March 9, 2013 by crazylemonlove
The historic hundred year old pier in Santa Monica has long been a haven for romance and adventure, nestled at the end of Route 66 jutting out over the Pacific Ocean. It is a classic landmark of the Pacific Ocean, a major center of activity and a glowing, sparkling beacon over the Santa Monica Bay. It would be the epicenter of our first date.
The moon was full. The night was warm. I had no idea what the evening held in store. My man had asked me to meet him at his house near the ocean from there we would leave to catch dinner and a show.
When I walked up to his place the door was open and he was sitting and playing his Hammond B-3 electric organ probably purchased new in the late 60’s well before the year of my birth. I quickly found out as a teenager he had been in a band, a rock and roller out of Cleveland Ohio who had made enough of a mark to be included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame before quitting his music career to start a family with his high school sweat heart and take a job in advertising.
He played me one of Bob Dylan’s “cool” counter culture tunes. Something about a musician, even retired kind of made it ones playing other peoples music, that gets you right in the gut. I was impressed.
The lights twinkling in the night sky over the ocean led right to our table on the edge of the dance floor in a newly renovated supper club that an exuberant audiophile jazz lover had recently re-opened restoring it lovingly to its former glory, turning it into a major music venue on the Santa Monica Pier.
A rare and intimate performance of the original members of The Texas Playboys was in store including fiddle player Johnny Gimble and drummer Casey Dickens honoring the music made famous by long dead band leader and all around fabulous music man Bob Wills.
Mel Note: I had no idea who Bob Wills was. Upon hearing that’s who was playing my only reaction was — blank. After hearing the music on that night I would become very acquainted with him. Bob Wills was the founder, band leader, singer, musician and King of Western Swing. Bob Wills was a legend influencing countless artists who would follow in his magnificent footsteps. Born in Turkey, Texas, this humble cowboy rocked an amalgam of styles and sounds and merged themes into this glorious addition to the musical landscape we call Texas swing music. Today… Every time I hear a steel guitar and a top notch fiddle player, my knees go weak.
Yes it was an “oldies” evening as the “youngster” of the musicians, the drummer, one of the original, original Playboys had just turned 80. Made no difference, however old those dudes were, they cranked. I’m sure wherever that drummer is today he is still kicking a killer beat. Don’t kid yourself they matched the energy of the Kings of Leon.
Swing music is designed to move you, thrill you and get your spirit sailing. It worked.
As their music poured over the Pier against the lapping wave crashing surf, like milk and honey, creating an enchanted evening, everyone was on a music high. Those swinging TEXAS PLAYBOYS ended the first set with one of Bob Wills hits — Stay a Little Longer.
Stay all night, stay a little longer,
dance all night, dance a little longer,
pull off your coat and throw it in the corner,
don’t see why you don’t stay a little longer.
I wasn’t going anywhere. The lights came up. The excitement in the room was electric.
At our shared table was the dearest Old Couple you’d ever want to meet, we said our hellos and made our introductions when we took our seats. She was a pink cheeked Grandmother and Mother of ten who was not afraid to wear her grey hair proudly owning all of her seventy five years. Her husband was a Gentlemanly Cowboy complete with Stetson hat and belt buckle from an honest to goodness king of the rodeo victory. The two shared a twinkle in their eyes and the glow of blissful contented happiness that radiates from true love.
They were delightful.
The loud pop of a cork exploded from behind me as the Playboys returned to the stage.
My Man and I stopped our excited chatting to see a chilled bottle of the best champagne you can name with elegant tall crystal glasses hit our table flowing from the wait staff.
Looking at my Man who was quickly shaking his head, “not me” equally surprised. I saw our table mate, the Gentlemanly Old Cowboy stand up and step into the moment, holding court with the crowd in a pre arranged anniversary extravaganza to go with end of the Texas Playboys intermission. Champagne and glasses extended to all the tables in the club.
Plainly and simply and beautifully that Old Gentleman Cowboy spoke…
“To My Darling… We met at a Bob Wills show fifty years ago; I looked across the room and saw the prettiest woman I had ever seen.”
The look of love that flowed between them was palpable.
“It took all my courage to go and ask you to dance. I am not embarrassed to say I was nearly shaking by the effort. To my delight and surprise, you accepted. The music started and never stopped. We’ve raised a family, I have grown to love you more with each passing moment, and never once did my heart not skip a beat when you entered the room…”
Every heart in the place held in the moment, sharing this beautiful event with these two. As this Old Gentleman Cowboy stared lovingly at his wife of fifty years, as the Texas Playboys started to play… slowly … a soft driving beat warming up, getting ready. Music building significantly.
“I asked this beautiful woman to dance and I found the love of my life.”
