"And now, here with us tonight to make her Grand Ole Opry debut is...Samantha Whitaker!" Eddie Stubbs, the Opry's announcer shouted into the microphone.
I took one last deep breath, a sip of water and tried not to pass out as my boots clicked on the wooden floor. So many important pieces of Country music history had come together here. Everyone from Patsy Cline and Hank Williams to Taylor Swift and Keith Urban had played here. All the moments I had sat in the living room with my parents on Saturday nights played back in my mind as I made my way to the microphone.
I looked up as the bright stage lights shined in my eyes, making it harder to see the features of people in the audience. I quickly tuned my guitar and placed the capo on the third fret. I strummed it once to hear the melodic tune played back in my ears. I glanced to the band behind me that I was ready to start. I caught a glimpse of the first row. My entire family consisting of my parents, my aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents were all beaming with pride; tears running down their cheeks and clapping as hard as their hands could. There was also a really good looking guy that seemed to belong to me, waiting off to the side. I'm not sure why I didn't recognize him, but yet I felt so connected to him. He gave me a smile and put his hand to his heart. Maybe this was some secret gesture between the two of us? I went along with it and smiled.
The music was building up and I opened my mouth to sing, but nothing came out. The only thing I remember next was walking off stage to the Family Room area. It was flooded with families of the musicians, crew and the talent that sang at the Opry tonight as well. I mingled with a few people, congratulating me on my first time and how great we were.
"I'm glad you guys can describe it to me, because I think I completely blacked out. It was all a blur," I said, still in a daze.
"Ah, yes, welcome to the Opry magic," Bill Anderson walked up behind me and gave his words of advice.
"Thank you! It's such an honor to meet you,"I gushed, remembering my grandpa's stories of how he used to listen to Bill on the radio when he first came out.
"No, no, no! The pleasure is all mine. My grandchildren talk about your music all the time. They love you and from the looks of it, so does that crowd out there. If you keep going the way you are, you'll be an Opry member in not time."
"Oh wow! I don't know about that," I blushed, thinking of the possibility.
"There's someone that's been wanting to meet you all night. He wanted to talk to you about a possible duet or something."
"Really? Who?" My heart was pounding in my chest and my knees felt wobbly. I followed Bill Anderson as he led me towards a door. We stood in front of it for a few minutes, waiting for this mystery guest to come out. The door opened, but I still couldn't make out the man's face.
All of a sudden, I fell out of bed. "What the...?" I rubbed my head as I realized I had slipped to the floor and smacked my head on the nightstand. I wasn't in Nashville, Tennessee. I was at home in my small town somewhere in the middle of Indiana.
I thought back to the prayer I'd said before bed. "Lord, show me the plans you have for me...in a way that I can understand. I don't know where I'm supposed to go or what I'm meant to do anymore. Show me what you want from me so that I can follow through with your plans."
Whoa. My mind was completely blown. Foreshadowing of the future? And who was that possible mystery duet partner? I crawled back into bed, trying to put pieces of the puzzle together. There was no way I could go to sleep after that, though. One of these days, it would really happen. With God on my side, I would make sure of it.