Prince

 

 

In the early 1980s, I remember my friend Chris singing “Little Red Corvette” in the Pike County High School cafeteria. Chris had no idea what the song’s lyrics implied. I know this because he was a hardcore Christian and would never have approved of such explicit meaning. His naivete was funny then, and it’s funny now.

 

In 1984, I remember another friend named Chris and I went to see “Purple Rain” in St. Louis. The movie was brand-spanking-new, and had yet to expand to major (read “white”) theaters. So Chris and I headed to a different part of town to check out the film. We were the only white kids there. It wasn’t a big deal for us, nor for the other theater-goers. We were all there for the same reason: to see a cool flick. And we did. When we left the theater, Chris and I were laughing and gushing about how awesome the movie was. She was the only friend I had who had been willing to drive out to see it. And I loved her for that.

 

By the time it was announced that the Purple Rain Tour would be coming to St. Louis in December of 1984, all my friends were excited. And we knew it would be a hot ticket. So a couple of us made plans to camp overnight outside the arena’s box office. (My parents were not happy about this, but I was allowed to go.) It was such an awesome night. Hundreds of us queued up, were given wristbands and got comfortable. Here and there people were playing “Purple Rain” cassettes on boom boxes and we were about the happiest crowd on non-sleepers you could ever hope to see. And the joy didn’t subside. It lasted all night. It lasted straight through to the appointed opening time of the box office. It lasted as the line slowly moved forward. It very nearly peaked and caused our heads to explode when we reached the point of being next in line. And then we reached the window and were told there were only a few seats left and they were all for the very top row of the highest nose-bleed section known to man. And we said yes, please, and purchased our tickets. The joy levels had definitely dipped, but only a little.

 

And then the concert happened. I was a kid. And Mister was there, too. (He was also a kid.) And we were on that top row of the highest nose-bleed section known to man and we were so happy to be there! When the lights dimmed and Sheila E. came out to open the show, we all started dancing and screaming and having the best time imaginable. Or so we thought. Because when The Man himself took the stage, all emotions crossed the line and maxed out. It was an astounding show and I’ve never forgotten it. I’ve never forgotten being there with Mister. Just 2 kids in love, hanging at a concert. Forever memories.

 

Godspeed Prince.

And on The Seventh Day…

 

 

The house is tidy. The food is prepped. We’re ready.

 

A high-school buddy is coming for dinner and Mister and I are looking forward to it. We’ve only crossed paths with him a few times since we were kids, and he’s a swell guy. So getting together for an evening is sure to be lovely.

 

It’s funny how we know people and then we don’t. It happens. Though I only moved to St. Louis when I was 16, Mister knew this dude throughout his early schoolin’. We all knew people like that. Hell – we liked a lot of them. And yet life twirls and swirls and we land where we land. It isn’t wrong or even bad. It’s just life.

 

We are looking forward to tonight. And we have been since the dinner was arranged. But yesterday made us even more happy to see this dude. You see, we had been emailing back and forth about what to serve for dinner. (I like to know if a guest has any food allergies or preferences before planning a menu.) When the dude asked what he could contribute to the meal (after flying into L.A.), we knew how difficult that would be, and so we made a joke about him bringing all kinds of foods only available in St. Louis. (We then made sure he knew he didn’t need to bring a thing.) Anyhoo – yesterday we received a delivery. From the dude. He had sent us a Gooey Butter Cake – one of the joke items we’d included in our funny email.

 

Our old high-school buddy made us laugh and laugh, and we really appreciated the joke. And the gift. Gooey Butter Cake am be good, y’all. Cheers to old friends.

Arachno-Wha?

 

 

I was perusing online news this past weekend and a headline caught my eye. It seemed eerily familiar. I read its first few lines and remembered. I never shared it before as it wasn’t my story to tell. Now that it’s on the interwebs for the the whole wide world to see…

 

A few years ago Mister and I were visiting friends in St. Louis. They were telling us a real-life horror story about their dream home – a dream home that became a house of nightmares. The short version is this: immediately after moving in, they and their children began encountering spiders. Brown Recluse Spiders, to be precise.

 

For those who don’t know, Brown Recluse Spiders are not our friends. Sure, the wiki page devoted to them states their bites are “uncommon” and that the spiders are “rarely aggressive.” Oh, yeah? Well I hear or read a story on a fairly regular basis about someone being bitten and losing a huge chunk of flesh from their person to the necrotic effects of this spider’s venom. Personally, I consider gangrenous ills to be a most unwanted and unfriendly experience. And in the cases I’ve heard about, the affected persons encountered a spider. As in singular, not plural.

