Last week, my friend Teri texted me about going out with her and some of her friends. “There’s a guy involved,” she said. I’m game! I’m always up for supporting girlfriends on a manhunt! Besides, I’m crazy about Teri, so I was positive I’d meet some great new friends. Believe it or not, I am a little socially shy when I get in groups of people. I’m great one-on-one or with a group of close friends, but meeting a group of new people is a little overwhelming for me. I’m learning to trust the paths God puts in front of me, so when she called, I figured there must be a reason.
Teri’s friend Karen is an artist, and she had painted a beautiful portrait of Teri. Our first stop was at an art show at the Greek Orthodox Church here in Memphis. I absolutely fell in love with a painting of a little girl that Karen painted, but I’m on a budget, so I can buy no new art for awhile. I talked with Karen for a little bit about her painting, and she had only been painting for about 5 years. Her work is fabulous. I couldn’t believe that she hadn’t been at it all of her life. We talked about my writing since it’s a new passion of mine. We are both finding our “voice” with our creativity, and we talked about how that journey.
I met Teri’s other friends Tina, Pat, and Kim earlier in the evening. Tina recognized me from my blog. It made me feel like a celebrity. I’ve always been the spouse or the daughter of the writer not the actual writer. As we talked, I realized we were all from small towns. “So, are you a hick?” I asked Tina. “Yes, I am,” she laughed. I shared with her that I had talked with another hick friend of mine recently. I told him it was fun when I talked with friends from back home because my hick dialect comes out. “Hey, be careful with that hick talk,” he said. I own it. I’ve always told people I’m a hick, and I’m actually quite proud of it. There’s a lot of things that hicks get to experience that city folks don’t. And, a hick life is full of great stories. My motto is Own it……or it’ll own you.
Our second stop was was to hear the band Fatback Jubilee at Otherlands Coffee Bar. I had not heard them before, but I love bluegrass, so I was game. Besides….there was a guy involved. I needed to know more about this. One of the gals’ intuition had told her to meet a guy who was going to be at this shindig, and, like me, she trusts her intuition. She said she didn’t know why she needed to come here, but she was going to listen to her intuition for whatever lessons she needed to learn. I agreed. By the end of the night, I wondered if maybe her intuition was trying to get us hicks together for a hoedown. It was a blast.
The band was really good. They were really funny and great entertainers in addition to being pretty talented musicians. We only stayed for the first half because we’d all had really long days, but I’d definitely go see them again. Besides, Otherlands is a great venue for music. It’s a very intimate setting. And, for those of us who don’t drink, they have awesome coffee drinks and food. It’s in walking distance from my house, too, so it’s a frequent hangout. They have the world’s best sourdough cinnamon toast. Throughout the night, we took out our smartphones, friended each other on Facebook, took a few photos and tagged each other. I really enjoyed their company. Helen came in a little later. Apparently, she didn’t know about the motive for the outing, and quipped, “Oh, is there a get laid cause here?” So, we had to tell her all about it and point out the unsuspecting admiree. At one point in the evening, the band members each took a turn at the mike, featuring their talent. One of the guys really knew how to strum that instrument. Kim said, “Boy, he sure knows how to use those fingers.” We all blushed and laughed because we were thinking…..oh, never mind what we were thinking. It’s none of your business. Anyway, I told her she’d be quoted.
By the end of the evening, we realized that we had 4 hicks from 4 different states. Helen was the lone city slicker from Memphis. I typed a Facebook post about the four of us and the states we had represented – Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas. Have you ever realized how hard it is to spell these hick states? I mean, Arkansas isn’t bad. But, Louisiana has that i that I always forget. Natives don’t pronounce the i. It’s pronounced loo-zee-A-nuh. Mississippi and Tennessee have all those double letters. It’s just crazy. I found out Tina lives down the street from me. Kim is dating her ex-husband after 10 years, and couldn’t be happier. They’ve both done the work to make it work this time. Helen is a barrel of laughs and she wears this great expression that just drew me in. I walked my dog last night in the neighborhood, and Tina drove up as I was passing her house. I yelled at her, “Hey, Tina.” She said, “Wow, it’s been a long time.” We both laughed. I have some new friends. The one thing I know for sure is that a guy can always bring girls together, but it’s the girls that always bring me back for me.