OK, so we’re different
My wife Marsha says we are just too different, not so much from other people, just from each other. She was born in Brooklyn and reared in Long Island and I was a farm kid and even though I’ve lived my adult years in Chicago, San Diego and Phoenix, I always will be.
So there you have it. I don’t know if she likes saying that we’re different, excuse me, too different, but she does say it a lot.
My wife is a fear-driven individual who has been extremely successful, which gives you an idea of the amount of fear that drives her inner engine. Now me, as I waited four years ago in the waiting room for my open-heart surgery knowing that my Dad died at 62 and my brother at 63 and I’m 62 now, too, was I anxious? Not really. I mean, if I don ’t make it, I’m not going to know. And if I do, then it’ll be all right. Right?
So, OK. That’s one difference and I can see where it could be a biggie. But last night was kind of a clincher. A nightmare had gripped Marsha, as it sometimes does. She was screaming “Help! Help! Help Me!!” I instantly put my arms around her to hug and console her and tell her that she was safe and at home.
Her nightmares are usually about snakes and the like. I asked her what this nightmare was about. “You were trying to kill me,” she said. “No, not yet,” I replied.
Then I told her that she has a wonderful life with three great sons and six perfect grandchildren and to go on back to sleep and dream of something happy. She told me I talked too much and that she was awake now and needed to turn the TV on. Which is why I’m here writing.
What had I been dreaming about? Well, it wasn’t actually dreaming. I had been thinking of Sleepy LaBeef.
I told you that was the clincher.
If one person in 100 knew who Sleepy was, I’d be amazed. Sleepy was a rockabilly singer. A big man with a booming bass voice whose performance you could gauge much like a car’s MPG. His was SPH, Songs Per Hour. Some performers’ song lists may total 20, but Sleepy could run through 20 in a set, do 20 more in the next and 20 or 30 more in a third — — without stopping for air. He was music’s Energizer Bunny. He just kept going and going. Half the tunes would be familiar old favorites and half were those that not only had the audience never heard of, but members of the band, too. He was known as the Human Juke Box. And unlike many performers who try new or unfamiliar tunes that might test a listener’s palate, Sleepy could make his audience love ’em all and clamor for more, which is what a performer wants. I looked him up last night and his glowing obituary appears in the New York Times and The Rolling Stone. I was glad for that.
In those days I was in my footloose 30s, touring the country, driving around in an English sports car, attending sporting events and concerts and sort of dating whoever. I had the good fortune to see many performers, practically everyone from Annie Lennox to ZZ Top, but I almost best remember Sleepy, playing in a dark dive in Tempe, AZ. I say almost because I haven’t thought of it in forever. Only on the night when my wife dreams that I’m trying to kill her evidently.
Now what was my wife, who was not my wife in those days, doing in those days? She was raising two sons, and later a third, trying to build a successful career while trying to keep a marriage together.
I can see where this all is going.