Wednesday, February 11, 2009 just doesn't seem possible...

That's how old I think of my father as being. I've become "Mr. Jones" instead of "Nick".

When I was in my 20's, and somebody called me "Mr. Jones", I looked around for my father and grandfather. No way *I* could be "Mr. Jones". Now, I expect it and am annoyed when people I don't even know (especially young people) brightly chirp, "Well, NICK, ...." It's Mr. Jones to you, twerp, until I give you permission otherwise.

I'm just not as good at driving as I used to be. I have to make myself be extra careful in parking lots, at corners, even on the freeway, because I'm not as alert as I used to be.

Don't get me started on short-term memory. I can't remember ANYTHING that's happened in the last week. I'll start on some story and Nathan just rolls his eyes, meaning I've already told him that. Yet I can remember the distant past with such clarity....

One of these days, I'm going to kill myself on that little step from the den to the living room. I have a sunken living room (disco '76, baby!), through which you must pass to get from the den/kitchen area to the bedroom area (note: formal living and dining. Nobody has those any more). One of these days I'm going to miss that step and go down in a heap.

Tasks that used to be so effortless now require effort.

On this recent trip to Salt Lake City, you bet I let the nice porters handle my bags. Tip = no problem. I've always been one of those guys who, "can handle them myself, thanks!" Now, I'll let anyone who wants to load my bags.

I started watching the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show when I lived in Dallas, before I moved to Nashville. That was 1989, so I've now been watching that show 20 years.

I graduated from college 30 years ago May 21. It's been 27 years since I lived in Los Angeles, and (most startling to me), it's been 18 years since I lived in Dallas, which I always considered home along with Malvern. Neither the Malvern I remember nor the Dallas I remember are there any more. Both long gone. I'm not fond of the city and town which have taken their place. Malvern is just plain crap ("What can I say about say about --Malvern-- that hasn't already been said about Afganistan - it looks bombed out and depleted" to misquote Dave Chappelle) and Dallas has become this huge thing.

It was always "Big D", but the "Big D" I remember isn't there any more. Sanger Harris, Bek's Charbroiler, Sonny Bryan's (Sonny smoked like a stack; he always had a cigarette dangling from his lip. The cig moved every time Sonny talked, and Sonny talked constantly. Accordingly, the cigarette ashes went in the barbeque. Sonny didn't care. The crowd didn't seem to mind. Those of us who were there then say Sonny's ashes made the difference in the taste of the bbq, though honestly, it was Sonny's know-how that did. There's still a BBQ place called "Sonny Bryan's" there, but it's not Sonny's any more). Reunion Arena (brand new) being "Barnhill South". The Sportatorium. The "Dallas Palace" (Ladies, don't worry about the Dallas Palace. Guys, you should have been there....).

Men in "LBJ" hats.

DEFINITELY different than those worn by "Ol' J.R.", whose exploits we always followed. Hilarity: on the pilot episode of "Dallas", Sue Ellen, Miss Ellie, and Pam are held hostage by gunmen as Jock and J.R. are desperately trying to get back to the SouthFork---in a HURRICANE. Yup, a hurricane hit Dallas! (Trivia: the pilot and first 8 episodes were filmed on location in Stephenville, Texas at a real working ranch; the ranch was the home of Blake Box, who was a friend of mine at Baylor. "Hurricane" aside, the first 8 episodes were MUCH more realistic than the show became. You can see the "REAL" SouthFork ranch here). Note that Linda Gray (Sue Ellen) and Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes) aren't even in the opening credits!.)

The "real" Neiman-Marcus (Mr. Stanley wouldn't recognize it now, and I don't think he'd like it). Lunch at the Zodiak Room at Neiman-Marcus downtown (Helen Corbitt managing the kitchen), with fashion models modeling Dior and Balenciaga walking up to your table, describing the gown they were wearing to the women, giving meaningful looks to the men (you need to buy this for your lady!) and sailing off to the next table.

Riding the elevator at Republic Tower and bumping into "Mr. Stanley", Stanley Marcus, one of the most charming and gracious men I've ever met.

"...and Republic National Bank IS Dallas!" "Mmmmomen-tum!" "The Spirit of Texas on 8" featuring Tracy Rowlett, Iola Johnson, Verne Lundquist and Troy Dungan (and for my young friends who don't believe me when I tell them Verne Lundquist not only was the sportscaster on Channel 8, but used to have a full head of hair and be skinny, here you go.)

Turquoise and orange Dallas Transit buses rather than the bright-yellow "DART" trains (they were the old GMC buses, and about 3/4 of the air conditioners were broken, so mostly you rode---in a 3 piece suit, starched collar, and tie---in the heat, with no a/c, but with the windows open. I'm told the ladies were in dire straits with the pantyhose as well). Central Expressway BEFORE they fixed it, with the world's shortest entrance and exit ramps. Plano was about as far north as it went. Oh, hell, who am I kidding: I remember Dallas when Central Expressway went to Richardson (a country village) and stopped; when you went out East Grand to get on the 24 miles of what would become IH 30; when "South Stemmons", IH 35 E South, ended at Illinois Avenue

Ah, the good old days (that weren't really as good as we thought...).

But there are some compensations. As I told a friend (also my age) the other day, I wouldn't trade the knowledge and experience I have for youth. I would only want to go back if I could KEEP the knowledge and experience; to live that all over again? Uh-uh. Nope. Wouldn't be prudent.


It's not all bad. Last night I was sitting here watching the CBS Evening News (which I have done since Walter Cronkite anchored it), when Nathan walked in with groceries. He went in to put them away, then in a minute here he came with a Lemon Cream Icebox pie (otherwise known as "Eagle Brand Pie" at our house because the recipe came on the can of Eagle Brand milk) with lots of whipped cream and "5" "2" candles (the numbers themselves), while his computer played a jazzy version of "Happy Birthday to You". He bought the pie at House of Pies (my favourite pie from my favourite Pie Hole---see "Pushing Daisies" for reference---) and fixed it up to cheer me up.

It worked.

Unfortunately, the cocktail I had already consumed, combined with the sugar from the pie (after we've been off of sugar for years) gave me pretty much a diabetic coma and I went to sleep in the recliner---another sure sign of old age---and missed the end of Westminster.

Thank God for TiVo...and thoughtful friends...and soft, comfortable leather recliners...and memories....

1 comment:

  1. What a great blog. That's you at your best.

    You missed a great end to Westminster. Stumpy the 10 year old Sussex Spaniel went Best in Show. And while Stumpy's owner is a Yankee, his handler is from Houston.