My mother loves to fish the Purple Haze pattern, she absolutely loves it. And she should, she seems to catch a hell of a lot of fish with that fly! Last summer we parked on a school of rising fish and she pulled them out one right after the next with that bug.
That said, I’m not here to talk about the Purple Haze that my mother used to catch this fish.
I’m not talking about this cool piece of fish art by Montana painter Bern Sundell, titled “Purple Haze”.
And no, I’m not talking about Jimi Hendrix’s signature song.
Henceforth, whenever I use the term Purple Haze, it will be in fond and deferential reference to the glorious, sparkly experience of seeing Loretta Lynn live in concert.
I know, I know. This makes two non-fishing posts in a row. But if Loretta can rhyme the words ‘hard’ and ‘tired’ in a song, I can mix a little music in with my fishing stories.
(By the way, anyone know which song I’m talking about?)
Okay so I pulled a little fly pattern bait & switch on you. But as you know, I’ve been on a quest to see Loretta for quite awhile now. This was huge. The Professor and I left Mobile Friday afternoon, headed for Pensacola with plenty of time to grab some dinner before the show. Unfortunately some standstill traffic on I-10 wasn’t in our plan. The Professor – whom we will rename My Hero – wheeled off the interstate in the blink of an eye as if he were being chased by some smokeys, and he serpentined around some backroads to get us back on track.
Once in Pensacola we parked and walked around looking for food. Hour-and-a-half wait at the first place. No good. That other place looked crowded too. Next place on our list was too far, we were running out of time. We flagged down some friendly, foodie looking folks and asked for a super-fast, super-close option.
Perfect. Off we went, just passed the Saenger Theater toward a nearby grill. But as we rounded the corner, The Professor stopped me dead in my tracks and pointed: It was Loretta’s bus.
There it was in all its full, regal purple glory. Purple Haze. I mean there wasn’t a shade of lavender missing from this thing. Believe me, I know. I stalked it thoroughly waiting for a glance of the woman herself. I have a vivid picture of her little country lamp in the window with a ditzy old Victorian shade. There was a white cat with black spots prowling around inside there.
And a bodyguard on the outside who was giving me the evil eye for getting too close to the bus.
The Professor was convinced I could talk my way onto the bus and meet her, but I wasn’t feeling it. And I didn’t want to miss the chance to see her walk out on stage. So with a fast meal behind us, we scurried into the Saenger and our seats just in time.
Words cannot describe how amazing she was. First of all, the purple theme continued in her sparkling, over-the-top, formal gown that just about seared a violet hole in my retina. It was sweet country perfection.
Her song list was spot on, churning out one classic hit after the next. She gave me pretty much every song I needed to hear, and then some. The Professor didn’t say anything, but I think he must have been impressed that I knew all the lyrics to almost every song she threw at me. I sang right along with her, and in my mind I sounded pretty good, but for some reason the gentleman next to me switched seats.
Truthfully, I was blown away at how good she sounded! Sister’s still got pipes. She hit high notes, big notes, and some key changes that gave me goose bumps.
And she’s funny. Her banter with the audience and with her band was sharp and hysterical. She was seated for much of the show so she’d just quip over her shoulders, “Just play somethin’ boys and I’ll try to figure it out.” Or, “It’d help if I knew what song yall were playin!” But most of the time she kicked off each song by flipping her head toward the band and waving her mic, “Take it away boys…”
And the accent. Oh! That country girl from Butcher Holler hasn’t lost one ounce of twang. It was to die for. I’m going to start saying aint and dadgum more often. She just makes it sound so dern good.
She finished with her signature song Coal Miner’s Daughter and that’s when I started to cry. I was completely overcome. I just couldn’t believe she was right there in front of me. Right there singing all these songs I’ve been listening to my whole life.
I am so grateful to the Professor for making this happen. I also want to extend a huge Thank You to all the Professor’s friends & family in Mobile who had to listen to me talk about the Loretta concert ad nauseum all weekend.
What can I say? I was in a Purple Haze. I felt like I could take the stage at the Opry, tour the honkytonks with Patsy, knock out some duets with Conway, win a country-girl catfight, bake a cherry pie with Crisco, and rock that lavender sequin gown. Scuse me while I kiss the sky!
I’ll have a fishing report for you tomorrow. But in the meantime, I pulled together a little taste of the songs she played last Friday. Take it away boys…