Monday, November 19, 2012

35 Years and (Grace) Holding

She said tell Timmy 'hello'. His old girl-friend, my college years friend, reacquainted on facebook.

What do you want me to tell her back? I asked my husband, half-asleep, his head on the pillow.

Grunt. Lights out.

When you've been married this long,  you learn not to take grunts personally. Nor does the grunt mean an answer isn't arriving in the morning.

What a great epicurean experience we had that evening! From Szechuan calamari appetizers to decadent ice cream sandwich squares, rolled in nuts and chocolate chips,  dipped in vanilla sauce, celebrating our 35th anniversary. This kind of 'heavy partying' after a long day at church was about all we could take before rolling over to sleep. 

The next day in the car the answer came.

 I don't know why these beautiful conversations take place in the uninspiring setting of an auto. I drive a plain minivan, for Pete's sake.

It would have been so much more romantic said the balmy night before, by the patio fire pit, under the sparkling Florida stars, at Fort Lauderdale's ultra-trendy restaurant: YOLO. That's the name, You Only Live Once.

Now that I think about it, my husband proposed to me in a station wagon!

Why he hadn't done it at the regally charming Queen Mary ship we had just eaten dinner at, I'll never know. But he asked for my hand as he dropped me off at home. On top of it all, I said yes!

And here we were again,
                                                    sitting in the car before work,
                                                                                           and he is waxing poetic about why he married me

And I am crying.

So what if his timing is off a bit!

"I'm not sure what to say back to the old girlfriend, (3000 miles away)", he said. It's a little awkward.

She was drop-dead beautiful with a tender heart. Smart and warm.

I was looking for a loyal woman, he continued,  and wasn't sure about her. Her mom had one of those open marriage arrangments. But her dad was the faithful husband to the end, kind of like Hosea in the Old Testament.

Tim said he was fearful she would favor her mom's ways...He never kissed her for that reason, never advanced the relationship, so they remained friends only.

"But you", my sweet husband said to me, "when I met you I could tell you were the loyal type. Just by the way you carried yourself; standing out among the flighty, party girls.

 I kissed you on our first date,  right away to stake my claim.
 You were marriage material."

Another smooch in the parking lot sent me on my way,  soggy-eyed and so loved
on this our anniversary.

I can't remember what he told me to reply to the girlfriend. And it doesn't matter anymore.

35 years later and (grace) still holding.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Queen of Half-baked Ideas

I am the "Queen of Half-baked Ideas" my perky friend declared, her enthusiasm unabated. "After all, if you don't have half-baked ones, there's no chance any will ever get fully done!"


But I'm a little more depressed about this dilemma than she  is. 

Just a few extra lifetimes would do the trick. That would allow me to finish them all:
Compile a Children's CD, Worship CD, love song and piano instrumental  CD. Sell books on Amazon. Sell Real Estate. Be a music therapist. Administrate an Arts Organization. Get my masters. Work on an archaeological dig in Israel. Play at more weddings.

Obstacles abound and block my reach of these goals. They loom in front of me like green hairy monsters! Things like:

Organizing the garage.
Cleaning my drawers.
Changing out the paper in my kitchen cabinets.
Uncluttering my desk (my laptop desktop included, which is always crowded with documents and photos I need to file or send to facebook or email to relatives).

Speaking of pictures.

With 5 kids, I have boxes of them. Pretty boxes I might add, in every corner of the house, in every closet, patiently waiting to be put in scrapbooks that are chronically 10 years behind. There's a box for each of the 5 mostly grown children, husband, grandmothers/fathers (ancestors) and then a box for each of the 10 years I am behind in.

As I write I am buried under 30 years of saved birthday, anniversary and Valentine cards. I need more boxes. No zip lock bags. No, I need a course in clutter management!! (I did find a 'first year' anniversary card from my hubby that I'm going to show him in 2 days when we celebrate our 35th, that I was quick to use to validate my penchant for saving all things sentimental).

I argue myself down that my great ambitions can't be tackled until these nagging projects are completed.

And it feels

Then there's laundry and floors and toilets that come back every week screaming,

 "C L E A N ME "!!

