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Friday, January 27, 2012

Mary Gets Rubbed

Lurching headlong into a weekend, newly-freckled and be-blonded by the Florida sun, I return to Minneapolis wondering what will happen next…

If only we knew.

And then I smile. Because of course we know. My iPod! Why, set on “shuffle” and left to its own devices during a Friday-morning commute, my iPod tells the future!

Sic semper tyrannis! E Pluribus Unum! Eenie meenie jelly beanie, the spirits are about to speak! (Sorry, Bullwinkle.)

21st Century Schizoid Man by King Crimson
Rose Garden by Southern Culture on the Skids
Totally Nude by The Wallets
Blue Rondo a la Turk by Dave Brubeck
You Really Got Me by The Kinks
Sing a Song by Earth Wind & Fire

You see that, kids? Happy weekend.

So quickly, before I lose you to naked dancing and air piano, a quick thought…

Because there we were, as we so often are: black-pantsed and white-shirted and side-by-side. Neatly coiffed, hands clasped behind our backs, Mary and I rock gently on our heels, striving for a look that says both “I’m here to serve” and “Please don’t ask me for anything”.

We are standing in the banquet hall, just outside the swinging kitchen doors.

Church service over, a 30-minute bar/reception follows.

Christmas dinner is right around the corner.

“You look nice,” I say.

“No, you look nice,” Mary says.

Ice waters filled to a three-quarters height, butter pats and creams center-table, silverware inspected, we await the storm that will be the next four hours.

“Oy vey,” Mary says.

A man in a suit, comfortably nestled between “old” and “elderly”, is approaching with a surprisingly sturdy gait.

“Mary!” he shouts.

My head swivels to the right, where I watch a blush creep up Mary’s neck.

“You know this guy?” I say out of the side of my mouth.

“Everybody knows me,” she mutters.

The man in the suit wraps an arm around Mary’s shoulders, rubs her upper arm vigorously. “How’re ya, sweetheart? Say, I’m wondering what a guy’s gotta do around here to get a glass of ice water. Can you do that for me, sweetheart?”

Mary, ever the sweetheart, can indeed get this guy a glass of ice water.

I follow her into the back. “No, seriously,” I say, “How does he know your name?”

She shakes her head. “When I was setting up that table just outside the double doors, he was out there.”

“Did he hug you then, too?”

“I’m irresistible to the old guys,” she says, wide-eyed. “They want to squeeze me.”

It’s true. “You’ll probably get a proposal out of the evening.”

“Shaddap,” she says pleasantly.

Thirty minutes later, and Mary comes flying into the back kitchen. “Ack!” We’d just finished serving the salads: huge, glass-bowled affairs passed around tables of eight, family-style. I hold out a piece of fresh fruit to calm her nerves.

“That’s not going to help,” she says, popping it into her mouth. “Mmmm,” she says, “pineapple.”

“So what’s going on?”

She dabs at her lips, checks her lipstick in the polished steel of the hand-towel dispenser. “Do I look like I want to be hugged to you?”

“I personally find you almost indescribably attractive,” I say.

She narrows her eyes at me. “Why I oughta…”

“Why you little…”

We laugh.

“You busy? Come with me. Watch this.”

I follow her out to the floor, where she is engulfed by old- to elderly men. “Mary!” they shout.

“You gotta meet Pearl,” she says, grinning. She pushes me forward.

“Pearl!” they shout.

One of them throws an arm around Mary, rubs her on the back. “You’re nice people, you know that? You’re just nice people.”

And we smile at each other.

Because, darn it. We’re just nice people.

Nice, huggable people.


Have a good weekend, everyone. Don't forget to come back!

34 comments:

Shelly said...

To be adored by any one group of people is a good thing. I think...

Hope your tan lasts a good, long time!

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Hugs are nice but we'd rather have the money.

Pearl said...

Shelly, I have to admit that I have a little more color than I used to!

Delores, cash is always a lovely way to be remembered. :-)

Steadfast Ahoy! said...

They're singing your song: I love you, a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck AAAAAANNNNND a hug around the neck!
Rosemary

esbboston said...

Disclaimer: I don't know you well enough to hug you, but I will show you how I give virtual hugs, so technically I am not sending it to you eXcept for educational purposes.

Me>U<eM

Pearl said...

Rosemary, they really are a lovely group. :-)

ESB, nothing like a good education. Mmmmm. That was warm and not scary at all. :-)

terlee said...

