STORY NUMBER SIX
November 27, 2010
Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone. Like you, I have been very busy cooking and making family merriment. When I sat down today to write a story for you, my readers, I got a little sentimental. My previous stories have all had at least one celebrity sighting and in most cases more than one. It crossed my mind that you might be curious to read a story that was a little more homespun and personal. Hoping that I am right, I am sharing a story today that I call….
Through my life, starting when I was about 20ish, more than a few people have suggested that I write a book. Others have suggested that I record various records and approach labels and get a big record deal. A few have said that I should have a radio show. I love being on the radio. Nobody can see you and you can totally be yourself. I have always said that I have the body for radio.
Anyway, as much as these are all great ideas, it just seemed that I never was in just the right place, emotionally and mentally, to do much of it. I like doing random performances, telling random funny stories and all of that but it takes a certain peace and happiness level to really be creative ALL the time and with reckless abandonment. In a nutshell, you can’t sit down and write songs and stories and be all creative when you have to sweat all of lifes little needs, by yourself. Or at least, I can’t.
I have found that in the last year and a half, I have been the most relaxed and at peace than ever before. THAT inner joy is the reason that this website is up and running and why the stories are flowing. I know that sounds a little “cosmic” and probably conjures up a visual of some crazy lady, burning incense and gripping a crystal in her hand, but trust me, I’m not doing that. I am just pointing out that being happy, for me, makes me more productive and wakes up my creative juices. For that, I am very thankful.
Now I will take you back about a year and half and tell you a little story. There is a small and quaint Honky Tonk here in Nashville called the Idle Hour. Over the years it has been my favorite watering hole and hangout, when I feel like socializing and such. It is a very unpretentious place that is frequented by a large number of “regulars”. Most of them songwriters and singers. I know that on any given day, I can go there and there will be a “pickin’ and singin’ “ of some kind. There is also an old, out of tune spinet piano, against one wall. If you play the piano, which is my instrument, then you certainly limit your places to play. Guitars are portable, pianos, not so much. That’s another reason I like the Idle Hour. If I feel like getting in on the singin’, I can.
So, I was there one afternoon, meeting up with my friends, Hank and Edna Beach. I will write A LOT more about them later. There is a big round table up front and we were all sitting there, talking. There were several new folks sitting there, also. Among them, a few men from Texas, just passing through, a young singer that had just signed a deal at a major label and a few of the “regulars”. Hank picked up a guitar, at my request, and sang the song that he wrote that put him on the map. A beautiful song that has been recorded by Shania Twain, Tom Jones, Con Hunley and others called, You Lay A Whole Lot Of Love On Me. Hank wrote this song for his wife of 30+ years, Edna. Every time he sings it, he wells up. It’s a beautiful thing to see. It’s the reason that writers HAVE to write. It’s when the most beautiful of your thoughts and dreams come together in a neat little package. Every time I hear Hank sing HIS song that HE wrote and see the look on HIS face, I believe EVERY word of it. Hearing someone other than the writer sing a song can be a wonderful experience but seldom as heartfelt. You just have to be there, I guess, to understand what I’m saying. Music is ALWAYS better, LIVE.
The young, newly signed artist, was only too happy to wail out a few numbers, and then the guitar was passed around the table to anyone that wanted to render a tune. In between songs I was talking to various folks at the table. I was watching one of the visitors from Texas as he listened to the music. It was interesting to watch him because he was not used to hearing music in such a pure and live way. He was clearly moved by some of the performances. He and I talked about how there was no radio playing anything anywhere that was better than what we were hearing. This gentleman was meeting all of these folks, including me, for the first time. He was fascinated with just how good the talent at this table really was. I believe it was Edna that asked me to sing something. I thought for a minute and went to the old spinet and decided to sing a song that I had written, that unlike Hank’s, had never been recorded by anyone. The song was called I’ve Got You Memorized. I wrote the song about fifteen years ago. I have recorded it a couple of times over the years but have never released it.
