Discordant Joy

Oh, friends, I have had my eyes (and ears) opened to my limitations as a singer. Not that I ever considered myself a person of any great vocal talent, but honestly, I never dreamt I was as awful as I turned out to be.

Before I go any further, I need to thank anyone who has ever listened politely as I bleated out a song from a karaoke stage. Bless you all for your patience and diplomacy. Truly, I thought I was carrying a tune. As it turns out, I seem to have been carrying a screeching cat all these years.

What precipitated this moment of clarity? Did someone tell me how awful I was? Was I booed from the stage? Nope. In fact, when I sang a karaoke version of Jolene on Friday night at AJ’s in Nashville, Tennessee, I received a standing ovation. Okay, to be fair, everyone was already standing anyway, but hey, the crowd was simultaneously standing and clapping, so that’s going in the books as a standing o.

The revelation of my total lack of musical talent came on Saturday afternoon as three of my friends and I toured the historic Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville. As part of the tour one can stand on the famed Grand Ole Opry stage to pose for a picture. I’m the tall one in the back there, surrounded by my friends, before discovering my absolute inability to hold a note for more than about two seconds. Look how confident I seem here.

As part of the tour one can record a song in a studio. Well, having experienced that loving affirmation from the crowd on Friday night, how could I resist having my voice immortalized in a recording? Why would I deprive the world of my dulcet tones?

Oh, mercy.

The experience was wonderful, though. The sound engineer, Dave, welcomed us into his booth even though technically the sessions for that day had ended a few minutes before we discovered the studio area. It was great fun, yet daunting, to stand in front of the microphone wearing headphones that allowed me to hear exactly what I sounded like.

“Dave,” I asked, “am I supposed to be able to hear myself?”

“Yes, ma’am. That’s how it works.”

“Damn.”

With a quick look through the catalog I selected King of the Road. Now, I’d never sung Roger Miller’s iconic hit outside of my shower or my car, but how hard could it be?

Again, oh, mercy!

I struggled mightily. My excuses are numerous: I was nervous. I forgot to breathe. The song wasn’t in a good key for me. I hadn’t practiced. Hey, it was my first time! And on and on. Basically, though, I finally realized that I’m a much better tree climber than a songstress. And friends, I couldn’t climb a tree to save my life.

If I can figure out how to share the song file with you I’ll do so. I warn you though, avoid drinking hot liquids if you risk listening.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/umgdbzxrflrmuuc/Leslie%20Noyes-King%20of%20the%20Road%20-%2011%3A16%3A19%2C%204.11%20PM.mp3?dl=0

By the way, if anyone wonders if my days of singing in public are over…Hell, no. I might be bad, but I’m really good at being bad.

Peace, people!

Nashville Bound

Thursday, November 14. I’ve been looking forward to this particular Thursday for two months now. Why? Because I’ll be driving the eight and a half hours to Nashville, Tennessee, to spend a weekend with some of the coolest women I know.

These are women I’ve ridden motorcycles with, cried with, argued with, and laughed with. They’re good women and great friends.

Studly Doright and I have moved so many times that it’s been hard to maintain friendships through the years. The core members of this group of women, though, has been there for me for at least two decades. And even though we don’t see each other more than once a year, I know they’d be there for me in a heartbeat. All I’d have to do is call.

Most of us are in our 60’s now. For some of us, our motorcycle riding days are over, but the ties that bind us together remain. We’ve made some wonderful memories, like the time we bought fake ponytails that caused us to speak in weird foreign accents. Or the impromptu talent shows that have resulted in fits of uncontrollable, pants-peeing laughter. I could go into more detail, but I’d likely be uninvited to Nashville, and nobody wants that.

I’ll pack my bags this morning. Should I pack that ponytail? I think I can still pull off the accent.

Peace, people!

On the Horizon

Months can pass at Doright Manor with nothing of interest happening. Okay, so occasionally I set my underwear on fire and once I sent a green bath rug to a total stranger because I thought she needed it…

https://nananoyz5forme.com/2019/09/24/beware-the-green-rug-or-be-careful-what-you-ask-for/

Sometimes, though, I have lots of good stuff on the horizon. This weekend I’m flying to Illinois to see my daughter and her family. We chose this weekend because all three of the Illinois grandkids have stuff going on: Grandson Garrett will be marching in the high school band playing saxophone just like his Nana (that’s me!) did. Granddaughter McKayla is a high school cheerleader, so I’ll get to see her in action, while the youngest grandchild, Harper, will be cheering before the game. I’m almost too excited to sleep!