The Gentleman Cowboy made his toast. “To life. To
Love and to the music that brings us together. (choking up) And the prettiest little lady one man is lucky enough to call his wife.”
Raising his glass. Repeating for all to join them… “To life, love and music.”
EVERYONE drank. Hearts broken open.
Then he whooped out a “Yeeeeee Hawwwww!!” as the full magic spell of the evening took over. The Playboys hit their musical stride, it was Bob Wills haunting break out hit San Antonio Rose written in 1938 published by Irving Berlin and made famous by Bing Crosby, the rest as they say is history. The Playboys seemed to be sharing it for every San Antonio Rose on earth waiting to blossom.
The Fiddle player’s solo extending the heart felt emotions, opening the dance floor.
The Gentleman Cowboy offered his hand to his Lady of fifty years, her hand floated into his as she rose into his arms. The perfect picture of joy… They began their dance across that wood floor over the sweet upbeat tender, happy sounds of San Antonio Rose… Steel guitar and fiddle marrying harmonies.
Deep within my heart lies a melody,
A song of old San Antone.
Where in dreams I live with a memory,
Beneath the stars, all alone.
I don’t remember when my Man moved his hand into mine, but when I looked down there it was… We were holding hands. Connected. It was warm and wonderful and comforting. My heart was met, joining the experience.
Well it was there I found, beside the Alamo,
Enchantments strange as the blue up above.
For that moonlit pass, that only she would know,
Still hears my broken song of love.
My Man and I sat there holding hands and watched that lovely Old Couple, move across the dance floor to the luscious sounds of the Texas Playboys and their Texas Swing music. Several Couples joined them on the dance floor.
I remember not wanting to move, my only goal was to hang in the moment and soak it all in. Those two laid down some serious two stepping and swing dancing and enjoyed every second of each others rhythms as the fiddle player continued to work his musical spell. Tickled ivories joining in.
Moon in all your splendor, known only to my heart,
Call back my rose, rose of San Antone.
Lips so sweet and tender, like petals falling apart,
Speak once again of my love, my own.
When the song ended, in full heart opening blossom the dance floor cleared. My Man was standing above me in anticipation of the beat of the next tune.
“Would you care to dance?” Extending his hand.
Looking up at him my heart full — I answered.
“I would love to.”
My hand joined his.
We danced to the beautiful music of the Texas Playboys as they moved into the haunting beauty of another Bob Wills hit Faded Love.
I miss you darling more and more every day
As heaven would miss the stars above
With every heartbeat I still think of you
And remember our faded love
The needle was on the record, the band of musicians creating a symphony transcending the moment. We were in a groove. Having never officially two stepped before, somehow on this night I felt like Ginger Rogers moving across that floor.
As I think of the past and all the pleasures we had
As I watch the mating of the dove
It was in the springtime when you said goodbye
I remember our faded love
The night air was intoxicating.
Walking along the streets in the glow of the moonlight and the thick ocean mist post show holding hands with My Man, not wanting to go home but not wanting to lose the experience we had just shared, we saw the perfect venue to regroup… Polly’s Pies.
I remember taking a deep breath “God, can you smell that?”
He joined me, taking a deep breath and nodded, a huge smile on his face. “Pie crust, sugar and butter.” Not quite getting it. “Wait…” Taking another breath. “Is that… Baked chocolate chip cookies?”
I smiled. Exactly.
Coffee and a slice of pie was just the ticket. An extraordinary pairing to an extraordinary experience.
We shared a slice of heated rhubarb pie and vanilla ice cream enjoying a couple of cups of coffee. My Man and I blabbered away as we people watched the quirky late night diner crowd and laughed at the shrine to Grateful Dead front man Jerry Garcia seemingly out of place in a family run pie joint.
My Man said “I wanted to ask you out for so long, but I could never find the right thing. Then I saw that show and I knew, I knew. I’m so happy you agreed to go.”
I was happy too.
When he kissed me under the maples with that full moon glowing through its leaves outside his house for the countless time that evening I was in heaven.
I kid you not. With the Ocean, the Santa Monica Pier, that Bob Wills discovery, the steel guitar, the couple who had been married and blissfully in love for fifty years, the fiddler, and after the Rhubarb pie and the coffee and the ice cream and the kissing…
It was love at first date. A home run.
Everyday I woke up. Everyday I thought today. Today is going to be different. Today is a day I won’t be alone. I lived that, and lived that. And then I couldn’t. It was never different. I was always a loner.
When I woke up the next day after the Texas Playboys night of Bob Wills songs over the Pacific Ocean things were different. I was different.
Preview Chapter Vanessa by the Sea by Melanie Lutz.