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FROM SOLO JITTERS TO DREAMS OF FARMING
"I FEEL REAL PLUGGKD IN, REAL grounded, even though life is totally chaotic," says Wynonna, now on the sunny side of two grueling years of transition. First came the yearlong 1991 Judds Farewell Tour marking the retirement of her mother, Naomi, now 47, due to chronic hepatitis. "It was like orchestrating someone's funeral," Wynonna says. "Every day we were saying goodbye. Then last year was Survival Year." Touring solo, "I'd wake up on the tour bus alone, thinking, 'What's gonna happen to me?' Here's why: My mother started this family business back in 1982, and she was the boss. We built up one of the best road crews in the history of country music, and she ran everything. How could I possibly live up to her standards? I worried more about stuff like, 'Are people gonna quit?' than about whether I was going to have a No. 1 hit. It's amazing how many decisions there are.
"When I was growing up, Mom gave me a real strong sense of where I came from. There are a lot of strong Judd women, all the way back to my great-great-grandmother. My mom's writing her autobiography now, and it's helping me understand why I am the way I am. And you know what I am? A farmer. I just bought a farm, and that's really my goal someday, to take six months off and just go plant."
Naomi's health, Wynonna says, "is stabilized. We see lots of each other. She leaves funny messages on my machine. She hums 'Jesus Loves Me' and hangs up. She can live a pretty normal life, but she has to really stay away from stress. Which helps me, you know, keep my nose clean."
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