I would not call myself a spectacular piano player, but I can play enough chords to accompany myself on songs that I write. My voice is really my instrument, I guess, I try to hold notes and sing soulfully enough to cover up the fact that my piano playing is just so so. On this day, I was feeling particularly sentimental from all of the beautiful music and fellowship and that came out in my performance. I could feel myself singing it truly from my heart. A singer knows when they are singing it just the right way. The way they intended. Once I knew that it was going that way, I relaxed even more and just sang straight from my heart from the place where the song was written.
SIDEBAR: Trust me, not all performances get off to the right start and it’s hard to recover when they don’t.
Anyway, you know what I mean, it’s kind of the way you feel when you do a project and it comes out better than you hoped and you can sit back and be proud of your execution of it. I meant what I was singing and I was humbled and proud to be singing it for my friends and peers.
The table was quiet while I sang. Another drawback to piano playing is that your back is most often to your crowd. I could not see their faces, I just knew that they were quiet. I finished my song and turned around during the applause that is always extended at a singin’, and made eye contact with my new friend from Texas. It was then that I not only noticed the absolute beauty of his crystal clear sky blue eyes but also that there was a tear falling from one of them. Here was this strong, eloquent, articulate Texas visitor, with a tear rolling down his cheek. A tear that my song and my performance had put there. A million thoughts went through my head, in a split second, as I rose and walked over to him and wiped the tear from his face.
This is where, you, my readers, learn that there is a very strong sentimental streak running through ME. I am prone to tear up at just about everything. Some of the children in my family can’t keep their eyes off of me during a warm family moment just to see if I’m going to cry. Example: I had to pull my car over on the side of the road one day to have a good cry for America and all of its splendor when I passed a High School Marching Band and Color Guard practicing God Bless America on the lawn of the school. I’m that girl. The cryer. So there, I said it.
At the moment that I wiped this tear away, time STOPPED. I swear it did. You can ask anybody at the table. It was like a freeze frame movie segment where everyone froze like mannequins and there was silence for about 30 seconds. I couldn’t have told you what was going on in the room because my eyes never left his. I sat back down next to my new friend and he told me how much the song had meant to him. We stayed at that table, the whole group of us, for several more hours. Talking and singing and getting to know each other. It was decided that our whole table would go to another spot that we love to go to and hear some more music, they had a band, and continue the party. We all left the Idle Hour and met back up at the second locale. Did I mention that the blue eyed visitor from Texas went too? Oh, well he did.
At location number two, we talked some more, all of us, and listened to the band, for a few more hours. As the night began to wind down and after several hours of talking and getting to know the Texan, he and I found ourselves in the middle of a, let’s just say, end of the evening, slow dance. It seemed like just the perfect thing after such a fun and perfect night. He was an excellent dancer and since my dad taught ballroom dance lessons for Arthur Murray early in his career, I had been properly schooled on the subject and was gracefully following his lead.
This is where, you, my readers, must remember that in addition to my crying side, there is a very strong BOLD streak running through ME. I told my new friend that I hoped that I would hear from him again sometime and just to seal the deal, I borrowed a Sharpie Marker (the kind that people sign autographs with so they don’t fade away) and shamelessly pulled the collar of his shirt back just a little and wrote my name and number right on his chest. Yep, right on his chest. That way it wouldn’t get lost until he took his next shower and he certainly couldn’t miss it. The band packed up and we all said our goodbyes. Each going our own way to our respective abodes.
At about daybreak, the next morning, I woke up and the very FIRST thing that crossed my mind was the blue eyed Texan who was waking up on the other side of town to find my number scrolled across his chest. I smiled as I made coffee and started my day. It wasn’t long into the day that Edna called. We talked about how much fun we had the night before for awhile and then I couldn’t help asking her some more details about “blue eyes.” She informed me that she just so happened to have spent the morning on the phone with him before calling me, because he had called her to ask about me. Isn’t that just so cute? It’s like two 7th graders that met at the skating rink calling their “best” friends and chatting up the whole night. It was safe to say at this point that a mutual connection had sparked. And, from my side, a spark that I did not see coming or had not set out to find.
