Monday, May 12, 2008

My Mothers Day, 2008

My Mother’s Day today went much like everyone else’s, I imagine …. Get up and make pancakes, go to church (oh, no, wait, we didn’t, because two of the kids refused to get dressed on time) then gather ‘round to open up my Mother’s Day gifts -- the requisite small bowls (when *I* was in school, we called them ashtrays, un-p.c. as that might be today) made by the kids in art class, and the traditional decoupage candle holder. Brayden also made me a very neat memory book, and Blaine gave me a new soap dispenser for our guest bathroom.

You think I’m kidding.

I am not.

He also gave me a new paper napkin dispenser for the same bathroom.

Again, with the not kidding.

What I should also tell you, in fairness, is that the soap dispenser and paper napkin holder were gifts number two and three, and things that I *did* want. Gift number one was something I asked for weeks ago --- wanted more than you could possibly know, and possibly more than is cool or hip to admit -- tickets to tonight’s REO Speedwagon concert at our local amphitheater.

Have I ever told you of my deep and abiding love for REO Speedwagon? I pink puffy heart REO, and always have. Always will. Long live Kevin Cronin. Other bands have come and gone, but they are my constant. (I know, I’m a true child of the 80’s and I don’t know whether to be proud, or apologize.) I love almost everything they’ve ever done, be it their stuff from the 70’s, 80’s or more recent work (“recent” being a relative term.) That’s not to say they’ve not had any stinkers … have you heard the reggae version of Keep on Loving You? Ick. And despite fan appeal, I can’t stand the talking guitar in 157 Riverside Avenue. But still, for the most part --- LOVE THEM.

I have seen them in concert, as a conservative guess, at least a dozen times. In fact, now that I think about it, probably more like fifteen or twenty. Back in the 80’s, during the height of their popularity, I saw them at least once a year – I ALWAYS went if they were in town, and loved the outdoor concerts best of all. I’ve seen them time and again in OKC, and also in North Dakota and Ohio. Last year, I missed them at the Georgia State Fair by one day when we were out of town and seriously, I almost cried. So when I found out they would be playing here on Mother’s Day this year, I bought tickets and then told Blaine that was what he was giving me for my present. Luckily, he likes them too, so we looked forward to the evening. We didn’t buy the reserved seating down in the front of the amphitheater because it seemed sort of expensive, especially by the time they tack on the online service fees, and amphitheater fees, but still, I couldn’t wait. I never sit down at an REO concert and dance the entire time, so I figured being in the general admission area just meant I would have more space to move around. Good for me; good for the people sitting next to me; not so good for the people behind me who have to witness my uncoordinated-yet-enthusiastic flailing about, but mainly what matters … good for me.

You know my BFF Louis that I talk about on this site from time to time? Well, he and his wife also bought tickets so we could “double date” -- how fun is that? Then, about a week ago, Blaine had to take a good long look at his current physical situation (allergy problems, sinus infection, and partial root canal that the military can’t finish until the end of the month which is killing him) and admit to himself that there was no way he could spend several hours at an outdoor concert. The weather here, just in its difference from Georgia, specifically the winds, has been bothering him for months, and he simply can’t bear to be outside for long at all. So, our “double date” plans turned into “do you mind if I tag along with the two of you?” kind of plans …. But that’s ok, Louis and Lori are good sports, and it was still going to be a great time. I mean, it’s REO, how can you NOT love it???

The concert was tonight, and yep, I loved it. Night Ranger first, which was fun. I must admit I was a little disappointed that they, meaning REO, only played for an hour and a half. And, they didn’t play Tough Guys, which is pretty much grounds for getting my ticket money refunded back to me as far as I’m concerned, but still with the loving it --- I did. We Rode the Storm Out, Rolled with the Changes, Took it on the Run, decided we *could* Fight this Feeling, realized it was Time for Us to Fly, and ultimately agreed to Keep on Loving You, plus a host of others. I danced, smelled marriage-awanna for the first time in years (I said SMELLED it, not smoked it!) and got to enjoy a night of beautiful weather and good music with dear friends. And, since I was the designated driver, did NOT have to pay six bucks for a beer, which is always a plus.

But (you knew there had to be a but, didn’t you?) I had a realization tonight that made me sort of sad. At all the other REO concerts I’ve ever been to, I did the sort of frenzied dancing in the aisles that leaves me sweaty, exhausted, and happy at the end of the night. This time … well …. Louis’ wife was not feeling well and honestly was a good sport just to stick it out until the end of the evening, let alone kick up her heels with me. Louis stood with me to be polite, but isn’t much of a dancer himself. So instead of the wild chaotic mess of terrible (yet extremely fun) dancing that I normally do, tonight was sort of a lame shuffle from side to side. The music was good, and I still had fun, just not the uninhibited rock-fest that it normally is for me.

About twenty feet to my left, there was another group of adults enjoying the concert on a blanket together. Three of them sat on the blanket, having a perfectly lovely time, singing along to the music. But the fourth guy, well, he totally rocked all night. Hair down to his waist, black t-shirt, air guitar like I’ve never seen it before --- this guy was having an AWESOME time and didn’t care if anyone around him thought he was goofy. He wasn’t hurting anyone, wasn’t stumbling drunk or spilling beer on anyone, just having a blast all by himself, rocking out to each and every song.

I thought it was a hoot, watching him, and at one point during the evening I turned to Louis and said, “I’m surprised none of his friends are dancing with him …. He’s having such a good time! You know, twenty years ago, I would totally have gone over there and danced with him.” And Louis just smiled and said, “Yep, you would have.”

So then I got to thinking --- what’s wrong with me? What happened to my sense of spontaniety? My sense of fun and wildness and the freedom to dance all night at a concert if I want to? Since when is it not ok to walk up to wild-hair man and join in his fun?