So the aspirations remain immature, gangley-legged and peach fuzz-faced.

My mother used to worry incessantly about her disorganized desk. If the subject of the Rapture came up, she would go on about getting her life in order and straightening up her desk! She surmised that the mess of bills and letters would be a bad witness to those who were left behind, I guess.

I've joined my exuberant friend in her royal court of "Queen of Half-baked Ideas." Her brain-child is  a clever children's book and has asked me to write a song for the story.

We are planning to do this between 1:00 and 2:00 am in the morning when we both are free. Then our projects may at last come out of the oven,

fully baked, done in the middle, and golden brown outside.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Better Than a Piano Bar

It's that part of marriage that we women loathe: When our husbands say 'no' and we have to listen.

But honey, I pleaded, it's not like I was planning to act like some floozy with a martini in one hand and a Marlboro in the other playing sultry songs on the grand piano, while half-crocked silver foxes (a nice name for old men) ogle and harrass me. I just want to play my three-song Carole King set for people in the community.

It's a swanky neighborhood tavern, not a low-brow bar.

Besides I had a chance to win good money. Play a song to win the talent prize at the end of the evening for $100 bucks, making you eligible for the $1000 grand prize at the end of the month. Generally I don't go for this kind of thing. Especially if the local social magazine picks up the story and prints your picture with all the shallow small-town glitterati, which they typically do.

But what's wrong with that?  Really? And we could be $1100 better off?

Domestic tiff continues.

Hopes high, I had been practicing what I knew best. Carole King.

Where you Lead
Natural Woman
You've Got a Friend

(Please don't spread the word, but I have the original 1971 Tapestry songbook, complete with my maiden name written in teenage handwriting.)

As it turned out, my aspirations of being $1100 richer continued to be squelched by my husband's less than enthusiastic reaction.

"I really don't like the idea of my wife playing in a bar!"

"It's not a bar. It's more like a pub for neighborhood folks. The place is nice, with rich paneling, formal furniture, a grand piano, and beautiful equestrian and polo themed artwork on the walls. Not your run-of-the-mill joint full of drunks and pick-ups," I persisted.

No, it's a bar, He said. I'm not crazy about you hanging out at a place like that.

I had recently visited there to see a friend play and we had a great time chatting with mutual friends. Everyone was clean cut, more intelligent type than say, those that frequented the country bar "Boonies" in Royal Palm Beach or even "Gypsy Horse" in old Wellington.

Still a no from my husband. I wanted this so badly. This submitting thing was no fun at all. How could he keep me from doing what I was dying to do?  He always hears me out. But If we disagree, ultimately one person has to make the decision.

After all, anything with two heads is a monster.

So the talent contest came...



As did the potential winnings and fun of performing. I was bummed.


A few weeks later on a Saturday, Elliot my 23 year old, casually said he was playing that night at a coffee house in North Palm with some musician friends. Somehow it came up that I might be included in the line-up. I was all practiced up for the illusive piano bar gig. With he on guitar and myself on keys, we worked out our songs and that night...

My son and I sang Carole King in a cozy coffee house.

Elliot on acoustic and Allison on background vocals from the front row!

The multi-generational audience sang along. Allison, our friend threw in unexpected harmonies from the floor and echoed 'done for me' in the bridge of Natural Woman. The impromptu audience interaction made it alive and ultra cool, and though my other 19 year old son, Jesse doesn't let me use the term, I might add little hipster too. The girls texted their moms wishing they were there to share the vintage tunes.

Instead of the piano bar gig, I got a much sweeter deal:  Making music with my son in a quirky coffee house in the arts-charmed North Palm Beach. Flanked by an art gallery, it held the perfect attraction for cool visual arts- musician clientele.

Now, that moment to me was far, far

Better than a piano bar!

What mother wouldn't consider sharing a humble coffee house stage with her son, superior to playing solo even at Carnegie Hall? It was a night to remember. A highlight as a musician and a cherished memory as a mom.

And I later found out the the so-called contest money I'd missed out on could only be used at the same watering hole. I did not want to spend that much time there.

I hate to admit it,

but my husband was right...

this time! :)

Leave your email address here to receive automatic blog updates.