Two Sparrows in a Hurricane

It’s fair time in South Dakota, bringing entertainment for all with singers like Emily Osment and Josh Turner gracing the smallish town of Mitchell. Country Man and I saw him a few years ago, back in our dating days. To say it was a test of my love for him is an understatement, as Turner is as handsome as he is a good singer.

Weeks before the Corn Palace Festival began, my husband called to say Loretta Lynn was coming and why don’t I grab us a few tickets?

So I did, and gladly paid the $35 per ticket to see a country legend in action. It wasn’t but a few days later that Country Man called again, saying Loretta Lynn has come down with something, and a new act would replace her.

If you haven’t guessed by the title of this post, the replacement act was Tanya Tucker.

Now, now I was completely stoked.

Tanya Tucker

Click image for source.

Growing up, I listened to some country here and there but most of it was Dave Mathews and the like. I connected with Tanya Tucker’s music right away.  And Dolly, of course.

The day of her concert was a hot one, and the fair commencement was pushed back because the carnival workers would have dropped like flies in the heat.

South Dakota Mitchell Fair
South Dakota car
We walked into a store along the street, buying Country Man some new Wranglers (he goes through a pair like nobody’s business). We headed toward the Corn Palace to take our seats. As I looked around, I noticed we were one of the few “young” couples among the crowd. Elderly couples migrated from all around, the men in their button up shirts and hair slicked over, their wives with red lipstick and sparkly belts. They were looking good.

My husband ran his new jeans back to the pickup, and on his return passed a slow moving veteran. The man laughed to him, saying I can’t move as fast you do anymore! He proceeded to talk to my husband, calling Loretta Lynn a sellout and that Tanya Tucker’s the real talent. But you wanna know who the real hero is, he asked? Joe Foss. Now that man is a hero.

South Dakota Corn Palace

South dakota corn palace
We took our seats and waited, eating walking tacos and watching the stadium fill. My husband sat next to a man with silver hair, and after looking around saw most of the hair was silver. But it was the ones with silver hair who were dancing freely to the music in a country western fashion, husbands with arms around wife’s waist.

Tanya Tucker came out on stage and fans clapped with calm anticipation. Her performance was beautiful, and her enthusiasm did not tell she’s been in this business for forty years. Tucker shared stories about her songs, her spotlight journey, her public mistakes. She talked about grace and new beginnings, the chance to make wrong done’s right.

South Dakota Tanya Tucker
She’s a woman who has been there, been around, been up and been down. I listened a little closer to the words she sang. Country Man was partial to Strong Enough to Bend and I smiled through Love Me Like You Used To

South Dakota Tanya Tucker
It seems country singers begin in small towns and finish in small towns.

And life on the farm is good.


35 thoughts on “Two Sparrows in a Hurricane

  1. Sounds like a fantastic time! I remember driving by dozens of billboards on I-90W for the Corn Palace and thinking to myself “What the HECK is a corn palace?!” Now I know…

    And Josh Turner… goodness, that man is awesome.

  2. It was around 1974 when I bought my first Tanya Tucker album. Delta Dawn. I was living in Southern California and found it in a used record store for 25 cents. She was 14 when she recorded it. Years later- maybe 1999 or 2000- I saw her at a county fair. She had disappeared for awhile but was in great voice and had a great outlook and attitude. She would have been in her 40’s then and had a great voice and lots of energy. And she was gorgeous. She always will be.

  3. Sounds like you had a great time! I’m glad you posted the pics of the Corn Palace. I went there once with my family when I was very little, and I’d forgotten all about it until now!

  4. My favorite of her’s has to be “Delta Dawn” … “She walks downtown with a suitcase in her haaaaaand … lookin’ for a mysterious dark haired mayan.”

    To my prairie ears her twang sounded like the kind of song I wanted to sing along to .. and did.

    Wonderful pictures!! Love those old Theater buildings … gorgeous detail.


  5. Josh Turner, easy on the ears as well as the eyes! Glad you enjoyed the concert even if Miss Loretta couldn’t make it. Amazing to listen to the stories of ones that have been there a while and have made it through! Prayers for her to continue her career, doing what she loves and entertaining the masses.

  6. There is nothing like seeing a performer you love LIVE. Funny, reading this I kept thinking. As I age I see to have more, not less in common with the generations preceding me. And in fact, I enjoy their company far more than some of my own peers!

    • I agree – a friend of mine refers to the older folks (my grandparents age) as the forgotten generation. Before we went to the concert, my husband wanted to stop and see an older (late 70s) widowed, bowhunting (expert) friend of his. He hadn’t been feeling good lately and was sitting alone in the house, watching TV. We brought him some garden veggies, and sat down for a visit. He didn’t want us to leave, you could tell, but he let us go with a new toaster, knife set, coffee pot, and small heater he had up in his attic. We’ll probably just give the stuff away, since we don’t need it and he wouldn’t take no for an answer. My husband wished him good health as we were getting into the pickup, and he smiled, saying “I feel so much better now that you were here!” He later emailed my husband some elk photos, along with a note saying how happy he was we visited. A little time goes a long way.

      Good to see ya!

  7. Kate from Sweet Ridge Sisters here…I love this comment directly above about a little time going a long way. That is something I learned from my father, who has always been generous with his time to many people, including lots of older people. It is a wonderful thing to be open to giving your time for conversation, dropping off fresh produce, etc. How great of you guys. I was totally excited to see the Corn Palace, which I have heard of since I was little. I am so glad you guys got to see that show, and your post was wonderful. You do such an amazing job of telling the story and illustrating it. Thank you!

    • Thanks, Kate! Always good to see you. I love how you describe your father, because I think how we treat those who can do nothing for us is a big testimony to our faith. He sounds like a man of great character.

      The concert was so much fun – she sounds as good now as she did when she began!

  8. Hi…saw you stopped by my blog so I thought I’d check yours out…loving it…must say I love Tanya Tucker too….I don’t think I have once listened to “Two Sparrows” without tearing up…and at certain times of the month it has triggered full blown bawling…enjoying looking at your photography. South Dakota looks beautiful….

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