 

Anyhoo, as our friends told us – the spiders were showing up regularly and in frightening numbers. Exterminators were engaged. The spiders persisted. Academic professionals were consulted. The spiders persisted. The children were so terrified (and rightfully so), they all climbed into their parents’ bed each night – but only after a thorough search to make sure the bed was spider-free. No place was safe, not even the shower. When our friends told us about the spider craziness a couple of years back, they were still trying to live in the house. Still trying to figure a way out of their 8-legged dilemma.

 

Cut to the AP story I read a few days ago. The bad dream is ongoing. (You can read about their saga here.) I plan to wait a while before reaching out to them, as I’m guessing they must surely need a break from this unbelievable chapter in their lives. And just so you know, these are good people. They are a darling couple and their family is love-filled. Their experience is a sad example of how life sometimes makes zero-point-zero sense.

 

I don’t know what to think of all this. I can’t imagine what our friends think either, or how they’re managing to process what they’ve been through. What they’re going through. But I’ll tell you this – when I picture them, I do not see spiders. Instead, I see their smiles and hear their laughter. I see their love for each other, made tangible before my very eyes. No matter how this ugly part of life plays out, I sincerely hope the strength of their love will carry them through to the other side. And I cannot help but believe their next dream home will prove to be one from which they never wish to wake. With nary a damned spider in sight.

In The Beginning…

 

 

“Out in the garden there’s half of a heaven and we’re only bluffing,

we’re not ones for busting through walls.

But they’ve told us unless we can prove that we’re doing it, we can’t have it all.”

Kate Bush

Suspended in Gaffa” from The Dreaming

1982

 

 

It is said that the best place to start is the beginning. At first, I believed that meant March of this year. But the more I thought about it, I realized I would have to reach much further into my past…

 

I was 15 years old and engaged in a bit of night swimming with my friends and my beau of the time. As the moonlight did a Monet jig across the lake’s surface, I heard it. That voice! The composition! What was this heretofore unknown sound that was glimmering across the water to change me forever?

 

Once we’d all returned to shore and were drying off at the house, I asked my young beau about the music I’d heard. Just before our swim, he had lined up several albums on the turntable, under the weight of the automatic arm and then aimed the stereo speakers at the open doors, toward the lake. Now that I had asked, he had to look through the vinyl to locate just what I was after. Once he’d found it, he handed the LP’s cover to me for inspection: Kate Bush – The Dreaming.

 

I didn’t rush out to buy it, but I did file away the memory of that mesmerizing, unique music. When I did purchase my very own copy, I coveted it. And each time a new Kate Bush record was released, I sought it out to add to my collection.

 

Around 5 years later I was working at Streetside Records in St. Louis and would regularly socialize with my awesome coworkers. One night we were at Ron’s house. He had a video of Kate Bush’s “Live at Hammersmith Odeon” from her 1979 tour. That was the only tour she’d ever done, so fans were crazy for it. I don’t know where Ron had gotten his VHS copy, but it was about the coolest thing in town. While we all watched and talked and generally had a good time, Ron told me he’d replaced all his early Kate Bush LPs with CD versions and offered his vinyl to me. Of course I accepted. From then on, Ron and I shared our love of Kate. He was a really good guy.

 

Cut to March 2014. As a member of the Kate Bush fan club (yes, that’s right), I’d received an email alerting fans to the fact that Kate Bush was going to do some shows at the old Hammersmith Odeon, now known as the Eventim Apollo. My head just about exploded! She hadn’t played live shows since the ’79 gigs. The woman just doesn’t tour. Once I stopped hyperventilating, I read the remainder of the email and saw that I could – as a fan club member – take part in a pre-sale of tickets. Well, I started thinking it through. London in September. Money. Mister’s and my anniversary. Money. Travel arrangements. Money. And just when I was about to give in to the frugal part of me, I had this thought: Kate Bush live is a bucket list item. I don’t have a bucket list, friends. It’s never occurred to me to make one. But once I’d thought of Kate Bush’s concert as a bucket list item, I knew I had to try. I talked it over with Mister and he was game. There were no guarantees we’d be able to score seats, as the gigs were sure to be hot tickets. But it was worth a shot.

 

That is how I found myself hunched over my computer in the middle of an L.A. night, back in March of this year. That is why I clicked “purchase” when I got through the process of selecting seats and entering all required information on the vendor’s website. That is how Mister and I found ourselves with tickets to a Kate Bush concert in London.

 

22 shows sold out in 15 minutes. I was part of that. Now all I had to do was wait until September…

 

To be continued…

Lost and Found – Rocky Horror

 

 

As Mister and I slowly unpack, we’re finding more and more goodies once thought to be lost. (We’re finding a lot of trash, too, but that hardly merits mentioning.)

