Courtney T. Ball

Lorde Visits the Hairy Nation

My brother Chris told me a fun story today.

First, a little background. Chris lives in Bloomfield, Iowa, a small county seat roughly twenty miles from the Missouri border. Several years back he read an old book about Bloomfield called The Rise and Progress of Civilization in the Hairy Nation. Not long after that, a woman he knew named Nancy Clancy decided to open an antique shop. Chris and his friend Doug convinced her she should call it Hairy Nation Antiques.

Hairy Nation Antiques sits on the main drag of Highway 63 as it runs through the Bloomfield square, just across from the courthouse. The other day Nancy had a young woman walk into her store who she guessed was an out-of-towner. After hearing the story from Chris, I called up Nancy to get the scoop.

“She was beautiful, and she had this long, dark hair with neon-blue highlights. She also had on these glasses unlike anything I’ve seen before. One side was green, and it went up like a giant pointed wing, but the other side was red and it pointed down.”

Nancy didn’t know who her patron was, but she had a “Britishy” accent, and as she spent roughly a half-hour looking through the store with her friend, Nancy picked up on a bit of their conversation. They were glad to be off the bus stretching their legs. They took the bus because the young woman hated to fly. She bought a funky hat and several handheld cardboard fans covered in Art Deco images. “Real heavy Art Deco with bright colors; almost like something from the late 60s that someone on acid would have created,” Nancy said. “Wonderful stuff.”

When the young woman approached the counter, she asked Nancy if she thought the images were old enough that they could be used freely, because she might want to use them on one of her album covers. Nancy assured her they were.

It wasn’t until Nancy helped her carry her things outside and saw her beautiful tour bus that she realized this might be a famous person. When she paid for her goods, “her name didn’t ring a bell” for Nancy.

“I never would have recognized her anyway, because you just don’t expect famous people to walk into your shop here. The only other time I’ve seen anyone famous was when the Oakridge Boys were playing at the Old Settlers Reunion nearby and they stopped at my garage sale. I recognized them because of their boots. Everything else they had on was normal, but their boots were way over the top. ‘Those aren’t Iowa boots,’ I said to myself.”

It turns out her customer’s name was Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor, better known by her stage name, “Lorde”. For those of you unfamiliar with her music, Lorde is huge. She’s the youngest artist in over twenty-five years, and the first solo artist ever from New Zealand, to top the US Hot 100. The song that rocketed her to stardom is “Royals”. It’s one of my daughter Aidyn’s favorites. She has it memorized and sings it all the time. Aidyn will be quite jealous of Nancy Clancy when she hears this story.

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Courtney Ball

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