I had a date with my son last weekend. My “Baby” and I went to Brooks and Dunn’s concert in Little Rock – The Last Rodeo. Brooks and Dunn hit the top of the charts when Roger really was little more than a baby. He was only 5 years old when “Brand New Man” and “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” hit #1. I wanted to go to a Brooks and Dunn concert way back then, but I was busy raising a family. I had two opportunities over the years to see the dynamic duo, but life got in the way. Fast forward to 2010. My “Baby” is 24, and Brooks and Dunn are riding in their last rodeo.
Raising children is a bit like a rodeo. You feed them and pet them when they are little. When they become teenagers, they are like broncs and bulls that are constantly bucking against you, if not bucking you completely off, as they struggle to find their own way in the world. Sometimes adolescents see their parents as a rider with spurs who is trying to tame the spirit right out of them. I suppose, in some ways, we are. I never wanted my children to lose their spirit, but I would have tamed them if I could. They grow up and mellow out. When they do, it is time for them to go to pasture and live a rich and full life. One at a time, the children leave the rodeo. The truth is that Roger reached that pasture stage some time ago, but we never have really recognized it.
On the way to the concert, Roger commented, “I can’t believe you are letting me drive your truck!” He made a valid point there. I know he drives big trucks sometimes – in some scary situations that I do not want to know about. I know he has driven in the city. Still, I am not comfortable in an automobile to begin with. If I HAVE to be in one, I prefer to be the driver, and my optimum speed is 45-50 miles per hour.
Roger was driving on the interstate and in some pretty bad traffic when he made that statement. It is really an innocent enough statement, but it is the one that made me realize that my Baby is now a MAN. Of course, he has been for a while now. After all, he is a mighty fine father in his own right. My mind knew he was all grown up, but in my heart, Roger was still a baby. He has seen his last rodeo as a buck and will be at pasture until he gets to ride the ride with his own children.
The Last Rodeo concert was awesome and well worth the 19 year wait. Miranda Lambert opened with an energizing show. Of course, she made me cry when she sang “The House That Built Me.” That song speaks to
my soul, but that is another blog for another day. Miranda’s music invokes a full range of emotions from sweet to sad and struggle to strong. Isn’t that exactly what Brooks & Dunn’s music represents? She was the perfect opening act.
I expected Brooks and Dunn to begin with their earliest hits and bring us up to the latest. I told Roger that their last song would be one of my favorites, “You’re Gonna Miss Me.” I was surprised when that was one of the first songs they sang. I revised my prediction to their last song would be “Brand New Man” because it seemed like they were going in reverse. I wasn’t quite right about that one either. That was the first encore. A lot of songs made me laugh, smile, and cry along the way. “Believe” and “Red Dirt Road” remind me of who I am and what is important, and they make me cry. “Play Something Country” makes me want to howl and stomp around. “Husbands and Wives,” “Brand New Man,” and “My Maria” bring back fond memories for a variety of reasons.
Oh yeah, and in addition to the music, Kix Brooks is the hottest thang since melted butter!
The end of the night was bittersweet, as they ended the night with “Boot Scootin Boogie.” Roger did not get it because it is just a song. He was 5 when that song exploded in country music. He did not know that it was more than a song. It was iconic. It became a dance. People sang it all the time. The personal ads in the newspapers was full of folks wanting to learn how to boot scoot and others giving boot scootin lessons. People started buying boots and wearing them to the clubs. For my generation, “Boot Scootin Boogie” was a rodeo in itself, but it had been to pasture for a long time when Roger began to enjoy music. For Roger, it is just a song.
The Last Rodeo ended with a bittersweet note. I did not mind getting bucked this time. It was a great ride.
And the rodeo is reborn in this little bronco . . .