Baxter Bulletin from Mountain Home, Arkansas on May 11, 1991 · 23
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Baxter Bulletin from Mountain Home, Arkansas · 23

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Mountain Home, Arkansas
Issue Date:
Saturday, May 11, 1991
Page:
23
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all got together and talked about it and she nude the decision to stop touring. Mom's got such a spirit, and that's what keeps me going! knowing she's going to be OK. She isn't going to be sitting at home staring out the window. She's going to write a book; she's going to write songs for me so she can use all that creativity. I can sec her doing any number of things. This helps me see it as a transformation into something else, or another road to travel, vs. "The End." Mom said it best: "This is not my tombstone; it's a steppingstonc." It's SO hard to give a portrait of another person in words. But let me try to click a few snapshots of my mom from our life on tour. .. Everyone, not just me, calls her "Mamaw Judd." Everybody in our band goes to her when they have a problem. She's proud when she gets people together or plays matchmaker. Mom will go over to my fiancf, Tony King, and say, "You know, Wyn-onna's a really emotional girl who needs a lot of attention." And then she'll come over to me and say, "You know, Tony is a really sensitive guy." And, the next thing you know, we arc really paying attention to each other. Mom will stick encouraging notes under the door of my hotel room, and she'll put little things into someone's briefcase to make them smile. She has more monologues than anybody I know. She could do a stand-up bit each night for the rest of her life and never run out of material. Her mind is always working. One thing she's big on is that you don't demand respect; you earn it. She says women should respect men, and men should respect women: "Be proud to be a woman. Don't try to be a man. God made you a woman.' Be thankful." One thing I'm especially thankful for, being on tour together, is that I get to see how much Mom is respected as a person. When someone like William Webster, the CIA director, walks up to her and says, 'You are a wonderful, remarkable woman," I say, "Oh, she really is." When someone like Bono of U2 walks over to her and says, 'You are the hippest mom," I say, "Wow!" And Mom is one of the funniest people I know. One night a few years back, we were on the road and I was hanging out with the guys, trying to be cool and show a little independence. Just when I thought it was safe ... here comes my mother out of the elevator with her coat on. Underneath she's wearing her flannel pajamas, and she throws her coat off and declares, "Wynonna, it's time to get on the bus and go." Of course, slw did it on purpose. Site loves to do dungs like that fAotJl and I have come a long way. Our relationship is so much better now than it ever used to be. In the early days of the Judds. it was tough. Not only were we working hard, but also I was your typical rebellious teenager on top of it my rebellious and determined. I'd hold up two outfits and ask, "Which should I wear?" Then I'd wear the one slw didn't pick. If Mom didn't want me to do something, I'd go out of my way to do it. She used to get so mad, and now I understand why: I was really hateful, just hateful. You know how it is in your family when someone is 19 and always late? In my case, instead of just my mom waiting up for me at night, I'd have two buses full of people waiting on me to go to the next town. A TV crew and interviewers would be waiting. Mom already might have started the inter -view, and I'd bust through the door. The Little Whirl -wind had arrived. It was a case of flat-out having to grow up. My mother's patience and endurance were a lot better than mine would have been. (I would have made my kid get her own bus!) Many a night we'd be sitting tearfully in the dressing room, and I would say, "I'm just a kid. I don't have a normal life. I don't have friends to go out to a movie with." Mom would say, "All of your friends would give anything to be doing what you're doing." And we were both right. Then we would go on stage and smile at each other, and everything would be all right. Music always brought us to a place of understanding. "But She's never been a stage mother far from it. To be honest, she was more worried about me personally than professionally. Music was my whole world. Mom knew I was safe once I got on stage with a guitar. She worried about my being lazy. A lot of artists have a tendency to say, "Oh, well I don't want to do anything but lie in bed. I'm talented and creative, and I just want to watch TV and hang out and do the show." Mom was worried about my not being able to have a life. She didn't want me to wake up on a bus to nowhere someday and not be healthy and happy. Mom would say. "If you're late, that's disrespectful. People are going to say. You can't count on Wynonna.' " She was worried about everyone loving me as she did, as a person. She said die singing would speak for itself. I'm discovering how we arc mirror images of our parents. You try to be your own person, but the more independent you try to become, the more you sec that image in the minor. A woman who works for us came over to my house the other day. She was in one of my kitchen cabinets, and she started laughing. She said, "You have your labels facing front, just like your mother's." Here I thought I had my own house, my own setup, and yet I was doing things just as she does. It's more than lining up labels, of course. I'm thankful she raised me with Christian beliefs and always set a good example. Even when she was doing odd jobs in L.A., she never gave into the drug scene, the "ways of the world." She stuck with the ways in which she was brought up back in Kentucky, and she passed them on beautifully: "Don't date a married man; it's a dead end." "Respect your body and yourself, or no one else will." "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens mc." "Be a good person; you may be the only Bible someone reads." "Good girls do finish first." "Jesus and germs are everywhere, so wash your hands and say your prayers." That's partly why I think Mom is able to let go of me a bit better knowing she's done her job. Mom is trying hard to kick me out of the nest, so to speak. But we never outgrow our need for our mothers or for our daughters. I guess. She still wants mc to call to ask whether 1 look OK. w licthcr she approves of a song But in bigger ways. I sec myself starting to take care of her. I tell her when to go to bed. I tell her to stop talking so she doesn't get too tired that kind of thing. And she actually has asked me for advice. Our relationship is like that of two adults now which in a way only makes all tins harder. I don't get angry with God. I don't say, "Why diis family? Why my mother?" I say,"Why now?" I knew someday I'd go solo. I knew someday she'd get off the road. But not this way. That's what I question. Why now? When that feeling comes over mc, I remind myself that I'm my mother's kid. She raised mc to be independent, to believe in myself. And she believed in mc when I didn't believe in myself. When we were rehearsing for the Grammys this year, I got nervous because I saw Bettc Midler, Michael Bolton and all these other big names in the front row. Mom took my hand and said, "You're going to be OK. You are the best singer in country music." Though I look confident up there on the stage my mother is the one who looks nervous I'm shaking inside most of the time. But I've had my mom and my music, and I'll go anywhere and put myself in any situation as long as I have those two things. And I will have them, because even though she won't be on stage with mc, she will be there in spirit. A part of her will always shine through me when I'm singing alone. She has given me the tools to carry on. She has often said, "I've raised you to be strong." Mom wrote a song called River of Time, and there's a line from it that I have been thinking about a lot: "Life is forever beginning, beginning again." Maybe that's the main thing Mom taught me, just by being who she is and doing what she has done. You have to be a dreamer. You have to take chances. Some people call her Naomi "Take-a-Chance"Judd, and she is one heck of a chance-taker. That's the attitude that will see us through. Now Mom is in chemical remission, and she's determined to stay that way, just so she can tell everybody, "I'm a walking miracle." She won't settle for less. I know Mom sees great things ahead for mc. I see that for her, too. I know she's going to write my biggest song, and I know the first face I'll see when I look out into the audience will be Mom's, and she'll be smiling back. Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I love you. Vie Judds began performing together in 1983. Tliey've seen four albums go platinum and have won four Grammys. USA WEEKEND May 10-12, 1991 5

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