But that’s not all, folks! In late October, I’m meeting a group of friends in Nashville for a weekend of shenanigans. Of course we’re all in our late 50’s to mid 60’s, so the shenanigans will be kept to a quiet minimum, but still, it will be fun.

I love having stuff on the horizon.

Peace, people!

Pictures from the Road

Studly Doright and I are heading north to spend Christmas with our daughter who lives near Moline, Illinois. I’d intended to write today’s blog post as Studly drove, but I couldn’t concentrate on writing while he was navigating the bumper to bumper traffic.

Things got a little intense a time or two. Going through Dothan, Alabama, a car came within inches of plowing into my door. Only Studly’s quick reflexes kept us from getting hit. Then somewhere north of Nashville a car stopped abruptly in the left hand lane of I-24. Again Studly’s quick thinking prevented an accident. My hero!

So, I didn’t write a thing until we got to our hotel room, and all I have to show for today’s blog are three photos taken while Studly drove:

I have a fondness for Piggly Wiggly signage. My dad managed a Piggly Wiggly grocery store for much of my life, and I met Studly when he worked for my dad at the Piggly Wiggly in Dumas, Texas.

This huge confederate flag waves over a section of I-65 in Alabama. Confederate flag memorabilia is sold in every gas station and convenience store along the interstate. The current president is quite popular in these parts, and I’m always in a hurry to get out of this state.

Traffic in the southbound lanes of I-65 came to a standstill due to a nasty accident just outside of Nashville. Look how far back the headlights go in the distance. Too many people all trying to get somewhere for the holidays. Hoping no one was seriously injured in the wreck.

Tomorrow’s traffic should be less hectic. There won’t be any major cities to navigate between Nashville and Moline, but if you don’t hear from me tomorrow you’ll know I’ve surrendered my sanity.

Peace, people.

On the Road

On Saturday I began the drive home to Tallahassee after spending a little over a week with my daughter and her family in Port Byron, IL. What a week!

I arrived on Saturday afternoon, unpacked and took a deep breath, because every day to come had some planned adventure:

Sunday afternoon we attended 15-year-old grandson, Garrett’s performance in a play at Riverdale High School where he played two parts with gusto. I was so proud of him.

On Monday I had lunch with the youngest grandchild, Harper D, who is a sassy kindergarten student at Riverdale Elementary School, and I remembered why I never aspired to teach five year olds. They’re cute, but exhausting.

Tuesday was wine night with my daughter and some of her friends. Yay!

On Wednesday evening I got to watch our middle granddaughter, McKayla (13), at her gymnastics class. She is pretty fierce in her pursuit of perfection. What a dynamo!

Thursday evening involved a concert for pre-K and kindergarten students at the elementary school. I talked McKayla into accompanying Harper and me, and we had a rambunctious evening. Harper volunteered me to play the role of a hopping bunny during one of the songs. I’m 61. My hop was a bit on the floppy side.

On Friday I took Garrett and Harper to see Black Panther, after which Harper (5) summed the film up with “Basically, there were two kings who wanted different things, but only one could win. Right?”

I couldn’t argue with her logic.

Then on Saturday morning I got to watch McKayla perform in a music competition, first playing flute in the band and later singing in her school’s choir. She was so lovely and poised. That’s our raven-haired McKayla, below, in the white top and black skirt.

Saturday evening our daughter, her husband, his parents, and I participated in a trivia contest for a local charity. We didn’t win; although, we held our own for most of the evening. It was way too much fun, and I might’ve had too much Guinness. Oops!

Then early on Sunday I started home. As I write this I’m in a hotel room just south of Nashville, Tennessee. The weather channel is promising thunderstorms for my drive home. I’d appreciate good vibes sent my way for the remainder of my trip. Hopefully I’ll be safely home at Doright Manor early tomorrow evening. I need to rest!

Peace, people!

Roadkill and Potholes

“Roadkill and Potholes”

As I drove north on busy Interstate 65 through Nashville, Tennessee, and points beyond last Thursday I realized I was simultaneously dodging enormous potholes and a diverse array of dead animals. The remains of raccoons, opossums, and deer were so numerous that I became anxious when I drove a mile or two without seeing a carcass. Ah, but not to worry, there were plenty more just down the road.