I shouldn’t be celebrating Mother’s Day, I should be celebrating Great-Grandmother’s Day, because that’s how I act. I am an Old. Fart.

Anyway, I’ve already decided that next year, I’m splurging for the VIP seats. Those fans down there were jamming, and I want to be a part of that. Partly because I am determined to re-discover my own, personal fun streak. And partly because REO has been touring for something like 40 years, and I better take advantage of the fun before I am too old to dance like that. Or they are too old to tour. Or dead. Either of us.


RSMDianne said...

Kristie, Dh and I love REO too. We saw them a couple of months ago at The Grove, a small (1200) seat theater in Anaheim, CA. Way much fun (and they *did do Tough Guys - complete with the Little Rascals lead in). We had seats waaaay in the back, like in the 25th row, lol, and we moved ourselves up to the front for the encores. And you can hate me now. Almost 20 years ago, we saw them in Northern California at an outdoor amphitheater with one of dh's friends who knew their former manager. We got backstage passes and met Mr Cronin himself. This was back in the Gary Richrath days, and I remember him being rather grumpy after the show, but Kevin was very nice and gracious when we met. I'm glad you enjoyed your night out.

Angie said...

I'm a fan myself...and I actually have "connections" with Night Ranger! One of the guitarists (Jeff Watson) was, once upon a time, my uncle! Only by marriage, which dissolved over 10 years ago, but still...I was able to go to a Night Ranger concert in the late 80's and have backstage passes and got to meet and greet the band. Plus, when I left, I said "Goodbye, Uncle Jeff", which he adored and kissed me on the cheek. The other girls in the room could have died!!! I was only 12, but it still rocked!

Jacqueline said...

I saw Dylan at the ampitheater back in 2001. I think I got a contact could literally see a thick cloud of smoke above us. Pretty funny. Glad you had fun, but I'm totally with you on wanting to rock out more but not having anyone to rock out with you.

Jeanette, not rockin in GA said...


The Running Girl said...

Sounds like you had a great mother's day. Glad you had a good time.

Anonymous said...

I got a new lawn mower for mother's day and the hubby even let me be the first to use it to mow the lawn last night on mother's day! If that doesn't say love, I'm really not sure what does!!

As for concerts, I like REO too but up in our neck of the woods, we really don't get anyone big....mostly the has beens or wanna bes that the county fair boards can afford! Speaking of the 80's, the last concert I went to was Richard Marx when I was a sophomore in high school 24 years ago!! Talk about being old!

Glad you had a good mother's day!


Anonymous said...

OMG ~ this is your best post EVER! I love REO Speedwagon and had their 8 track in the 80's, I'm proud to say!! I loved you mentioning the songs ~ every word to every song totally popped into my head! My high school boyfriend and I used to say that REO would perform at our wedding and sign Keep on Lovin You!! Aw, young love!! Glad you had fun!!

Renee said...

REO is my Bon Jovi. Glad you had fun. Sorry Blaine missed it....
Happy Mother's Day.

Karen, waiting patiently said...

REO is great, but honestly....HOW COULD YOU? How could you leave us waiting to see how the phone call to your IM went......ugggggg! Just kidding (sort of LOL). I am really really glad you enjoyed mothers day. You most certainly deserve to enjoy that day of all days especially after making other women mothers. I admire you so much.

Lisa L said...

Kristie - at least you got presents nada. But I did get to go out to dinner so that counts. 'Cept that youngest dtr and dear hubby got into a tiff on the way to the restaurant which kinda killed the fun. But then again, our family puts the 'fun' in 'dysfunctional' and what would an 'L' family outing be without a showdown of some sort? We'd probably be all wierded out if there wasn't some damn thing going I loved the comment from your reader who got a new lawnmower, and even had the privilege of using it on mother's

leeanne said...

Oh Kristie, I love,love,love REO too. In fact, about 6 years ago, they were in our town for their appearance at our county fair. They actually arrived a day early and spent it just relaxing. A couple of them went to one of our local golf courses where my friend and I happpened to be playing that night. Just as we walked in for our tee time, the club pro told me that we were going to have a couple of guys golfing with us. In my mind I was thinking "Oh crap!! This is gonna suck!!" because I wasnt a very good golfer at the time and easily intimidated. But outwardly, I asked who it was. When he told me it was 2 guys from REO, I thought 'yeah right'. And just then, here they came walking in!! I about fell over! It was Kevin Cronin and Brian Hitt. The club paired us up with them so we could show them the course. And I tell you what, it was such a blast!! They were so much fun and very forgiving of my less than stellar game....I was SOOO nervous! They even let us have our picture taken with them. They also gave us and our families tickets to the concert the next night and backstage passes to meet them afterwards. About 15 people had those, but they spent practically all of their time with us and our families. It was awesome! Brian signed his drumsticks for my son, Jack, who was learning the drums so he thought that was pretty cool! What an amazing evening and so many memories!! So glad you had a great time and a wonderful Mother's Day too!

Anonymous said...

That beats the shoes I got - that didnt fit cause my feet are too fat and I need a wide. (In all seriousness - the handmade thingys from school melt my heart - and even though Derin announced to the school in his that I love Choklic and Coke and bullying (which was supposed to be spelled 'bowling') - I will still treasure it forever. :)
Love Erin


I'm a Dylan fan and at his last concert here I was on my feet dancing away. Around me others stayed in their seats but I didn't care. I prefer to be moved by the music!

As Dylan sings.... Forever Young ...


Dianna in Louisiana said...

Happy Belated Mother's Day! Sorry Blaine couldn't go to the concert with you, that stinks! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE REO! "I Can't Fight This Feeling Anymore" is one of me and my husband's "songs." I'm so with you about rocking out at concerts.... I can't imagine it any other way.