when to run.
You never count your money….when you’re sittin’ at the table. They’ll be time enough for counting’….
….when the dealing’s done.”
I can remember bouncing around on those blue vinyl station wagon seats…..singing to my brothers and sisters and thinking to myself how incredible I sounded.
How in tune.
One step away from Star Search and Ed McMahon.
I just knew if someone heard me…..someone who mattered……someone like a scout or a Hollywood agent……I knew.
I knew my name would be in lights.
And then one summer I saw my opportunity.
We were at a country Jamboree in the middle of Arkansas. They were picking and grinning and banjo playing and the fiddles were dueling. And somewhere between “Cotton Eyed Joe” and “Clementine”…….
….they asked for volunteers from the audience.
I was eleven and with every bit of confidence from eleven years of singing Kenny Rodgers in the back of a station wagon….I frantically waved my hand and jumped up and down.
They picked me.
This was going to be it.
I just knew it.
This was my moment.
My moment to shine.
I stepped forward and told them I was going to sing, “Yellow Rose of Texas.”
Maybe I should have chosen Kenny.
Maybe I should have practiced a little more.
All I know is I sang and sang.
I sang as if this was my chance. As if this was my dream. As if Hollywood agents were waiting in the wings with a five-year contract.
I closed my eyes and sang with all my heart.
And eight changed keys and 97 off-key notes later…..
……I opened my eyes to silence.
The band had stopped playing.
The audience was staring at me.
No one said a word.
Now here’s the part in the story where I tell you how devastated I was. That I ran off the stage crying. That I was so distressed that I never sang again.
I thought it was wonderful. Through the eyes of a confident eleven-year-old….I left that stage triumphant.
I thought that it was amazing.
I left them speechless.
They were so overwhelmed by my singing that a hush came over the crowd.
There are many life lessons to be gleaned from that long-ago stage in Arkansas.
Hollywood agents don’t really visit Jamborees.
The “Yellow Rose of Texas” should be sung in the key of C.
Believing in yourself is wonderful.
Confidence is a good thing.
And I when I sing this weekend…..
…..I’m thinking I should change it to one of Kenny’s greatest hits.
Merry, Merry Christmas to you.