Have you ever kicked your shoes off in your dentist’s office? Up until yesterday, neither had I. After the truly technological marvel of having my teeth xrayed by this machine that moved around my head like R2D2 doing a waltz, one of my shoes litterally fell off, plunk, while the technician was cleaning my teeth. Next thing I know, my other shoe is on the floor, too. I actually wiggled my sock-clad toes.
Now, that “make myself at home” feeling isn’t all I like about my dentist’s office. My dentist NEVER hurts me, and neither do the hygenists. Past the really friendly staff, I love the music. On any given day, I can keep the rhythm of Jimmy Buffet or Billy Joel or a whole bunch of other wonderful. Not only that, there are cool things sitting on ledges and surf boards up against the walls – yeah, really. I have this huge space between a couple of my teeth that picks up everything except boys and money. Some dentists would say, “Man, we need to remedy this.” Mine said, “Yeah, my wife’s got one, too. As long as it isn’t bothering you, just keep cleaning out the food.” He also talks to me about books and travelling. I love it.
Once a year there’s pirate day. I actually got to go that day once. Everyone is dressed like a pirate, and the dentist sings the “Yo ho ho, and a bottle of rum” song on his way in to check your teefies. To join in the festivities, I placed a gold coin on my tongue just before he entered and displayed it when he asked me to open my mouth. That was fun.
Yesterday, I also got to pet Rasta, the therapy dog. Oh my lord, what more could you ask in a dentist? Dentist heaven, just sayin’. Thanks, Fletch!
I love planning things–trips, parties, what I’m going to say. The other day, I said to Bake (my hubs) that I hope I don’t die suddenly, because I’d rather have a chance to plan it well. OK, you get the picture.
So — our 50th anniversary is coming up in January. Let me digress momentarily. That fact is a miracle all on its own. I’m from a divorced couple, Bake grew up with beatings that kept him from going to school some days–broken folks. I never expected, ever, to make it past our 14th year, but God. So, here we are, anticipating our Golden Wedding Anniversary.
The kids did us a bang up party for our 40th, so I’m thinking I can plan this one. Hipdewoops. We’re going to dance. And dance some more, to songs that put the lyrics to our life. We’re going to renew our vows. (Over that I am sweating blood because Bake can say some of the sweetest things to me, and I so want to do the same for him.) And we’re going to eat cake, and toast every good thing we can think of in life and marriage. People we love have already agreed to help us put this shindig together and now I am purusing (incredibly expensive) invitations.
Back in the day, 1969 to be exact, I planned my wedding on a shoestring. Bake was headed for Vietnam, so we had two weeks to get ready. I used the leftover of what my dad had paid for my dorm room to fund the wedding, since we would be moving into our $75 a month apartment, the second floor of these old people’s house (criminy, they must have been about our age now). Their only stipulation was that we take our shoes off when we came in at night.
Back then, we had a dorm friend who agreed to take photos. Tuesday, my buddy Leslee, graphic artist turned prize-winning photographer, will take our anniversary photo.
My mom made my dress, knee length. The dress I wear to our 50th will be floor length. I made my cake. Our pastor’s wife, Heather, is going to make us a cake on the theme of a rose garden, and it will be a doozy because she’s talented beyond belief.
At our wedding, sisters who sang well rendered One Hand One Heart. At our 50th party, my buddy of years will sing a beautiful song about soul mates, and her voice is honey.
My grandmother played the piano at our wedding, and my dad flipped the lights off because he thought candlelight would be nice. Good thing my grandmother could play by ear. At our 50th, there’ll be a sound guy.
Bake’s dad, pastor and heroic POW, officated at our wedding. He’s gone on to live with Jesus. Our pastor, Jim, who explains the Gospel better than anyone in the world, will introduce our vows at our 50th.
There were no written invitations to our wedding. The guy who ran the dorm cafeteria stood on a chair and invited everyone, and the little mission where I first understood the Gospel overflowed with folks. They were even looking in the windows on a snowy day. There may be no invitations to our 50th if I don’t find some that don’t cost an arm and a leg.
We decorated my wedding with pine trees, silk ribbon and a set of candlelabras. My family lived in the Sierras then. My bff, Georgia, who can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, will head the decorating team for our 50th.
The love Bake and I shared back in the day has blossomed and deepened, and I sure didn’t plan that. But I’m glad God did.
I’m going to stroll down memory lane in my blue suede shoes. It will lead me to Memphis, this year. In 1957 it led there, too, when I was eight. Only Memphis came to San Fernando, California on a black vinyl 45 rpm with Heartbreak Hotel on one side and I Was the One on the other. It belonged to the girl next door, and we spent hours in her room listening to it, and dreaming of that black haired, pouty lipped boy who stole our hearts from thousands of miles away. My favorite side was I Was the One. It was heartful. That’s what I liked about him, heartful. He loved his mother and God. I didn’t care whether he swiveled his hips or not, and I sure wasn’t going to go scream at a concert. The story of his rise from poverty got me. I wasn’t real crazy about The Colonol, but I guess he knew his stuff.
When my ninth birthday loomed, I went to my father and said, “Daddy, can I have an Elvis Presley record?”
He answered, “Who in the hell is Elvis Presley?” Yeah, that wasn’t my papa’s most astute moment.
And so, along with thousands of other young girls, teen girls, women, I began attending the King of Rock ‘n Roll. I cried when he went into the Army, thinking we might not get any new songs. I loved Priscilla because I loved Elvis, and thought the birth of Lisa Marie practically a royal event. As time went by, I bought more 45s, and then lp albums, and then went to his movies and dreamed I was the one he sang his songs to, especially the Hawaiian Wedding Song in Blue Hawaii. His songs, like Love Me Tender and Can’t Help Falling in Love punctuated my teens. In the early ’70s my new husband proved he really loved me when he got us tickets to an Elvis concert, which we missed because we both had a terrible case of the flu. However, my favorite Elvis song, The Wonder of You, is one of “our” songs to this day.
And then the year our oldest daughter was born, we heard the terrible news of Elvis’ death. I thought how sad it was that he had carried his world on his shoulders, but only managed it with drugs. I guess it’s obvious I didn’t think he faked his death. Who in their right mind would fake a death like that? He left us lots of fun memories, Harleys and Cadillacs, that smile and the sweet things he did for the City of Memphis, his love of his country, and the down homeness that never left him. I picked a bigger than life and imperfect musical idol, and I’m glad.