Tag Archives: Johnny Mullins

My Time at the Grand Ole Opry

Photo by Natalie McLaws
Photo by Natalie McLaws

I got a chance to sing on the Grand Ole Opry stage!  Whew!  There.  I shouted it.  I tried starting this story a couple times but nothing quite captured the joy I felt when I stepped on that historic circle.  It was mid-March and I was so glad to be able to spend my daughter’s senior year spring break with her and my niece.  We had been planning on bee-lining it for the ocean but the forecast looked iffy so the day before we were to be leaving town we got the notion to head to Nashville.  My long-time friend Lorie Jo opened her home and chauffeured us around a bit.  She dropped us off at the Opry that day for us to do the tourist thing — and the tourist thing we did.  We took pictures outside by the giant guitars, bought tickets for the tour (scored the very last three for the last tour of the day! Sorry to those folks right behind us. :/).  But when I stepped on that stage, it really didn’t matter that I was there just like every other tourist.  I was given an opportunity to sing – to exercise my  lungs and share a song with a group of people on this fine stage.  Thoughts ran through my mind as we winded through the back hallways, greenrooms, family rooms.  What shall I sing?  Singing one of my own songs just didn’t feel right at the moment for some reason.  I couldn’t pinpoint why.   The only person that kept running through my mind was my songwriting hero, Mr. Johhny Mullins.  But what of his songs?  They are all so beautiful, varied and numbered.  For a moment I considered his song “Nashville” (which the girls and I had been singing quite a lot while we were there) but I decided that maybe as a guest in their fine town, I should pick something that maybe wouldn’t be hurtful or sorrowful to them (“Nashville, where a lonely face is common place in Nashville.” – Johnny Mullins.)  So to honor two birds with one song (*smile*) I settled on “Blue Kentucky Girl,” a song that Johnny wrote specifically for the one and only Loretta Lynn.  I stood tall, (well as tall as my 5’2″ frame would let me), took a strong breath in and… sang.  I sang with all the joy I could offer.  A Capella. One verse. A memory for life.  Maybe if I ever earn my way on to the Grand Ole Opry stage I’ll share a song of my own.  Until then, I’ll hold on to that feeling and cherish that few moments spent with my kids, a handful of strangers, and empty seats in the Grand Ole Opry.