"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Sunday, May 30, 2004
prom-e-nade Function: verb
1 : to take or go on a promenade
2 : to perform a promenade in a dance
3 : a time and a place to really show off in high school, once a year.
It's prom season yet again.
I can tell because I'm seeing young people wearing tuxes and evening gowns that are way too young to be getting married, and besides they are going to dinner and nobody is throwing rice or bird seed or whatever.
Not only are there tuxes and evening gowns, but there are the guys and girls that get suckered into wearing outlandish styles, thinking they are cool. Little do they know that there will be endless hours of bar room memories about those outfits as they grow older. "Ha! Remember What you wore to the prom? Boy, didshu look shtupid! Gimme nuther beer!"
Or something like that.
Last year I posted a story about my own senior prom, but true to form I posted it the day before Christmas Eve and I doubt anyone at all saw it. So here it is, for your reading enjoyment, with a few additional things I stuck in here and there.
...I did a concert for a church group in a nearby town, and that's where I met Karen.
Karen was an absolute dream to look at. Long platinum blond hair to her knees, natural too, not from a bottle, cute face, and she was head cheerleader for her school. Her town was little compared to mine, so I was the exotic guy from the big city, and all her friends thought she was hot stuff landing an "out of town guy." That suited me just fine.
We dated many times, and when she went with me to my senior prom I had the prettiest date in the entire room, bar none.
As a matter of fact, that entire prom night was a real coup for me.
I got together with two of my friends and we took all of our dates to the nicest restaurant in town, the Greenbriar. The Greenbriar was ultra elegant, with tuxedoed waiters, gold flatware, the whole shebang.
My dad used to take us there all the time. "Just follow my lead," I told my friends. I knew the drill.
We all arrived at the same time and were seated with the appropriate fanfare that a frequent customer gets in a place like that. That impressed the girls.
I had already told my friends what to order, so when the waiter came we all ordered the same things without even looking at the menu.
About that time, another group came in and sat at the only other table in the room. It was a bunch of jocks, people who had been some of my worst torturers in earlier days when I was bullied so badly, and their dates for the prom.
I grinned to myself, I knew what was coming. This was going to be really good.
The waiter, who was a personal friend because we had been there so many times, seemed to pick up on it too. So, he served each course to the other table before he brought ours.
First, he came out and brought salads in golden trimmed bowls to the other table. They started digging in, trying hard to have good manners, which was hard for some of the guys, being far better with footballs than forks.
Then the waiter returned in a moment with a huge iced salad cart, and made a Caesar Salad from scratch for each of us, making a big show of the whole thing, banging the pepper shaker and knives and whatnot.
Our dates loved it.
The jocks and dates at the other table wished they had gotten Caesar salad instead of just the house salad. Oh well, steak was coming, so they were not too upset. Hey, they were jocks. They were bulging with confidence and self importance. A salad bother them??!? Not on your life!
Ah, here's the steaks! Standard New York strips for them, which the waiter dutifully delivered on sizzling platters, one by one. They began to dig in, each of the jocks doing so before everyone else was served. Hey, they waited for the salad, the meal was in progress now.
Shortly, the waiter returned, this time with a cart holding a whole prime rib roast still cooking on a spit over a flame. He cut our steaks to order right there at the table into our own sizzling platters, one at a time, quizzing each of us as to how we liked it, how thick we wanted it, and making a big show of it all.
Well, the jocks and their dates were not thinking their steaks were all that special by now.
After everyone at our table was served, we all enjoyed our prime rib together. Our dates, by the way, were totally loving this. Not one of them had ever had a meal like this before. We were treating them like they deserved to be treated on such a special night, and they were relishing every second.
And every mouthful.
Then it was time for dessert. The waiter brings vanilla ice cream to everyone at the jock's table, elegantly displayed in crystal bowls. (I am thinking now that maybe they bought some sort of package deal.)
I couldn't wait. This was gonna be good.
Yet a third time, our waiter returns wheeling a cart. Again there's fire involved. This time he fixes flaming cherries jubilee for our entire table, serving each of our desserts with flames still licking the edges of the glass.
It was so obvious that the jocks dates were disappointed, I almost feel bad about it now. Well, OK, not really, but I might.
Anyway, at the time, that meal really felt good. In a way there was a lot of revenge there for me. Not the revenge that hurts someone, but the revenge that rises above and overcomes. The revenge that says "There, I knew I was worthwhile, even if you didn't."
The prom was great. Even though I was wearing a white tux with baby blue trim. No, we won't go there. Hey, it was 1977, that was cool then. For about ten minutes.
On the other hand. Karen looked incredible, sweeping beautifully over the dance floor, her hair swinging lush and full behind her. She was wearing a gorgeous white gown and looked as perfect as a china doll. We had a really good time that night. Even the ride home was nice...
After I dropped her off, I felt very pleased. Such a wonderful time, and we hadn't been drinking or anything else, just enjoying the moment.
None of the people I hung around with seemed to need to drink or do drugs or the rest of that stuff to have a good time. We just enjoyed being with each other, and nobody felt any need to be more outrageous than the next.
It was a comfortable time, a good time.
Of course, later I would throw all of that away. A tragic story, that, but I've covered it elsewhere in this blog and I'm not gonna drag it out of the closet again tonight.
For tonight, I am going to hold in my mind the image of a young boy half my age with hair that's a little bit too long, holding a beautiful innocent young lady in his arms with hair so white it glows cascading down to her knees, giving her an innocent goodnight kiss.
While wearing a baby blue tuxedo.
The deepest definition of youth is life as yet untouched by tragedy.
Alfred North Whitehead (1861 - 1947)