Dorni Taylor’s BIO for ‘Buck Snort Holler’ Show
I am of the demure, wise age of 54, and only admit it, because I do not look anywhere near it. My name is Dorni, the name given me by my loving grandmother. Not that my mother was less loving, but Granny was the Matriarch, all 4’ 10” inches of her. She always wore long skirts, kept a monogrammed hanky in her pocket, wore beautiful blouses and liked to wear a lacy shawl around her shoulders, summer or winter.
If you can picture a cultured, slim, dignified lady, with long silver hair put up in an elegant bun, very religious, but with the demeanour of ‘Granny from the Beverley Hillbillies,’ you have her to a tee! She secretly drank a regular tot of whiskey, smoked the odd cigar, and just as secretly, bet daily on the horses! I was fascinated and learned the horse that would win, would be the one who urinated whilst walking around the inspection ring, before a race! But, not the one who urinated on the way to the starting gate, for that one would be too nervous.
By contrast, my grandfather was 6’4” but also highly dignified, with thick silver hair swept back and a strong face with huge shoulders, coming from a wealthy background, also. We called him Papa, and he pretended to be the ‘Master of the House.' Sometimes, Granny would even let him get away with it. We lived in a highly desirable locale of London, and had domestic staff to look after us all, including my father’s siblings. But, like many of my kind, as I grew up I rebelled against the unfair privileges and advantages enjoyed by the wealthy, only to run off at seventeen years of age, to prove I could manage successfully on my own. I came back beaten to a pulp by life and was only away for a month!
I grew up, begrudgingly accepting every privilege given me, receiving home tutoring but then, instead of studying to become a doctor, opted for nursing training instead. It was not easy making my family understand I preferred the hands-on approach. I wanted the bonding only made possible with patients, when being a nurse. The nursing only lasted a short while, as I was beaten to a pulp again, by the emotional trauma, hard, strenuous work and total dedication necessary for such a vocation. Then to my families chagrin, I found myself in show business. Now to them, an entertainer is akin to being a ‘court jester,’ and I had now shamed the family name, big time. But, this kind of work came easily to me and I loved and it!
I became a theatre actress, loved being in pantomime and performing in musicals, where it was discovered I could sing! This surprised me as much as my family and they begrudgingly, felt a little proud of me. I then performed in most genres of bands, having reasonable success in the UK. But, the business there is too cut throat, no manager can be trusted, and mine ran off with all my earnings! I was beaten to a pulp again by life and actually, for the first time, considered becoming the wife of a millionaire! How sad that I needed to steep this low, when I had such high hopes for my independence! But, even that did not work out, as the wealthy man I chose out of the arrogant bunch my family knew, not only bored me to death, but put detectives on me to check I was behaving myself when not in his company! Talk about that song; ‘Lying Eyes,’ I related to that 100%
I managed to escape those trappings and went back into show business, but this time, I refused a manager. I again intended becoming more successful on my own, without allowing others to help me too much. I became popular, but each band started out well, only to have uncommitted members not turning up for rehearsals. I was tired of people in the audience asking me why I was with such a terrible band, especially, when they could see I had ‘star quality.’ I had no idea what they meant, as I thought it was me who was singing off-key, until I found out it was my musicians who were playing in any key they felt like! But, they were the best I could find at the time.
Then, before life could beat me to a pulp again, I auditioned and was accepted by a really great band. Ex-names, meaning, they had been in the top of the UK charts. My fame spread and we made records and gigged extensively. Now, I was rated as a blues/rock singer in the UK, and my family who once said I sounded like someone with bad stomach ache when I sang the blues, thought differently now. They were proud at last and the ‘court jester’ tag was laid to rest.
The manager was also one of the band musicians and we toured a few states in America, where they seemed to prefer me to talk, rather than sing, as they loved my British accent! But, I was happy and loved America and its out-going people with all their cheering and appreciation of our performances. They made a wonderful change from most of the boring English, who would only tap their feet and sometimes, only bother to tap one foot to the beat of our songs! The USA audiences were much warmer and I preferred the family type audiences to the ‘head bangers,’ who now were more prevalent in the audiences we have back in England.
