Tomorrow night we’re heading into BB King’s in NYC to see Len’s cousins perform. It’s a spur of the moment thing as we originally had no plans this weekend. But we’ve caught up with Ray Donovan, our recent Saturday (and Sunday) night obsession and we’re short on ideas for what to do. After 30+ years of Saturday nights, watching television while whipping up something hipster for our 26 year old daughter is a very pleasant and satisfying way to spend time together.
I haven’t seen Rob in nearly 15 years, and it’s been even longer since I’ve seen Mike. Len and his cousins have many fond memories from childhood; memories of family reunions and of chopping hoses that were still ‘on’. When they got into their teen years, Len being the oldest, took up playing guitar, Mike and Rob quickly followed. They jammed whenever they got together, and the three of them got together fairly often since their parents were first cousins and very close. (Mike’ & Rob’s dad escorted Len’s mom to her high school prom.) When Len began college, playing guitar took back seat to his studies and work; picking up his guitar less and less often to play. Mike and Rob continued their play and performance schedule with their original bandmates, during their college years and afterward, still playing today.
(Mike’s on lead vocal/guitar. Rob’s on guitar, left.)
Through the years Len’s gotten together with Mike and Rob, and even taken Zack with him to see them perform several years ago. But it’s been a while since I’ve seen either cousin and I’m sure their appearances have changed more than my own, in good part due to hair color! 😉
I remember the first time I met Mike and Rob. I’m sure they don’t. It was Mike’s high school graduation and actually the first time I met Len’s entire extended family. I was very nervous. Adding to my anxiety was my parents strict curfew and rules. (Len’s parents were expected to have me home by 10PM, which we didn’t make due to heavy traffic.)
In addition to a strict curfew, I wasn’t allowed to wear much make up – no eye shadow, liner or mascara and minimal blush. Foundation and concealer were allowed. My dad was Italian and very old fashioned. Not an easy combination for a daughter to contest. To his mind, only puttans wore make up and no daughter of his was going to be a puttan. This was nothing new to me. But I was only 18 and wanted to look more mature so I wore a strapless sun dress. (I still don’t know how I pulled that off.)
The party was outdoors on a hot July afternoon, in Rockland County, 30 minutes north of NYC. I was successfully memorizing names and listening to family stories at this typical family gathering, as the day heated up. In need of relief from the warming temperatures, I found a spot of shade under a tree when no sooner did I settle in that a bird perched on the branch overhead.
I didn’t realize what was taking place until I felt something warm land on my bare back. Incredulous at first, I reached around and well, let’s just say I lost it. I ran into the house as Mike and Rob were hauling their gear out to set up on the lawn. They pointed to the bathroom and as I squeezed passed them, I came face to face with the family dog — a rather large German Shepherd, who wouldn’t allow me to go any further.
The dog stood her ground, growling at me. Trapped and covered in bird poop, I stood there for what seemed like a very long time. Mike and Rob’s mom eventually came to my rescue when she came to get more refreshments. After I got cleaned up and returned to the party, sure that everyone had seen my humiliation, Len asked where I’d been. He hadn’t realized I was even gone.
Like so much else that has happened since that hot July afternoon, what was a big deal to me pretty much went unnoticed by everyone else.
No make up tomorrow night at a dimly lit night club? Piece of cake.
Copyright 2014 by Donna Cerame. All rights reserved.
Springsteen Tribute Band: Full Spectrum: http://www.mightyspectrumband.com/the–bruce–show.html
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