Thursday, April 5, 2007

It Comes Naturally For Me!

Happy 72nd MOMMY! This is my Mom, she's the funny looking one on the right. The handsome man next to her is her first cousin, famous baseball player Calvin Julius Caesar Tuskahoma McLish!

When I tell you that my good looks and talent come naturally I mean it. Before I was born my mom was scheming and dreaming, meeting famous actors such as James Garner, Dale Robertson, James Cagney and others - mainly because she, like me, put herself in the situation or the location to meet people of interest. Like me, Mom was never star-struck or really all that personally impressed by a persona - why should she be? People are people - right?

If ever there was a dame to be celebrated for bravo, intuition and sheer gutsy-go it would be Rebecca Ruth Edwards. Let me tell you a little something about Miss Sneakypants - that way you'll know that what I do isn't altogether my fault - it's in the GENES. (You should have met her father, she didn't stand a chance either!)

The Sunday following Labor Day 1955 - think about the weather, think about the time of day - it was 10 minutes past the start of the weekly sermon at 40th Street Baptist Church, so if every Baptist church starts at 9 :30 then it must have been aroun 9:40 a.m. when my poor father lost his license to remain a single man. Mom (at that time Miss Becky Edwards, unmarried and oh-so-cute in her little new bobbed hairdo and clean pressed wool skirt and button-down jacket to match) walked into the back of the church, into the entrance, and promptly sat beside her little sister Naomi who was instructed to save my mother a seat should she be late - and late she was. Everyone turned around, everyone saw her coming into the back of the auditorium, everyone looked at her new suit - it was worth the $15.00 price tag JUST for that reason. She wasn't late - she was making an entrance.

Mom giggled a bit, shyly lowered her head as she ducked into her pew beside her equally mischievious sister and waved off her onlookers with a dainty gloved hand as if to say "Nothing to see, turn around please." One face did not completely turn around to face the minister - that was his first mistake. Dad was always a little slow now that I think about it. LOST! GOTCHA! Caught! The man was seen - the eyes were held - the plot began to capture the U.S. Naval sailor, the new boy sitting just ahead of the two giggling girls.

"Naomi, I'm going to marry that man", she said softly between the 2nd and 4th stanza of Amazing Grace (Baptists never sing the 3rd stanza of any old hymn. Not true Baptists anyway!) "I'm going to marry him, and you can have his brother if he's got one." That promise being made - my father made an attempt to get away as fast as he could - perhaps he saw the look in her green eyes, perhaps he sensed his collar tightening when he once again turned to look her over before trying to exit the building.

OUT went her foot into the aisle , AS SHE PRAYED, and DOWN went the noble sailor who must have had his eyes on the back door! BAM! To the floor in all his glory, noise has always been my dad's enemy - he absolutely hates a scene. Banking on this male instinct Mom quickly threw her glove to the ground - and YES, being the very Southern gentleman that my dad is, he retrieved it and then he returned it. THAT was mistake number 2. If he wasn't hooked before, he was in the pail at this point.

"My name is Becky" she began. "Wayne" was his return. "Well, Reuben Wayne, but they call me Wayne." She smiled - pirates smile at times like this. We (did I say we?) get a little information, and we store it - storing it requires the break of a slight smile to seal the door on the compartment of the storage space in our brains. "Wayne, I have a problem. I don't have a date to the picnic after church. It's just in a few minutes, and well, I don't have a single opportunity to find a boy to take me - I came in late, and all the boys are taken." THIS is where my dear sweet dad made his third and final mistake - they went to the picnic together - ONLY there wasn't a picnic! It was just mom's little mean and manipulating way to keep him a little longer - and alone.

Her plan was simple - walk to the park, and on the way pick up a basket of this and that from her house which, if you walked straight down 40th street would be just perfectly situated between the church and the park. They did this of course, and being home, and able to change clothes in a flash, the little petite gal went from buttoned up Miss Priss to a jeans-clad 50's girl complete with her brother's white polo, delicate scarf about the neck, and even - yes, the vanilla perfume from her mother's cabinet just behind the ears. Ears you could now see and smell since her waist length hair had been cut only days before to reveal the new womanly sprite - her new and true self. For his part - dad just stood there with his mouth opened and nodded as he passed four of her five brothers and a couple of her sisters who knew absolutely NOTHING of a picnic following the service, but certainly knew their little Becky!

On December 3, 1955 - less than 2 months later, my mom and my dad married. MARRIED. He fell literally for the woman with the pretty little waistline, the thick auburn curls, and, that wicked, twisted little curved up smile - and he's been smiling ever since.

Happy Birthday She-Devil! Love ya more than you'll know.

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