Monday, November 04, 2013

Back In Your Burqa

Last week Melody and I celebrated our eleventh wedding anniversary. Thank you. It was my pleasure. When asked why I waited so late in life to get married, I reply that I was just waiting for Melody to come back on the market. I'd been kind of interested in her for some time, but she kept marrying the wrong guys. I first met her forty years ago when she was a young hippie chick working in an Overton Square leather shop owned by my former college roommate. She drove a black VW Beetle and lived in a communal house on Edgewood Street. I admired her spunk and good humor, but mostly I was impressed with her sense of independence. Melody could hang with the big dogs and possessed a quick wit that allowed her to give as good as she got. I quickly began eyeballing her as my potential new girlfriend, but she wasn't studying me. When I was sitting on a tall barstool playing and singing at the Looking Glass, Melody worked in the cloakroom because she was too young to come in to the bar. When it was late and the crowd had cleared out, she came in anyway to listen, and I sang the Bee Gee's song "Melody Fair" for her. I got a hug and kiss, but still no dice. I probably should have asked her out on an actual date, but that seemed so passe' in the freewheeling seventies.
 
Before I could manage to clearly express my feelings, she got married, but even after that we remained friends. I had no choice because she married my saxophone player. When they moved to California, we lost touch but for second-hand information. I later heard she was divorced and remarried and living on a naval base in the Philippines, and I was bewildered by the thought. Years passed and Melody faded from memory, although mutual friends would occasionally speak of her. Then, my band played for the thirtieth high school reunion for the White Station class of 1967, and Melody was there with her sister. We laughed and talked and I was reminded of how fondly I felt about her but she was still a married woman. Several eons later, I was playing in a club with an acoustic trio when Melody and her husband came in with a large group. I checked out the lucky guy. He looked like he could kick my ass. It wasn't that much later when she came back in one night with some girlfriends and I was told she was separated. We had the obligatory dinner and a movie and shortly thereafter, I concluded that some damn fool had discarded a perfectly good wife.
 
Our friendship rekindled, I noticed how easy it was to spend time with her and how much we had to talk about. I had just recently escaped an emotionally abusive relationship and was nursing a battered ego, so Melody was like oxygen. After a period of going middle-aged steady and winning the tacit approval of my teenage step-son and daughter-to-be, marriage seemed like the next logical step. I would finally get to hang out with Melody. We approached the Rabbi at Temple Israel and agreed to take Jewish classes in return for his blessing. Melody was charmed by Micah Greenstein and we both agree that he has so much charisma, if he weren't a rabbi, he could start his own cult. When he asked if we had any personal additions to our vows, I replied that right after Melody said, "I do," I would like the Rabbi was to say to her, "Now, get back in your burqa." We shared a chuckle and forgot about it until the actual ceremony where I wasn't entirely sure that I wasn't going to pass out at any moment. I made it through the whole deal before God and everybody and was only waiting for the Rabbi's pronouncement when he said, "And now, Randy, it's time for you to get back in your burqa." I guess you had to be there, but it sure made me guffaw. Whenever I see the Rabbi, I like to tell him that he married us so good, I believe that it stuck.
 
At age 54, I would never have considered living with a teenage high-school boy, because all I to compare him with was me. As a grown-up, I most certainly wouldn't tolerate living with a teenaged me. Fortunately, Cameron, my step-son, was already a good guy and the only "Dad" thing I insisted on doing was playing catch in the backyard. Melody's daughter was already off at college, but since I never had offspring, I enjoyed teaching a young man how to tie his tie and drive a car. I was delighted to contribute cuff links and cummerbund to his first formal attire and to advise him that a gentleman always wears a pocket square. The rest of the time, he pretty much stayed in his room and I would see him when he surfaced to eat. I liked all his buddies and when they gathered, I was reminded so much of my own youth, I had to restrain myself from participating in their frivolity and risk appearing the old fool. Now that eleven years have passed, everyone's grown and on their own. It's back to just me and Melody once again, if you don't count the three rescue dogs, and she's still happy to see me when I come home from work. We recommend late-in-life marriages. Your priorities change from a half-mad, youthful, libido driven relationship, into one of good conversation and companionship. That's where all that pre-marital friendship comes in handy. Besides, it's good to have someone to argue with about what to watch on television for the rest of your life.
 


13 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful piece, Randy. So well written...Melody and you are perfect for each other. I married late too (58) and am also very happy. We both lucked out bud!

Joel

Cindy said...

Great article Randy. Living next door to you, I have witnessed firsthand the love, respect, joy and comfort of your union.
One of my favorite quotes about marriage is from Anne Bancroft about her marriage to Mel Brooks...
"When he comes home at night and I hear his key in the lock I say to myself, 'Oh good! The party's about to begin."

Go give Melody a hug...and let the party begin.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! We love you both.

Godfather & Tanta

Joe Spake said...

I was 60 this time around, and it took all those years to understand what a really good marriage is all about.

Alan said...

At lest one good thing came from the Hideout

Anonymous said...

Married twice and divorced once. My second marriage is on the down turn so I have not chosen well. At age 66 I will not have any luck on a third time so thar she blows.
I am happy for you Randy that you have been so fortunate.
Bob Weymouth

billy reed said...

ofectribrando !!!
much love and peace to you and mel!!
thanks !!

Repentant said...

Even though we have political differences, I have always felt that you would be a hoot to know and run with...as long as we stay a way from politics. This is an excellent self-revelatory piece. I wish that you would do more. I admit that you are a very interesting character. You make the point well that young people may be intelligent, but they are not wise. Wisdom comes through experience and painful experience can be the best teacher. Parenthetically, one of the reasons that I am anti-liberal is that liberalism so often protects people from the very consequences that could serve to teach, strengthen, and change them for the better. Painful experiences can produce breakthroughs that reason alone can't affect. It can be spiritual dynamite making large changes in one's psyche quickly. Back to the subject at hand...it is wonderful to hear of someone who is well married. When young, we tend to settle for physical beauty and screaming orgasms. With maturity, it becomes clearer that beauty and orgasms take a back seat to a deep friendship and commonality of interests which are at the heart of a good marriage. It sounds like Melody is truly one-of-a-kind. Congrats on finding something that is worth much more than money...or politics. It is worthwhile to remember that God is Love. He holds it all together whether it be atoms, molecules, planets, the entire universe, or the binding power human love. A cord of three strands (you, Melody, and God) is not easily broken. God bless you. Forgive me my hard edges. I have spent my entire life trying to overcome the effects of my past.

Repentant said...

Please accept this as a peace offering. I dedicate these songs to the love that you and Melody share...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paZD-DFpOfE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAVdEO1mxqA

I confess that I am a lonely, heart-broken old man. Slow dance with Melody when you play these. I wish that I could feel this way about someone. It would mean the whole world to me. Politics takes my mind off of the emptiness.

Randolph Haspel said...

Dear Repentant, All is forgiven, thank you for the kind words and the music. I'm sure you and RJ could be pals, he's really very clever and so funny but of course no politics!Your kindness is overwhelming and I thank you , my friend. Peace, Melody Haspel

performs said...

What a delightful and inspiring story--I am so glad to have read it. Best wishes to Melody and Randy on your wedding anniversary. May the gift of the love you share with one another spread far and wide.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely lovely. Melody is a lucky woman.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to you and Melody, Randy. Thanks be to CBHS and whatever elementary school you attended for helping you write so well. UT, too. Both Tim and I believe we recall Melody's name, so she could have attended HRS for a year. And maybe her mom taught us in 6th grade. I don't know. Finally, it's possible that I'll follow your example but for me it would be a geezer wedding. Happy Thanksgiving.