Last night the Girl went on her first sleepover. Returning, I shook off the cold as I walked into the bright warmth of our kitchen.
The Boy and the Husband were watching the Lawrence Welk Show as they made the finishing touches on the Navy Bean Soup and slivered the fresh-baked wheat bread away, nibbling.
At least it's almost over, I said, rolling my eyes at the Husband as I always do when the opening credits begin.
Actually, it just started.
I looked at the Boy. He was nodding his head along with the music, watching as the pastel-clad performers pushed a green Model T labelled "California or Bust" off the stage. I looked back that the Husband, who smiled and shrugged his shoulders.
The Husband and I have a few key points of disagreement 16 years into our marriage: I still want to have a dog someday, and he likes to watch the Lawrence Welk Show. He links it to memories of Saturday nights with his grandparents in the same way that I link to Jack Buck calling the Cardinals or watching Perry Mason to evenings with mine.
Nostalgia is great, but watching Lawrence Welk is the audio-visual equivalent of eating Wonder Bread.
I looked at the screen and sighed. Defeated this time, I opened a barleywine-style beer that we'd been saving, split it carefully between two star-speckled 12-ounce glasses, and sat down on the window seat.
A few songs later, the spotlight centered on a brunette in a puffy red polka dot dress, her hair falling in curly tendrils around her face. Ostensibly alone in the moonlight, she croons a half-tempo version of "Can't Buy Me Love," complete with full orchestra and backup singers. I just shook my head. Sweetie, what do you think would have happened if your grandparents and the other blue-hairs watching this had realized that this was a Beatles song?
I don't know, he said, but that's about the worst job of lip-syncing I've ever seen.
And he was right.
I watched in horrified fascination for the rest of the show, as if witnessing a slow motion Interstate pile-up. They were all lip-syncing, all of them, in every number. Meet Me in St. Louis. San Jose.
The final number was set in an old fashioned gas station dripping with greenery and flowers. Olive overalled attendants stood between the pumps as a red MG--a real MG, with chrome everywhere and a beautiful tenuously-attached triangular wing vent--pulled up. The two grey-haired men inside asked for vacation advice--how about Sheboygan? or Paducah? and the attendants took off into clattering unison tap dancing.
And lip-syncing with a full orchestral accompaniment.
I am so disillusioned.