A FEW APOLOGIES, SOME “SUNSHINE ON MY SHOULDERS”, AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

We got married in…a… December

Colder than we care to remember!  (Apologies to Nancy Sinatra and Lee Greenwood and Johnny Cash and June Carter!)

First, a brief backstory highlighting a “Happy 45th Anniversary to Don Sexton” — BTW –whom I married on December 28th, 1968.  My mom hexed me with a spell that my own holiday seasons would always ever after be so overloaded and overbooked with hectic celebrations that I would be beholden to her for bothering with nuptials at the noteworthily busiest time of the year!  Guess what?  Our son Roy got born on our fourth anniversary in 1972.  Thus, the conclusion of the “hap..happiest time of the year” (apologies to Andy Williams) blows our collective gaskets!  We consider our sleigh half-full…actually to overflowing!  Ho!  Ho!  Ho?????

My medical affliction and I spent April 2013 through November 2013 attempting to follow “that lucky old sun that’s got nothing to do but roll around heaven all day” according to unique singer Frankie Laine who snarled out just such a tune during my childhood.  I grew up prowling around our fenced backyard whether in autumn, winter, summer or spring.  Badminton, croquet, wimpy versions of gymnastics, hole-digging to shout clear through the globe to Chinese people on the other side, impromptu softball, sandbox sitting, and skipping through sprinklers!  Little did I realize that at my advanced age, I’d revisit my youthful past and enjoy scooting a hammock about all day long to bask under a quirkily quickly moving patch of sunlight. ” Psoriasis, go away!”  And it sorta did?  Global Warming’s toxicity is my personal diagnosis for this bizarre affliction…and Global Warming will heal it, too, if only I can successfully harness “Old Sol’s” piercing rays.

Birds trilled, twittered and warbled, as I became a latter-day version of “Snow White”, gliding about DisneyDream-Ville, alternatively seeking a deep orange glowing tan for a change of pace.  Snow Boehner, maybe?  Several beguiling bikinis I had purchased, just for my escapade, caught Don’s startled attention, until I forgot and turned sideways, resembling Jackie Gleason.  I consistently backed away from “my mister” when he proffered fast food and Coca Colas at noon to “do lunch with me”, an aging Brigitte Bardot with a sagging derriere.  Oh, I know plenty of local folks who frolic within their own in-ground or above-ground pools or boast of fun to be had at “home away from home” lake cottages (ta ta!), but I received no invitations to explore my inventively hypothesized treatment theory seaside at their elegant, small-town estates.  Our community’s “convenient to all neighborhood kids” Burnworth Pool inexplicably seems soon to be history, and nine million tax-payer dollars later to replace it with a well-paid consultant’s suggested opulent pricey-resort-type lay-out, one only can dream of, seems highly unlikely.   Thus, my “groom” bought his “bride”(Ha!) a kiddie pool from Aldi’s…nothing but the finest…22 bucks!

Both Copernicus and also Galileo Galilei entered into my thoughts as I lugged that cumbersome sling of a cot hither thither and yon from pillar to post seeking the merest dappling of sunlight, nature’s healer, as the summer progressed then waned.  Maple trees purchased when I was a junior high kid are now so overgrown that the canopied effect overtakes the sky, and shade happens every two seconds.  I damn those behemoths, yet, like a crooning Clint Eastwood, I also “Talk to the Trees”!   I lapse into a reverie that I am Tom Hanks in “Cast Away” and daydream, hallucinate, and desire my own volley ball to name “Wilson ” to  bond with,  even though my two dogs, Jack and Gaby, do enjoy chasing an assortment of ragged tennis balls which I pitch to them as well as left-over air-borne friendly fries (BURGER KING, I LOVE YOU!) from my earlier lunch dates.

Temptations to reenact Cecil B. DeMille’s blockbuster “The Greatest Show on Earth”, circa 1952, which I attended in North Carolina with my little girl cousins after we dropped by a dime store to purchase our paper doll sets of “Chuck” Heston, Betty Hutton, Lyle Bettger, Gloria Grahame, mysterious clown and mercy killing doctor Jimmy Stewart, his little dog “Popcorn”, and CORNEL WILDE (Anybody recall his star-turn in “The Naked Prey”?)…arrived at the forefront.  How’s that?   As I napped on my trampoline style hammock, appearing to have fallen into a trapeze artist’s safety net, a vengeful bumble bee stung me on my already crimson-speckled, debilitated right hand.  I fantasized that the end part of my forelimb, containing 27 bones, would become wrinkled, crippled, and hideously deformed like Cornel Wilde’s did when he insisted upon “flying without a net” and subsequently took a tumble mutilating himself possibly forever.  Shirtless, he bitterly strutted about in tights, throughout the rest of the film, hiding his scarred affliction beneath an impossibly silly, silky, satin Technicolor green cape!  Not to mention “the Sultan’s Favorite” Gloria Grahame whose pouty movie star face became nearly obliterated by her jealous, vindictive lover Bettger insisting that she seductively slide beneath the  poised humongous foot of his multi-tonned, cooperative, trained elephant!  Drama!  Whoops, I almost forgot the spectacular train wreck featuring all of the circus performers and animals on board tragically scattered to kingdom come.

And as scantily as I was (barely) dressed all summer, I also identified with Hollywood’s “Golden Boy” William Holden when he co-starred in the “Bridge on the River Kwai” (1957) while generally wearing nothing but a Speedo.   (Trivia time–Bill was such a hairy fellow that his entire amazing physique required shaving every morning of shooting, per Tinseltown’s Hays Code–of Censorship!)  I reviewed my days as a youngster chopping my way through the peripheral shrubbery bordering neighbor boy Johnny Lillich’s yard — (also littered with out-of-season upside down canoes) — pretending that I might locate Sir Alec Guinness while whistling  Mitch Miller’s version of the redundant “Colonel Bogey March”!  Johnny’s parents never inquired as to why I trespassed on their premises…not once!  Instead, I behaved like the ancient adult I am and read books between bouts of tugging my hunter’s pup-tent hammock all around the yard to catch some medicinal rays.  Trips to tanning booths would be much easier to tell the truth!  Pick your poison?

Far be it from me to wish that “all your Christmases be white” because in 1962 a popular local high school band director, who innovatively concocted a small jazz ensemble and invited me to participate as THE girl singer, hysterically lambasted me in front of my teenage peers for forgetting the words to “White Christmas” — a melody which I now detest and which will forever remain absent from my repertoire of favorites.  Besides, Rosemary Clooney, Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen own that sucker by now!  I am, instead, praying for sunny days clear through to spring so that I can sunbathe my little heart out and no longer resemble a teenager with a serious case of acne “all over my little body”!  (Apologies to Jonathan Winters!)  Wherever (and whenever) there’s a Wedding Anniversary, New Year’s Day, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Palm Sunday…IF there’s a smidgen of sunshine, I’ll be there…(Apologies to Henry Fonda as “Okie” Tom Joad in “The Grapes of Wrath”!  Google John Steinbeck’s classic, and you’ll completely understand!)

“Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy.  Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry.  Sunshine on the water looks so lovely.  Sunshine almost always makes me…Psoriasis-free!”  (Apologies to John Denver!)

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