Monday, April 9, 2012

Elvis for Easter?

I was thinking of heading out for a bit of a hike, but the wind is really howling out there today and I am not in the mood to be blown about.  I am sitting here in silence just listening to the wind.  It is so strong, that it has pushed drywall dust out from under the baseboards in several spots around my condo.  It is a new building, so things are still settling, including that I guess.  Obviously the walls are not 100% sealed and the wind has found it's way in somehow.  There are whitecaps on the lake and now and again I can see the spray of water hitting the breakwall off in the distance near the Port Credit Yacht Club.

I am not a big fan of wind.  Must be my Capricorn earth sign.  It stirs up all that dirt and makes things feel out of control, like the newspaper and plastic bag that just went flying by my 16th floor window.  In any event, it is a good excuse to stay in and write instead of getting some exercise.  I can do that later when it calms down this evening, which it likely will. 

Today is a work day for many but I am off, as is my daughter and she continues to slumber late.  I will allow this, as it is back to school for her tomorrow and teenagers need more sleep so I am told. We had a good time together yesterday.  We spent the afternoon with my parents and we always enjoy our little road trips together.  She brings the music and she surprises me with a  vast range of selections.  I never know what to expect.  Yesterday we sang along to everything from AC/DC's Back in Black to the Leah Michelle version of Barbra Streisand's "My Man" to Scottish band, The Proclaimers hit (I'm Gonna Be) 500 Miles! And we crank it up loud.  Really loud.  This, I believe is my middle-aged revenge toward my own parents for telling me to turn my record player down all the time when I was her age.

Besides, when the music is loud and you are singing along, it is more difficult to hear your own bad voices!  The day turned out to have a bit of musical theme actually.  The subject of Elvis came up at the dinner table and Emma shared with her grandparents that she thought had she been a teen in the 50's she would have been one of those screaming fans tossing her panties on the stage at him. 

My dad disappeared shortly after that and went to the basement.  He has never been one to sit still for long so we did not think anything of it.  He emerged from the basement with a box.  It contained a 5 disc set of the complete Elvis Presley collection from the 50's along with a nice book and assorted information - even some Elvis stickers.  It was one of those things he had ordered off the TV years ago, listened to once and shelved.  He handed it to her and said, "Here, take this, I never listen to it anymore."  Her face lit up, she jumped out of her chair and hugged him with such genuine gratitude that it surprised me.  It is not often she reacts this way.  He had found a way to impress her and please her and it's not everyday a 73 year old man can bring such joy to a 17 year old girl.  It was a lovely moment.

He is also getting more and more nostalgic as he ages.  Every time we visit, out come the photos from back in the day.  They are not in albums.  They are completely disorganized.  Hundreds of them in boxes and bags.  This time they dated back to the 70's and 80's.  We all looked so young. Emma was not even born yet.  Hell, I had not even been married yet.  Usually I recognize the photos, but yesterday there were a few I did not remember ever seeing.  One in particular of my mother.  My mother is a pretty modest buttoned-up woman.  Never one to look "sexy".  But here was a shot of her looking exactly that.  Her long hair, her low cut top, her face lightly made up.  I would go so far as to say - pretty hot. (see photo below). She was an attractive woman when she was young.  Not that she is unattractive as an older woman, but she is not turning heads any more, other than my fathers.  After 55 yrs of marriage, that is pretty good.  I think he still sees her as she was in that photo.  That is love.  He would be lost without her.  He drives her crazy.  But they keep going.

I don't know how they do it.  I have not had the stamina for it.  Their generation takes a different view of marriage.  It's forever.  Short of serious abuse, you stick it out.  I don't necessarily agree with that attitude, but it is pretty common old school thinking.  I see it all the time.  Couples who stay together more out of habit than desire.  There is no right or wrong here.  Whatever works for the individuals involved.  Truth and authenticity are not words bandied about with them.  Were I to raise those issues, they would likely look at me like I was from another planet.  Those things are not really a consideration.  If you read Elizabeth Gilbert's follow up to Eat Pray Love, a book called Commitment, there are even fewer reasons in some cultures for ending a marriage.  It is not even a concept. You marry. You stay married.  End of story.

Sometimes I wish I could stop looking.  That path is not littered with obstacles and precipices and leaps into the unknown.  It is sure and steady and accepted. 

Perhaps the reason they took that path, is so that I have a safe place to go once in a while, where I can veer off my own rocky road and rest for an afternoon.  I did that yesterday. 

It was a peaceful break.  A soft place to fall....even if it was only for a few hours.

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