Grand time with my new friend Hun

Published 8:39 am Wednesday, May 11, 2022

By Ricky Swindle

Muffler Shop Musings

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Have you ever been to a family reunion except you wasn’t kin to anyone there, but you felt as if you were?

That’s what happened to us during and after The Grand Ole Opry this past Saturday night.

Jameson Rodgers’ father John Rodgers and Mamaw Katherine Brower were there also.  Cousin Mike Rodgers and his wife Brenda along with Steve McGregory’s wife Linda, daughters Delisa and Deletha with grandkids.

Around 20 of us in all were in attendance showing our Panola County pride. Even Ol’ Harvey Byers from the Free State of Tallahatchie County made the trip.

When my spouse and I attend shows, tickets tend to be more expensive for me to try to compensate for her vertically challenged disability. She’s a little short gal and it’s a waste of money and a strain on my ears afterwards if she can’t see the show so I lean more toward the pricier tickets to ease both sides of the equation.

We were on the third row, aisle seats directly in front of the piano on The Opry stage. Having been to the Opry several times over the years, I was pretty sure where the piano resides onstage and so I purchased my tickets accordingly a few weeks ago.

Jameson was introduced onstage and sang his #1 Country hit “Cold Beer Calling My Name” and followed it with a great song he penned about his idol and appropriately named “Merle Haggard.”

Steve McGregory, waiting in the wing to be called to join Jameson, told us afterwards that he had never been so scared in his life.

There is no telling the number of stages the man has stood on over the years, but then again, this was The Grand Ole Opry, the greatest stage every Country Music star has ever played.

But when Jameson introduced him to join in for a song, you would’ve never thought he had the first butterfly. He stepped out there like the old pro that he is, and the Opry audience was so warm and receptive as Steve tinkled out on that Yamaha grand piano the opening notes of The Eagles great hit song “Desperado”.

Jameson proceeded to sing a soulful version of that classic tune and the audience was hooked, especially the ones of us who made the trip to see our two Local Yokels take down the house at The Grand Ole Opry.

Immediately following the performance, it was intermission time, and it couldn’t have been more sooner. I left my seat to go and see and hug my friends and Jameson’s dad John met me in the aisle with tears in his eyes and a bear hug because what we had just witnessed on that stage was nothing short of a blessing to all our souls.

The Opry is not too keen with folks recording the show with their phones, but my little bride did not get that memo and she captured the entire performance on her I-Phone. So, the good seat I purchased for her basically benefits everyone who could not attend, yeah, that sounds good, I’ll stick with that story.

The video, posted on my Facebook page has been shared countless times and viewed over 4,000 times as of this writing. As luck would have it, while she was filming Steve on the piano, there was a giant video screen with Jameson right above him. It made for a spectacular video capturing both artists simultaneously.   

Afterwards, the entire crew met across the street from the Opry at the Dave & Busters restaurant. The folks that work there were not ecstatic about 20 plus hungry folks showing up at 10:30 p.m . but they seated and fed us anyway.

My server lady snapped at me when I asked, “Can I get some more tea, Hun?”. She informed me quickly that her name was Rene’ and not Hun.

Okay, I ain’t got nothing against women libbers and I realize that being almost six decades old I’m not really into all the cancel culture crap, but I didn’t mean anything by calling her Hun, just an endearing figure of speech as I see it. I had no clue her name was Rene’.

Normally, I would’ve sternly explained to that young lady the proper way to speak to someone older than yourself who is also a paying customer, but I let it pass because I figure she had worked all night, was tired and had to take all these folks in last minute and was a bit agitated. Plus, my night had been perfect so far, so I just decided to let it slide.

When I asked her for my ticket a few minutes later she informed me that someone in our party had taken care of my check already. So, I reached in my pocket and handed her a $20 dollar bill anyway and said, “Thanks for waiting on us, Hun” and she smiled and said, “Thank you so much”.

Lesson learned:  The word Hun is offensive to a woman libber, but Hun along with a $20 dollar bill is not offensive. Lord, I hope I don’t run out of money because I don’t see myself changing what I think is proper Southern gentleman speech.

Take care of yourself folks and get ready for Jameson Rodgers on May 21 on the Downtown Square. If I had to bet, I’d wager Ol Stevie Boy will join him again.