20210530: Bridal Show Year Three

Last year for us.

By year three, I had befriended Leigh Barnes, who owned the Memphis Bridal Gallery. She was the undisputed queen of “bridal and fluff” and a penultimate go-to source for about a 200 mile radius. I learned a great deal from her, and she was funny/bright/professional/self-deprecating….. I liked her. She was kind enough to lend us gowns and participate in our shows…. this was the year she asked me to participate in her show. Of course, I agreed.

Leigh’s show was in a convention center of a large hotel- the big leagues. I also helped her on the back end of planning. Everything we did in prior years….???….. add a couple of zeros to the numbers. The space was enormous, with an 80′ runway, T-shape and seating for about 1200 for a fashion show. Our little B&B had a 20’x20′ display space at the entry to the fashion show area….. with corridors extending right and left for about 300 vendors.

I worked so much with Leigh planning the big convention space, I kind of ignored what WE would do. I never was a girly-girl and the fluff was hard for me. At the last minute, I decided. Since we were a B&B, I would simple “MOVE A BEDROOM” to the display space. Made sense, right? I mean, at least I would have a place to sit down.

So I called the guys in and we rented a U-Haul Truck……. packing up all the furniture for one of our best rooms…. I packed a television as well, we rigged the video-tape, Rob from ABC News had given to me, on an auto loop, which would show our best coverage. We packed a huge bed and expensive linen, armoire, step down vanity, end tables, chaise lounge, etc. We brought a little table and chairs, china/crystal/sterling to simulate a breakfast. Oriental rugs, oil paintings, room dividers, panels with good damask wallpaper, we were rocking. A couple of girlfriends, loaded with brochures and our master booking calendar, and our Navy vet guys to move things. Yeah, I packed everything I could think of and double/triple checked the list.

But the U-Haul truck in the driveway caused quite a stir in town. People thought “Daughn was leaving” or “They’re getting a divorce” and “She’ moving out” and “What’s gonna happen NOW” and “What are we going to do?”……. People get such crazy ideas in their heads.

Off we went to Memphis.

I talked to more women that day than I have any other day in my life. I wondered how many gallons of hair spray had been used in honor of the event. My face hurt from smiling…….

…… but I’ll admit it….. when the lights went down….. I heard strains of a song I had not heard in at least 20yrs…., it was familiar….., but it was fresh and NEW, ….but it was LOUD and an updated remix of the song, and I was irresistibly drawn into the show, the big convention space and the show began, I was standing at the back of the center aisle, at the end of the runway…. The atmosphere was electric. Besides a few security guards, I was the only one standing up and barely 40′ from the end of the T-shaped runway. I could feel the goosebumps rise on my arms….

Sure, I’ve been to concerts before, big ones and small ones, but this was different.

The song was a perfect choice. Familiar to all the moms in the arena who had posters of David Cassidy in their bedrooms when they were kids…… yet, fresh and new, loud and with an emphasis on the bass line, designed to appeal to the DAUGHTERS….

Leigh Barnes hit a home run… It was a masterful stroke.

We spent the rest of the day mixing and milling about….

We helped many vendors “load out” (pack up) and made friends.

We finally got on the road for home at about 2:00am. We loaded the U-Haul and it left, but I was saying my goodbyes which meant the U-Haul was about 5 minutes ahead of us. Girlfriends were long gone. It was just Brian, my beloved Navy vet and me in the mini-van when we circled around “Malfunction Junction”, the great crossroads of America where major interstates meet. We were making the turn to drive south, and head back to Mississippi.

At the entrance to the junction, the car sputtered. “What was that?”, I said. Brian replied, “I don’t know…” We made it up the entrance ramp but just barely. The car merged and seemed to be better when we leveled out. I was beginning to relax again when Brian said, “We’re out of gas….”

….. and so

We coasted to the next exit, Brooks Road….., notorious in Memphis as a bad neighborhood. It’s the home of trucking and distribution warehouses, but also home to hookers walking the streets, drugs, gangs, and strip joints. At the very bottom of the exit, we rolled into a Phillips 66 station but could not make it to the pumps. Thank GOD the place was still open. Brian told me to put the car in neutral and he pushed it to the pump. We gassed up again and finally made it home. Rather befitting for us to leave the land of make-believe/hair spray/diamonds and pearls ——- to end up on skid row. Thank heaven Brian was with me. What would I hae done, alone?

No more Bridal Shows for us…..

We were already as established as we could be. We made the cover of Mississippi Magazine. We made the cover of the Memphis Visitors guide, twice in the past couple of years… Our local press was good. We had the great relationship with ABC. I was elected VP of our trade association. Nothing more an angel could do.

It was time for me to go home and make breakfast….., which was fine with me.



2 thoughts on “20210530: Bridal Show Year Three

  1. Love the trio of memories, Daughn 💖💖💖 And I love you, too, my dear friend. You make our lives sparkle just because you are you đŸ„°đŸ„°đŸ„°đŸ„°đŸ„°

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