Today is such a beautiful day within the lowcountry of Charleston, SC. A day to appreciate life along with all the blessings that arrive with each passing day. Lately, I’ve been stuck in a tsunami of grief and depression, unable to laugh, smile, or simply be the person I was before grief overtook me when I lost my precious Prince Marmaduke Shamus. This week, my friends have worked hard to get me out of my depression. Last night, we decided to go to Manhattan’s Bar & Grill in Mt. Pleasant to do karaoke. Karaoke is a regular Friday night date for all of us, but last night everyone encouraged me to enter the Lowcountry Karaoke Idol Contest. One of my best friends, Betty, encouraged me to enter on Wednesday night, suggesting that I should sing, “At Last.”
So, when we arrived at Manhattan’s, Betty, Mac and I decided to enter — just to see what would happen. None of us anticipated doing well, but we knew we would compete by giving our all. We introduced ourselves to the deejay, Will, inquiring about the rules. Sounds simple enough. You must sing a tune you are familiar with. If your eyes glance at the monitor, points will be taken away. No problem. Betty was still a bit apprehensive, but I was raring to go. Ok…I admit it…I love being on stage!
At 10:30, the competition began. Six contestants had signed up for the competition. Betty’s name was drawn as contestant #1. She belted out “Blue”, hitting those high notes like she always does, doing a great job. Mac, was the great performer, singing his song (sorry, I always forget the name of it) getting the crowd involved while he sang a sad country song about lost love. He does these songs so well, especially the George Jones tunes. Contestant number five was called up — “Barbie.” Finally, I thought, by now I wanted to just get up there and sing and get it over with.
I grabbed the wireless microphone and walked away from the monitor. I did not want to lose any points by looking at it, besides — I know the lyrics of “At Last,” without even thinking about the song.
To make a long story short — when the judges results were revealed, there was a tie. I heard my name. Shocked! This can’t be! Never have I been a finalist in ANY talent show.
Sorry, I can’t recall the guy’s name who was involved with a tie with me, but we had to turn in another song to compete against each other. My husband and friends suggested I sing, “Sweet Nothings,” an old tune recorded originally by Brenda Lee. When my name was called, I reached for the wireless mic — “Uh huh. Honey…All right…”
Working the audience, I sang to complete strangers, getting them involved…rocking and rolling…and dancing…never thinking about the lyrics while recognizing I probably didn’t stand one chance to be selected as the finalist. After all, the crowd at Manhattan’s consist of the younger in crowd. The judges were much younger than I, and I imagined they would select someone who attends the bar as a “regular,” not some wild and crazy woman who hasn’t been to Manhattan’s since before Shamus died.
After the judges turned in the results, my name was called. I couldn’t believe it. Me!???! All of my friends squealed with delight.For me, I don’t think the reality has kicked in yet. Trapped inside my youth, when I found the nerve to enter a talent show, never did I win, or become a finalist. I simply walked off the stage while thinking to myself, Oh well…Mama said I would never win. What comes next? Who knows. I will sift through all of my songs while asking friends at the Elks Lodge and my closest friends what songs I should have ready for the finals. According to Will, the deejay, I will be contacted either by phone or e-mail about the finals. For me, it is still surreal. Perhaps some might think “You had to know you’d be a finalist,” but I did not. I simply entered just to see what would happen. My childhood dream was to become a singer. Married at 17, I confess, I never found the courage to even try, until now — at a time of life that some refer to as the ‘golden or retirement years.’ I certainly do not describe myself as ‘golden’ or ‘retirement’ — more like a wild and crazy rock star woman who refuses to get old, or to act it. Age is only a state of mind, and I intend to rock my way now, as a singer. Suppose I’ll have more to write about later, and I do not anticipate winning. Charleston has lots of talented singers!