It was during one of these rare breaks in the action that I thought to make a verbal note on my phone in case I wanted to write something about roadkill and potholes for the blog. I did my best to enunciate, yet the message clearly reads, “Local Postholes.” Most likely I drove through a pothole as I spoke into the phone. Although, had that been the case, there would likely have been an expletive uttered, as well.

I’m scouting alternate routes for my return trip. Can you $&@?! blame me?

Peace, people.

Scraps from Their Pasts

For Christmas I put together scrapbooks of their early years for our two children. The idea wasn’t an original one. Studly Doright’s mom, Saint Helen, had given Studly and his four siblings scrapbooks several years ago as Christmas gifts and for him at least, it remains one of his all-time favorite gifts.

I’m not a very crafts minded person, but in preparation for assembling these scrapbooks I made multiple trips to Michael’s (for non-Americans, that’s THE place to go for creative types) in order to purchase the books and to find appropriate decorative touches for each page. I bought tons of stuff and ended up using only a fraction of it. Project ideas, anyone.

I’m so awful at this type of thing that I actually started all this at the beginning of 2016 and had planned on presenting them with their gifts at Christmas that year, but I got bogged down in the minutiae, and it took me almost two years to complete the task. I’m still not sure how my mother-in-law put together five such books without going crazy, because I’m fairly certain some of my sanity was lost in the process.

I’d looked forward to presenting the books to my kids in person when we were all in Nashville that Christmas, but since I was an entire year behind, and we weren’t getting to see them for the holidays this year, I had to put them in the mail.

Now, I’d worked my butt off cropping photos and arranging them with curlicues and doodads. I’d spent countless hours searching through old school pictures and awards. The thought of trusting these works of heart to the mail almost drove me crazy(er). So, before I boxed them up for shipping to Dallas, Texas, where our son lives and to Port Byron, Illinois, where our daughter resides, I documented each and every page with the help of my trusty iPhone camera.

I’ll spare you from viewing all of the pages (you’re welcome). While I wasn’t there when they opened the books they both assured me they’d enjoyed their trips down memory lane. I’m so glad I spent the time creating these, but even more glad that I had only two children.

Peace, people.

Kind of a Big Deal

Several years ago during spring break a friend and I were visiting Nashville, Tennessee, for the first time. We’d gone on a bus tour of the city and sung karaoke in a downtown bar. We’d even checked out Coyote Ugly, which was a bit disappointing. Maybe if we’d been a couple of guys it would’ve been more fun.

One of the oddest occurrences from the trip was when an obviously drunk guy in a well-tailored grey suit stumbled across a crowded bar, weaving between tables as a singer belted out a Charlie Daniels cover from the stage. To our shock, the drunk approached our table, pulled out a chair and sat down.

With no preamble the first words out of his mouth were, “I’m kind of a big fu**ing deal.”

My friend and I exchanged looks, rose from our seats, and left the bar. Neither of us needed this guy’s line of b.s.

I feel like Donald Trump is the drunk at my table. He keeps telling me what a big deal he is, and I keep walking away. He keeps spewing b.s., but no one holds him accountable. When will the GOP controlled Congress say, “Enough!” and walk away from the table? Once Kim Jong Un hits the nuclear button, it’s gonna be way too late.

Family Photos

The Doright Family converged on Nashville, Tennessee, for Christmas. We rented a home on Old Hickory Lake through Home Away and spent four days in close quarters. I’m pleased to announce that not one of the twelve people present was harmed during our long weekend of enforced confinement. See, miracles do still happen.

As part of our Christmas gift our children arranged for a photographer to come out to the house on Christmas Eve to take family photos. The last family photos were circa 2002, so we were way past due. 

Here are a few of my favorites:

Studly Doright and Moi
Daughter Ashley and Son Jason join the Dynamic Doright Duo
All the Grands
Jackson and Garrett
Eldest grandson, Garrett
Youngest grandson, Jackson
Eldest granddaughter, Dominique
Middle granddaughter, McKayla
Youngest grandchild, Harper
The big girls
Siblings
Siblings
Daughter Ashley and her family
Son Jason and his family
Just the granddaughters
The whole bunch featuring Saint Helen

Going Places

Leaving Nashville the day after Christmas, hugging grandchildren one more time

Before we climb into our respective rides for long journeys home. One heads west, another

North, while we point our car south and east, full of new memories and Christmas goodies,

Enough to last until our far-flung families are brought together once again. Safe travels.