Edna told me that Hank was going to be performing that very night and that she had suggested to “blue eyes” that he and I come together. Since he most definitely had my number, he had asked Edna what she thought about him calling me. Isn’t that sweet, and respectful and unique? She gave him the green light and he called. He asked me if I wanted to go to lunch, that day, before the show. I accepted and we met at a little German place at lunchtime. It was apparent, quickly, that he and I were clicking. Our conversation was effortless and fun and it was as if we had known each other forever. I learned that he had just stopped through Nashville, upon retiring, to meet up with a high school buddy before going to Costa Rica to live the island life. We talked for hours and hours. We even spoke the “relationship” word out loud and shared with each other exactly what we had been through and were hoping to find. We covered years worth of stuff in our very FIRST conversation. We agreed that we were going to just lay it all out there in the beginning instead of trying to appear perfect for each other. We entered into what we now call the “peace talks”. You know the stuff that you shy away from talking about early in a relationship? The surprise unpleasant stuff that comes up later and throws a wrench in things? We learned through the peace talks that if you just get it out of the way first, there are no surprises and you know what to expect. Trust me, it was a good thing.
I will share more details at another time but for the purpose of getting “on with the story”, I will just tell you that we fell in love. We both knew within days that we were the picture of everything we had ever wanted in a mate and just because we had just met, we were not going to ignore it. Within 7 months, we were married. After, of course, he went, unbeknownst to me, and asked my father for my hand. Isn’t that just too darn wonderful? And rare and refreshing?
Now let me tell you a little something about my husband. With the exception of No One, my husband loves me the most and unconditionally. I find him to be the most attentive, interested, caring, unselfish and devoted person I have ever met.
You know when certain couples are SO in love that you just have to roll your eyes when you see them together because it just shows? That’s us. I am not afraid to say it. It’s the most wonderful feeling in the world to finally feel, complete. Being what I call “perfectly companioned” is the most freeing and life changing thing that can ever happen to a person. I am not bragging or comparing, I am just saying it out loud because my life since I met my blue eyed husband, David Bolton, has completely changed in every way.
I have met a vast array of stars and celebrities, I have seen musical history being made and even been a part of it. I have performed for thousands of people over the years and have had some glorious musical moments but until now, I have never felt, complete.
David thinks that my musical is wonderful. He is the best kind of fan. The one that wants everyone to hear it. He is the one that wants me to hone my talents and write my stories and shine shine shine. He is a cheerleader for everything I do and he’s happiest when I am bringing songs and stories to fruition. He is absolutely the best kind of team player and where I leave off, he picks up. And vice versa.
We share our home, perfect for us with a little extra room for company to come and stay the weekend. We cook and laugh and sing and dance and are as happy as two little clams. It is a new feeling for both of us. It also comes with the bonus of a new peace and joy that neither of us have ever quite had.
With that said, I thought on this day so close to Thanksgiving when I am feeling especially blessed and thankful that it be only fitting that I write a story about the most important person that I could possibly write about, in a way. Without him, the stories about Chet Atkins and Lynn Anderson and Johnny Cash and all of those other stars that you have read and hopefully enjoyed, would not have been written. I can sit here, right now and say that the MVP of Team Alison Clement and this website and these stories and the jokes and the recipes and renderings is my husband, MVP David Bolton.
He is the reason that you are reading this story. He is the reason for this website and gets all the credit for filling my life with the happiness and the peace that I need to just create and share and start AND finish the work that will someday be the Book or the Song that defines me. Our life together and his presence in my life have brought me, finally, to the place where I can write freely, sing loudly and be creative without worry and without that underlying emptiness and un-fulfillment that slows people up in the first place.
With each story and each song, he’s always there to say “that’s my baby”. SIDEBAR: A tear, much like the one that rolled down his face when he heard me sing that song, is rolling down mine right now with the writing of those words. I couldn’t stop it if I tried.
So I guess that not all stories have to be star-studded. Not all stories have to have a punch line. Not all stories have to be edge of your seat.
This story is just a little insight into THIS writer and HER muse.
So, as you go through the pages and visit my website, give a shout out to my MVP, he’s the one that makes it all happen. I’m just the one he made happy enough to finally want to get off the bench and take my “at bat”.