Something Else! Featured Artist: Loretta Lynn

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NICK DERISO: Within moments, people surrounded the bus at the Shoney’s parking lot in West Monroe, Louisiana. See, it had the name Loretta Lynn painted on the side.

Restaurant manager Rose Searcy was one of them: “When they pulled up, I ran over and told (the driver) that if he could get her off the bus, I’d buy her breakfast,” she says.

The Shoney’s staff, and other less adventurous patrons, kept glued to the windows, too, waiting to see if Lynn would emerge.

“Everybody wanted to meet her,” says waitress Cherri Lowrey, “but she wouldn’t come out.”

Nope, she sure wouldn’t. But not because this self-proclaimed coal miner’s daughter has become highfalutin’.

“Sorry,” the driver peeked out and told Searcy, “She’s got no makeup on. You know how you women are.”

Lynn was traveling through town on her way to Bossier City, where she was set to perform at an invitation-only event at a local casino.

Employees were eventually able to coax Lynn’s twin daughters into the packed breakfast place – and yes, pictures were taken.

The sisters followed their mom’s path, performing as a country-music duo. But no, the younger Lynns didn’t have any makeup on, either.

“They said, ‘Our career is over if anyone sees these pictures,'” Searcy says.

Meanwhile, the Shoney’s phone was ringing off the hook. “People were calling and calling – asking, ‘Is she in there?'” Searcy says.

Lowrey, a waitress serving eggs and bacon at a nearby station, took the pictures of Searcy and the girls.

“They were nice. But they seemed like they were shy,” Lowrey says – allowing as how the makeup thing might have been the reason why.

You won’t find Lowrey barefaced in front of the camera, either. “Oh, no,” she says, quickly. “Not unless I’m fixed up.”

Funny thing is, Lynn’s signature bio-film, “A Coal Miner’s Daughter,” had only recently aired on local cable. “All my help’s going, ‘We just saw her last night,'” Searcy says.

Throughout, Lynn stayed put.

“We talked to the driver for a while,” Searcy says. “He said she was the nicest person you’ll ever meet – and that if she got out, she’d be signing autographs all day.”

Standing in the packed parking lot, Searcy realized her store had gotten a boost from the morning’s hubbub, anyway.

“I told the driver,” she says, “‘You don’t know how much I appreciate this. People will be talking about this for days.'”

Searcy pauses. “I just wish,” she says, “I could have gotten her out.”

Purchase: Loretta Lynn – The Definitive Collection (2005)

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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