Naomi Judd has to be one of my most memorable and favorite Famous Feather stories. Soon, you'll understand why I chose her to be my first Famous Feather post. The two of us had such a brief interaction but I was dazzled by her grace through something that *ahem* was not at all graceful.
In the fall of 1994, I had the privilege of attending the SILENT FALL movie premiere in Nashville, Tennessee. Wynonna Judd had released a song with Michael English called "Healing" that was part of the original movie soundtrack. Wynonna was pregnant with her first child and her pregnancy was probably the main reason her mom, Naomi Judd was with her.
We enjoyed a Curb Records hosted dinner, (I've forgotten where it was) but I remember it felt exclusive because there were not many attendees. After dinner, we rode in a chartered bus to the Belcourt Theater for the premiere. Several people in the lobby were mingling and getting last minute drinks before going into the theater to be seated. It was the perfect time to excuse myself to the ladies' room.
It was a small restroom with dim lighting and only two or three stalls. I went to the second stall and proceeded to do what I needed to do. I heard another lady come into the bathroom. I listened to the heel clicks on the tile and the sound of the lock on the door and determined she chose the first stall. I finished, flushed, then opened my door and walked to the sink so I could wash my hands. I decided to apply some lipstick too since I was at the mirror. As I was looking through my purse to find my makeup kit, I noticed a standard household plunger tucked between the sink and the wall of the first stall. I thought it was odd. One, because it was a basic plunger, not an industrial style you would expect from a public restroom. Two, this was a nice ladies' room at a classy theater in downtown Nashville so why would a plunger be setting out in plain view? My questions were answered as quickly as I thought of them.
The lady in the first stall called out "Oh! Oh!" Then I heard the sound of swishing water from a toilet in a continual mode of flushing. The stall door banged open and there stood Naomi Judd. She chuckled and said, "I've got a mess in here." Her eyes moved over the small bathroom looking for some remedy to the messy situation. The surreal image of her standing there held me captive. Seeing her in that off-white dress with an antique looking brooch at the center of her neckline anchored me to the floor. For the longest moment in the history of crazy bathroom experiences, I stared at her as she reached past me and picked up the plunger. She opened the first stall door with true grit and shoved the plunger into the noisy swirling commode. I took a few steps behind her and held the stall door open to keep it from banging shut. I was standing there like a useless idiot, watching her do the most basic of plumbing work.
I realized what was happening and decided that Naomi Judd was too classy of a lady to be plunging a toilet in her probably very expensive heels and creamy, white outfit. I stuttered and said "Naomi, please let me do that for you," hoping my voice was loud enough so she could hear over the gurgling water and praying she didn't notice that I was unrefined by calling her by her first name without proper introduction. At that moment, the regurgitating toilet gave one last watery belch and then quieted into a simple, necessary flush. She turned and looked at me and smiled. Not at all alarmed that some lady was holding the door open to her bathroom stall. Then Naomi Judd said something that I will never, ever forget. "Honey, I've plunged a toilet at home so I can do it here." What grace she had!
She moved out of the stall as I held the door open. She set the plunger back down on the floor where she found it. She washed her hands, dried them off and walked out into the lobby. I stood there motionless, staring at the door as it closed behind her. Did this really happen? Naomi Judd just fixed a toilet and I was a witness. She was completely human and I'm an even bigger fan of hers now.
If I had a Famous Feather Second Chance:
Naomi, You are remarkable. You have had an impressive career and raised two amazing girls talented in their own rights. My mother was a Operating Room Nurse for many decades so we have a special love for nurses in our family. My favorite Judd song is "I know where I'm going" even though I don't. But, I'm quite sure my plan is not nearly as awesome as God's. Thank you for using *your* God given talent and remaining humble even with your celebrity status. Best wishes on your Las Vegas shows with Wynonna!