When back in my home country, I played in resident bands in hotels, and upscale clubs. This meant those who had seen me when I toured, were able to find me easily, when they visited London. The owner of one of these clubs had a friend, called David, who was also an owner of a club/restaurant, in America. Soon it was arranged for me to end my next short tour there, in Memphis, with my musicians and become the resident band in David’s club, playing classic rock, southern rock and blues.
We were widely known as; ‘The Blues Mama and the Boogie Band,’ enjoying reasonable fame and popularity, with more recognition this time around. Memphis is a great place, especially for blues/rock performers, but it was dangerous in some parts of the city. I was stalked often too. However, I was only too pleased to practise my karate and many were left with black eyes, and those men had not previously been of colour.
I enjoyed America so much, decided to stay and ended up marrying David. I continued to perform with my band, even throughout my pregnancy, and performing again, a few months after the birth of our daughter. We had a reliable, nanny to help out, and around 14 months later, our second daughter was born. Although our lifestyle was enjoyable, it became too demanding, with not enough quality time spent together as a family. We became worried about raising our children in a place, where robberies and murders were a regular occurrence.
We then sold the club and moved to a small town in the country with the oddest name ever of, ‘Buck Snort Holler,.’ We hoped this would be far safer to raise our, 'sproglets,' or, as they call them here, kids, or varmints. My wild past, taught me how dangerous cities are for children and of how much commitment it took in keeping a close eye on them, especially, when they become teenagers. This is why I wanted out of Memphis. Also, I was now 35 years, David 37 years, and it was time for us to have real friends and put our roots down, whilst still having time for those roots to grow and flourish.
David and I were financially secure enough to take our time looking for a new business investment. It was difficult acclimatizing to ‘the sticks,’ with no large stores or many small ones either, not to mention a distinct lack of boutiques and music stores! Nor did we have the choice of the merchandise we were used to. And it was quiet….. far too quiet. We heard no police sirens, or sound of cars travelling nearby and we could not see lights from other houses, or hear life in general being lived. At these times, it felt as if we were the only inhabitants on the planet.
But, the nights…………Oh, those scary nights!
That ghastly, spooky quiet at night, allowed us to hear noises we had never heard before, breeze rustling the leaves of our nearby trees just outside the window, of coyotes, crickets, cicadas, frogs, all in a supernatural cacophony with murderous intent. Similar to the night sounds in the horror movies. These are the sounds heard in a dark, isolated house, before the huge, deformed, mad-eyed, sweating, grunting wild-man creeps in, to hack the family to bits with his huge bloody axe.
At first, my imagination and the unfamiliar creature noises, prevented sleep. I would nudge David awake, asking if he heard the floorboards move, or the noise of a window opening. With my heart in my mouth, I did my many times a night, guard duty, with my heart in my mouth, checking on the kids to make sure no ‘axe monster’ was in their rooms. I was armed with pepper spray, and as the monster could have eyes in a different place on his face, I did not feel that confident. After weeks of enduring this extreme nervousness, eventually the noises became less apparent and it only took an hour or so, instead of hours, to drop off to sleep.
It did not take too long before we relished the privacy of the open spaces, and took trips out when we needed specialised shopping. Both of our children became good friends with the two children of a fine couple living nearest to us, called Ralph and his wife, Regina. We were sad to find that she had suffered from an undiagnosed illness for years, with doctors unable to offer a cure.
Regina took it all in her stride and was a sweet, brave woman. Ralph doted on her. Consequently, David and I became friendly with these likable parents and we all discussed going into business together. For them it was; a ‘bait & tackle, sporting goods store & on our side, of a hardware business, of all things! But, I always liked all that practical stuff, and David had been a good teacher, showing me how to repair some parts of our home and even to maintain our cars. We liked to repair most things together.
My first, ‘Buck Snort Holler’ friend, Betty Jo, is still as loyal as ever. She was more accepting than anyone else, having known how it felt to be considered 'odd,' even if she did laugh uncontrollably, at the difference between her accent and mine! My tattoos seemed too much for the townsfolk at first though. The tattoos depict the tools of my performing trade. I have a hand with red painted fingernails, holding a microphone and a tattoo of a guitar on the other forearm. They also thought it strange I learned karate in the past and still loved working out with heavy weights, although my aim was for strength rather than shape, or fitness. Nothing namby-pamby about me, even if I look very female!
