Last weekend, I made the trek to my hometown of Ponca City, OK and played a concert in the theater where I used to go to movies as a kid. I don’t think I could have asked for a sweeter homecoming or a more enthusiastic welcome. My Ponca City brethren rolled out the carpet for me in grand style. They put my name up in lights, interviewed me on the radio and came out in droves for my performance. Even before I arrived, the good people from my hometown had already sent excited emails to me and posted about the show on Facebook. I was flabbergasted by the response. I was and am heartened and humbled.
It was a wonderful feeling to play in the Poncan Theatre; it’s such beautiful landmark. But the thing that made it special was all of the people that came out for the show: former teachers, relatives I hadn’t seen in years, jazz fans, old schoolmates, childhood neighbors and, of course, so many dear friends, several of whom traveled from out-of-town to see the concert. I was astonished. If it is possible to be flooded by love, then I was most certainly drowning.
It was quite the trip to revisit the village that had patiently tolerated the slightly feral little tomboy who “practiced” trick-or-treating in August and who had a proclivity for potty mouth. I was surprised by how much they remembered about me and was entertained (albeit slightly embarrassed) by some of their stories. It’s amazing how many people we connect with along the way in this grand adventure called life. As I spoke with all these lovely souls, I felt blessed. Sadly, there were many other people that I didn’t get the chance to speak with and I feel very sorry about that. The post-performance was a little dizzying. I wish I could have lingered over coffee with each and every person who came out to the show.
Another big piece of the magic that night was my fabulous band. Randy, Michael and David played their asses off and made my job easy. This group of musicians could make Mrs. Miller sound great. It was a fabulous ride. I am grateful to Randy for making the trek out from Seattle and also to Michael and David for their willingness to make a road trip to Ponca City to play a gig with a chick singer they’d never met. I sincerely hope that our musical paths cross again someday.
I am basically a regular goober. I have bills to pay. There are piles of dirty laundry in the hallway of my apartment. I could stand to lose 15-20 pounds. My kids fight over who gets to ride shotgun in the car. I’m forever misplacing my keys and my glasses. I stay up too late and get up too early. I run out of #2 coffee filters at inopportune times. I’m pretty much like anyone else. I am not particularly extraordinary. However, the people in my hometown made me feel like I was truly special–like I was somebody. For a few days last week, I got to feel like a super star. And I will never forget it.