Monday, January 8, 2007

Today Should Be a National Holiday!

Today should be declared a National Holiday!

Why you ask? It’s Elvis Presley’s birthday among other things. Yes, I am an Elvis fan and proud of it. Not a fanatic, but definitely a fan. I was probably about 10 or 11 when he first started making it big. Always liked his music. Saw all his movies. Went to his concerts. Bought a lot of his records and albums. I liked his first movies. I think he had what it took to be a good actor, but Colonel Parker had different ideas. I like almost all kinds of music, but especially good old rock and roll or rockabilly as some call it. Never really did get into the Beatles. They came on the scene when I was in high school. I have also made the pilgrimage to Tupelo to see his birthplace and on to Memphis for a tour of Graceland. My mother and I went in the early 80s. I have lots of pictures, somewhere.

I remember the day he died, August 16, 1977 I saw the announcement on TV and screamed. My daughter came running in the room wanting to know what was wrong. I was devastated. 1977 was a very eventful year for me anyway. I was divorced, wrecked my car, Elvis died, and I turned 30! All within about 4 months!

But there is another reason January 8th is significant to me. I met my late husband for the first time, on a blind date, January 8, 1978. It was a miserable rainy day. I had been out the night before, had gone to my mother’s to pick up the kids, stopped and got dinner on the way home. I remember I was listening to the radio. Since it had only been a few months since Elvis had died, that’s about all they were playing on the radio. Anyway, the phone rang and it was him (the man I was to marry). He wanted me to come and meet him for dinner. He had called a few days before. He said that a mutual friend of ours had given him my phone number. He said he would like to meet me and would call back in a few days. I called my friend and asked her who this guy was. She just chuckled and said that she had been telling him about me for months, but that the timing had not been right yet for us to be introduced. She then went on to tell me not to get serious about him, he was not the marring kind, but he was nice, would show me a good time. And so the story went……

Getting back to that fateful rainy January 8th. After some persistence and him offering to pay for a baby sitter I agreed to meet him for a drink. I arrived early, as I am somewhat of a compulsive punctual, and went on in the restaurant. The place was almost empty. Remember it was a miserable rainy Sunday night. Not many people out. Anyway, he finally walked in. I figured it had to be him, so I stood up and he looked at me with a somewhat puzzled look on his face. It would be months before he told me the story as to why he looked so surprised. We introduced ourselves. He slipped his arm around my waist and turned to the hostess and said we would have a table for two for dinner. They sat us by the fireplace. It turned out to be quite an enjoyable evening. Even though he was a little older than me, 12 years, we had a lot in common. He was in sales, successful, married before, had children, etc. I found him to be someone I could talk to and could relate to. That was to be just the beginning. Four years later, after we were married, he surprised me by taking me to that same restaurant and had the hostess sit us at the same table. The manager was so impressed that he sent a bottle of champagne to our table. He could be quite the romantic guy. Always wanting to surprise me with something.

He called the next week and we went out that next Friday evening. To make a long story short after 3 ½ years we did get married and were married almost 16 years. He passed away of cancer on September 2, 1997. He was in good company. Princess Di had passed away that Saturday night before and Mother Teresa the Thursday after.

Our marriage was something else. He was my soul mate. I loved him dearly. I’ve often described our marriage as “We loved hard, we played hard, and we fought hard.” Those who knew him would understand that comment. He even had a song written about him. And in the song was a line that says, “All know how to die, but few know how to live.” I had that put on his marker. He taught me how to live everyday. To have fun and enjoy life for there might not be a tomorrow. I miss him, especially when significant days like this come around.

I found this poem which best describes him: (author unknown)

If I close my eyes
and quietly listen…
I can almost hear you near.
Your big and joyous laughter,
Ringing in my ears.
Of all the things about you,
I think it’s this laughter
I miss the most.
The way your eyes would sparkle,
with your newest, biggest boast.
Remembering the ways you are special,
keeps you in our days.
Your laughter lives on in our hearts,
These memories will never go away!

Cherish Your Loved Ones Now for tomorrow they may not be around.

Thank You, Ah Thank You Very Much!
The Painted Lady

P.S. Ladies and Gentlemen....Elvis has left the building.



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