Carrie Underwood at the Opry May 10, 2014

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We traveled from North Carolina to Nashville, Tennessee a week ago to go to the Grand Ole Opry. Why? To see Carrie Underwood, the Charlie Daniels Band and other great country artists. We had second row seats and I was pumped.

The last time I attended the Opry it was still being held in the old Rymam Auditorium in downtown Nashville, and Willie Nelson was in the line up. That tells you a bit about my age, and a bit about my enjoyment of country music.

I became a Carrie Underwood fan when she was a contestant on American Idol. Her voice took my breath away. You could say I was “blown away” by her talent. I’ve seen her in concert twice. Once the year she toured with Keith Urban and last year in Charlotte. Her voice was always perfect and she has improved her stage presence with each performance.

As we waited to go into the Opry for the late showing we could hear her singing Blown Away clear out in the lobby. That girl has power and the place was packed. When it came time for her to come on stage, she was the next to last performer, a couple of security guards sat down in front. The moment they announced her name I understood why. Fans rushed forward to take pictures. The guards made them stay below the level of first row seats, let them take pictures, and then sent them back to their places, so others could come forward. Carrie smiled and sang, never missing a beat. It was quite a sight.

She sang Mama’s Song, for her mother and all the mothers celebrating their big day, and I believe, Last Name, but I was so carried away seeing this tiny woman up close, I don’t really remember. She closed with Before He Cheats. At the Opry, you are allowed two, three at the most, songs and that is all.

Three songs, by this singer, up close and personal was well worth the trip. Her voice is stronger than ever and she now looks relaxed and happy on stage. I guess Carrie Underwood finally believes, as we fans have always, that she belongs up there.

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Outside My French Doors into the Unknown

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Outside my French doors, phantoms roam amongst the rooted shadows. Night and day greet each other with their usual monochromatic exchange. Dogs burst forward chasing sounds they can hear, but I can’t. I watch, foot poised over the threshold, voice of reason screaming like a viewer at a horror movie, “Don’t go.” Curiosity leads me forward into the darkness, seeking the shapes that have canine coats standing on edge.

 

One step, two step, my feet shuffle forward. McGyver pushes against me, his large form reassuring in the dark. I stand still, listen, wait. Slow as our resident box turtle, light begins to illuminate the blackness. A night of rain gives way to the scent of clear air. I pause, let out my held breath and fill my lungs. Morning’s earth sighs in pleasure, and the fragrance awakens all my senses. A soft nicker reaches my ears. I gain courage and move deeper into the yard. Dark phantoms turn into horses, and great monsters turn into trees.

As I turn back to the house, I am greeted by the smile of my own reflection, and I think, ‘a smile is a great thing to run into in the dark’. My scary adventure over, but my day barely beginning, I stroll forward enjoying the dawn and brave beyond reason.

Outside my French doors, I never know what I will find, and this morning I hesitated to go, but curiosity won, as it usually does. It feels good.