My unusual looks and way of dressing also caused suspicion, as women imagined I could only be interested in teasing and stealing their men! Not to mention their horror at my not baking cakes, liking to cook, or wear an apron! Horrors of horrors, an apron would ruin this slinky shape I have worked hard for and kept all this time! Agreed, I am no spring chicken, but the meat is still fresh! I can still give anyone a run for their money! In show-business that is, not in matters of the flesh, I have always been too much of a lady, often called a ‘prude’ by the entertainment people. I only like being around decent folk. A bit of a snob, maybe, but I have a heart when it counts.
Betty Jo soon introduced me to friends who understood I was not the arrogant, self-centred person I appear to be. I love helping people to get better, whether emotionally, or in practical terms. I became a Christian, insomuch as I liked all the Christian ways, and wanted to join in with the townsfolk. Gospel songs are fun to sing, especially when I get to play guitar onstage with Betty Jo, TJ and with Betty Jo's family band, for fun, barn dances and special occasions.
After settling in Buck Snort Holler, Ralph and Regina, became closer friends with both of our sets of ‘sproglets’ growing up together, and our ‘family’ businesses began to thrive. When the kids grew up, and moved to neighbouring states both of us couples down-sized, and added apartments on either side of the shop, for convenience.
Regina, grew sicker, so I helped out as much as possible, but she died leaving a grief stricken husband who was inconsolable for years. Just as Ralph was coming to terms with his loss, David died, in a tractor accident. Trust him to try and be countrified, he was useless at it! The first time he mowed a few acres, he had been reaching down to pick up a bit of chocolate he had dropped, and slipped sideways, straight under the wheels of the John Deere. Just like that! One minute, happily chomping and the next, being chomped on! Well, now it was Ralph’s turn to console me, and just like his children had done, mine were also too busy to want to be around their distressed, bereaved parent for long. Ralph was a good friend, although we bickered about most things, usually in a good natured way.
Important decisions are easily compromised upon, but the petty little things, well, they make us both act petty! Ralph is like a ‘know-it-all’ brother who competes with me most of the time. As I never had a brother before, I would have appreciated a more modest one! But, Ralph is a loyal friend, and we work well together in the store. Sometimes, I hate to stand by, while he is staggering around with those heavy boxes. We women have to consider a man’s ego, but I have to consider his back, also. So, I move the heavy boxes when he is not around, and he thinks someone must have helped me. Bless him!
Since my husband David’s death, Ralph felt a duty to look out for me, when really; it is the other way around. I much prefer being handy with tools and fixing things, than flower arranging, or being proud of a newly baked pie! My kind of pies, have to be scraped off the baking trays, and even from the insides of the oven.
The other problem some have with me is that I cannot help but speak my mind, and my assertive nature has been likened to that of a man. Most men, especially Ralph, call strong-minded women like me …. ‘Aggressive!’ That is when I want to go against my true, gentle nature and prove them correct by punching them on their big, fat noses!
Neither Ralph, nor I have any sexual chemistry, but when the wrong potential person has shown an interest in me, (and there have been four which come to mind) Ralph makes it known to me, not even discreetly, that they could be serial killers! (He has obviously watched too much telly) Ralph, firmly believes, no man worth his salt is going to want a wife who cannot, or will not cook! Or, when she does, needs to buy a new cooker as well as replacing the pans! Ralph always adds that men like to fix their own vehicles too! Then I remind him, if he could fix his vehicle, I would not have to do it for him. How we have managed to stay friends, I will never know, but Betty Jo, helps us sort it out and all is soon well again. But, just let anyone try to hurt Ralph, or Betty Jo!
Betty Jo went through an ordeal when her husband, Lloyd, left and then got himself killed, Buck Snort Holler’s very kind mayor, TJ and I, were her major support. Although there is an age difference and not THAT obvious, thank you, Betty Jo and I shop for similar clothes and make up. We are like sisters and I love her modest way of looking at her own talents, and the natural and self-confident way she handles herself. In fact, I like many of the residents of Buck Snort Holler……..
Donni De-Ville – (Also, Dorni) Compiled - August 31st 2009
Copyright August 2009 Donni-Jay De-Ville
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without permission from the author