 

One of our fab finds has been a playbill from 1985. We went to see Wendy O. Williams – as “Magenta” – in a St. Louis production of Rocky Horror Show. It was a huge success, running for over six months. For the youthful us, it was a fancy night out on the town. After the show, we went for a lobster dinner. I seem to recall a 2-for-1 coupon. We were kids after all. Anyhoo, it was my first time eating lobster, and I had no idea whatsoever how to go about tackling the beast. I looked to young Mister, hoping to mimic his actions. When he flicked a big piece of lobster meat across the restaurant, where it hit a wall adjacent to other diners and stuck, I knew he wasn’t the best role model. But we laughed like crazy and dug in anyway. Years later, living in Boston, we often reminisced about that first lobster dinner. Our Massachusetts tenure gave us confidence where shellfish is concerned.

 

After I found the playbill, I framed it. It’s part of our history. Part of our story. We still love lobster. We still love each other. And we still love sweet transvestites from Transexual, Transylvania.

 

Talk about a Time Warp…

“Top Round” in Los Angeles

 

 

Recently, Mister and I made a bee-line for Top Round, a new L.A. restaurant. The reason I was in such a danged tizzy about getting there was the promise of St. Louis style frozen custard.

 

For those unfamiliar with the stuff, it is one-of-a-kind and beyond good. There are a couple of rival stands in St. Screwy, Fritz’s and Ted Drewes. People tend to be loyal to either one or the other, and when I say loyal, I mean loyal. As in some folks simply will not abide anything except their fave, even if that means being deprived in the meantime. I’ve had both, and I am a loyal Fritz’s gal, through and through. For example, I’ve been to Ted Drewes and simply not ordered anything at all. Why? It’s not Fritz’s, is why.

 

Anyhoo, when I read we were getting an honest-to-goodness frozen custard joint here in L.A., I couldn’t think of anything else. The fact that Top Round is a roast beef stand to boot was enough to put me over the edge into obsession.

 

Here’s the deal, y’all: I didn’t take a single photo of the food. And that’s a shame, as that roast beef sammich was as good as any I’ve ever had. Maybe even better. And the “Dirty Fries” were amazing. Yes, they sound crazy, but trust me – you will like crazy!

 

 

So after Mister and I had scarfed down our roast beefs, we ordered a Turtle. When my number was called, I approached the counter to find something unrecognizable in the cup before me. My order had been completely screwed up. (I won’t go into how the dude behind the counter told me that was exactly what I had ordered, then looked at the order receipt and saw he had made something completely different from that printed chit. Apologies were made and I accepted.) Once the order was corrected, Mister and I dug in.

 

I don’t know what to tell you. I guess it’s frozen custard, but it didn’t do a danged thang for me. It sure ain’t no Fritz’s. It’s not even Ted Drewes. But I suppose I shouldn’t have expected it to be either of those things in the first place. And that’s on me.

 

Will I go back to Top Round? Dear Lord, yes. The roast beef is so good, I can hardly stand it. But – while I can’t speak for Mister – I’ll probably skip dessert next time. I mean, I can’t help it. I’m a Fritz’s girl…

 

Yoga Mind

 

 

Mister and I are still P90-X-ing (halfway through!), and one of the workouts in regular rotation is an hour and a half of yoga. The first 45 minutes bite, I won’t lie. After that, I’m usually just grateful to have survived. I could go into a critique of the danged workout (a jillion downward dogs, y’all), but instead I’d like to tell you of a memory triggered each and every time we’re doing this routine…

 

In my mind, I go back to the gym at Flo Valley in St. Louis. That’s where I first discovered yoga, taught by the lovely Hildegard Rochman. I can see the dimly lit, cavernous room, filled with wall-to-wall mats and several bendy bodies. Hilde’s sweet voice sashays through my mind and reminds me to protect my lower back during the asanas. I can smell her perfume and see her hand-knitted leg warmers. Her blue eyes scan each body, making sure we’re doing our proper best. And then I smile.

 

So far, I’ve experienced yoga mind each P90 session. It’s a lovely memory, and I’m grateful it’s filed away in my brain. I loved Hilde then, and I love her now.

 

And no matter how hard he tries, Tony Horton is no Hildegard Rochman. Word.

A Restaurant I Love

 

 

Day 2 of coma-time and things I love…

 

Angelo’s Pizza in Blackjack, Missouri is my favorite pizza. Period.

 

Mister introduced me to Angelo’s about a jillion years ago. (That alone would be reason enough to love the guy.) Angelo’s is the best danged pizza I’ve ever had. And no, I can’t get there any old time I want. That makes me sad, friends.

 

But I know where it is, and I know how to get there. Maybe in the next year or so, Mister and I can take a little trip…