It is so hard to wrap my brain around the fact that it’s been 20 years since I packed up everything I had, stuck it in the front half of a 5’x10′ U-Haul trailer, hitched it to the back of my Taurus, stashed Daddy’s gun in the glove box — like Mama and I would know what to do with it should we come face-to-face with danger — and took off for Texas. It was the ultimate, life-changing road trip. Kidd Kraddick had hired me from what felt like the middle of nowhere for a job in the big city of Dallas — a magical, mystical place where I fully expected to encounter JR Ewing and random Dallas Cowboys on a daily basis. I didn’t realize at the time that I was being hired by the biggest celebrity in the business, which is part of the reason why Kidd hired me.
I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I slowly began to realize who Kidd Kraddick was and what all of this meant. Within 3 months of my big move, I found myself in therapy with a woman who insisted everything would be better if I would just take this baseball bat and whoop up on that pillow. But I found more comfort lying in the coolness of my bed, staring at the ceiling fan all weekend. Through my ceiling fan therapy, I quickly managed to get over the BIGNESS what had happened to me and I just started enjoying it. All of it.
The happiest memories I have of being on this show are from those first few years. We hung out every day after the show — driving around town singing the Human League at the top of our lungs while looking for the dirtiest dive restaurants for a mystery lunch. We risked all sorts of gastrointestinal distress, all in the name of adventure! Those were the glory days — and they were all with Kidd. All of my glorious days have been thanks to Kidd.
Kidd saw something in me I wasn’t able to see in myself. And he’s the only reason I’m still here 20 years later. It’s just so bittersweet that he’s not here to share it with me.
These last few years, whenever we’d get into one of our infamous little tiffs, I’d tell Kidd, “Just get me to 20 years and then I’m out of here!!” Of course, I didn’t mean it….or maybe I did….I could get really mad at Kidd sometimes. But anyway, now I’m here at the 20 year mark and the man who is responsible for every single glorious, adventurous, aggravating, emotional second of it isn’t here to celebrate it with me.
This past week, I found myself wondering what Kidd would’ve done to mark the occasion. Would he have thrown me a dinner party and insist on serving me his infamous flank steak? Would he write a song for me like he did when I was about to give birth to Emma Kelly? Would he try to take me shopping again at some fancy store that would cause me to break out in hives and leave me in tears in the dressing room? I’ll never know, and it makes me very sad to not have him here to find out. But I hope he’d be proud of me for how far I’ve come in 20 years. At my core, I’d like to think I’m still that same small-town girl from SC who became a woman who does better because she knows better.
There is absolutely no way of knowing what the next 20 years holds for me, but the past 20 have been a blast. Thank you to everyone who’s been here for all of it or for any part of it. Cheers to our future!