When I was younger, older gentlemen used to go out of their way to chat, hug, pat me on the back. Always--to a man--they would say I reminded them of their wives when they were young. I used to wonder how I could possibly resemble so many different women, and look like I belonged in a time from way before I was even born.

Loved the post. Makes me want a hug from one of those old guys...

jabblog said...

It's nice to be appreciated - a nice warm feeling to go with the money at the end of the function;-)

fishducky said...

Dear funny lady--I saw in LG's post that you were trying to get hold of me. My email address is fishducky@budandfran.com

What's up?

Tom G. said...

Men. We may lose our hair, become forgetful, and suffer from enlarged prostrates, but we can always look forward to indiscriminately hugging the waitstaff.

Eva Gallant said...

Grab your hugs where you can get them! You never know when they will disappear!

Eva Gallant said...

Grab your hugs where you can get them! You never know when they will disappear!

Douglas said...

I'm with Tom G. I thought that's what the female waitstsaff was for.

I'm an old goat, can I give you a hug?

Pearl said...

terlee, amazing how many people want to touch us, isn't it?! :-)

jabblog, it's all I've ever wanted: money and hugs!

Tom G., very nice.

Eva, ooh. I'd not considered that...

Douglas, Mary and I will give you a hug AND bring you a clean fork. It's just how we roll. :-)

Craver Vii said...

I'm not quite elderly, but have a great big hug anyway. :-)

Since taking certain positions of responsibility, I have resorted to the more safe, minimal contact hugs, though I genuinely prefer the "c'mere, you're family" and "I honestly enjoy spending time with you" kind of hugs.

Ms Sparrow said...

Celebrate your huggable-ness, my dears!

jenny_o said...

I like hugs and it's a good thing. When you're little and sedentary and someone wants to hug you, there's not much you can do except enjoy it :)

Hope you came home from your trip with renewed health!

Joanne said...

And on the flip side, thanks for being patient and nice to the old folks.

CarrieBoo said...

Getting older has its advantages.

Leenie said...

You have the most eclectic and wise IPod. I'd think about Singing a Song while Totally Nude in my Rose Garden but in January in Idaho that's totally Schiziod, Man. I'll just have to dig out my Brubeck and Rondo a la Turk.

Give Mary a hug for me.

Wanderoke said...

Leenie- That's too funny :)

And as for hugs, don't give me one of those "Christian Side Hugs" (go ahead and google it), I want a full on bear hug arms wrapped tight with a belly laugh of joy to see each other.

wanderoke.blogspot.com

Susan in the Boonies said...

I knew it.
Or as my aunt from Kentucky would have said:
I knowed it.
I knowed it, I knowed it, I knowed it.

You ARE nice people.

And now, it's been confirmed.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Being huggable is the very best way to be. Old people have always liked to hug me, too. Of course, now I am one, doggone it.

Belle said...

I used to love the Kinks! You are both nice, huggable people for sure!

Happy Frog and I said...

I've had a rubbish week but I knew that your post would cheer me up and it certainly didn't fail to deliver. Plus I love that you are into The Kinks as well as the previously mentioned The Cure. I do love Mary you are very lucky to have such a good and entertaining friend and I hope you have a good weekend. x

Happy Frog and I said...

I've had a rubbish week but I knew that your post would cheer me up and it certainly didn't fail to deliver. Plus I love that you are into The Kinks as well as the previously mentioned The Cure. I do love Mary you are very lucky to have such a good and entertaining friend and I hope you have a good weekend. x

Gigi said...

Ack! is right. I only like hugs from people I know (and like) - then hug away.

Hugs from complete strangers? That would freak me out.

Nessa Roo said...

It's nice to have a fan-club.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Sounds like you and Mary should have had combat pay that night! Ack, indeed! So glad you've been enjoying a warm weather vacation and hope you come back still tanned and healthy!

River said...

Ack! Hugs and arm rubs from total strangers?
*shudder* pleaseletgopleaseletgopleaseletgo..

Daisy said...

Us old folk have certain advantages; so I send you a hug too!

Tempo said...

Most of these old gentlemen crave human contact (apart from their yearly prostate exam) Most young women cringe at their approach thinking them creepy old potential pedophiles. But you and Mary...youre good people you are..

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Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

"striving for a look that says both “I’m here to serve” and “Please don’t ask me for anything”. "
I love this line because it describes my demeanor in the entire lifetime of minimum wage jobs I held.
Also? I wish there was an open bar after my " church services." ;). That could explain all the hugging.