"They're writing songs of love ... but not for me--"
"Mother, sit down. You're making a spectacle of yourself."
"Let her be, Jeanie. She's having fun."
"A lucky star's above ..."
"You're the star, Mom."
"but not for me."
"Peter, don't encourage her. You're as bad as she is, worse, because you know better."
"So she's singing and dancing, what do you want her do, sit quietly and be a priss like you?"
"I don't want to ruin mother's day, but I'm warning you, Peter."
I've got a little boy named Petey or I had a little boy named Petey.
"Oh, I'm scared, Jeanie."
Those two, I wish they'd quick bickering. I'm forgetting my song. They could argue somewhere else. "Somewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds fly."
"You remember all the words to those old songs, Mom. It's wonderful. I don't know how you do it."
"That's all she remembers."
"Don't be such a bitch."
"Don't be such a suck up. She won't remember two minutes from now anyhow."
"My God, it's all she's got left. Except for us, everyone she knew is dead. How'd you like that? Don't begrudge her her songs."
"They're writing songs of love ... but not for me. Will you dance with me?"
"A lucky star's above ... but not for me. With love to guide the way, I'll find more skies of gray. Lah da di da di da... lah da di dum. You're a very good dancer."
"Do you come here often? You look familiar."
"I try to come as often as I can."
"I knew you'd be a good dancer the minute I laid eyes on you."
"I had a good teacher ... you."
"I taught you to dance?"
"Remember, it was the Lincoln Junior High Social. I had a date with Judy Julkowski."
"You already have a girlfriend? You shouldn't be dancing with me."
"That was years ago, Mom."
"Maybe I'll steal you away from her. I shouldn't tell you this, but you're very good looking. I'm surprised some girl hasn't snatched you up."
"Mom, I've been married and divorced twice."
"Yeah, little Peter can't keep a girl to save his life."
"Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater, had a wife and couldn't keep her. Put her her in a pumpkin shell, and there he kept her very well. I had a little boy named Peter."
"That was me, Mom. I'm all grown up now. Remember? And there's Jeanie. We came to see you."
"She looks familiar. Very pretty. Is she your wife?"
"No, no, she's my sister ... your daughter."
"Hello, mother, how are you?
"Oh, I'm fine, dear..."
"You look great, Mom, with that big smile."
"I've got a smile on my face, for the whole human race. Just singing and dancing in the rain."
"Gene Kelly's got nothing on you. Isn't she great, Jeanie?"
"Certainly the center of attention."
"Jeanie? I dream of Jeanie with the light brown hair ..."
"Jeanie's had her hair about any color you can imagine."
"She's very pretty. Stand over next to her. You know, you two make a very cute couple. You ought to get married."
"If you're not interested, you're a fool. I might steal him away for myself."
"Jeanie's your daughter, and I'm your son."
"We came to visit you, Mother."
"You did! How nice."
It was a very nice visit, but now we have to go, don't we, Peter."
"Oh, but you just got here."
"No, Mom, don't you remember? We had supper with you and had a little birthday party for you."
"Is it my birthday?"
"Well, not till next Wednesday."
"Happy birthday to me--"
"Neither of us could make it then, so we celebrated early. Jeanie baked some cupcakes and put candles on them and you blew them out."
"I did? How many candles?"
"There were six, Mother, and you blew them out on your first try."
"Six? I'm older than six."
"Well, we couldn't risk a fire, Mom."
"A fire! Oh, you scamp."
"And Jeanie knitted that beautiful sweater for you. It looks like it will keep you nice and warm."
"Oh, I love it. It'll be my favorite."
"And Peter bought you some CD's, Big Band Favorites and Mitch Miller."
"How nice. Thank you both so much."
"No, Mother. Thank you, but now we've got to leave."
"But you just got here."
"I think it's time for Lawrence Welk, Mom."
"Oh, why didn't you say so?"
"Peter and I will watch a little while with you."
"That would be nice." That Lawrence Welk never seems to grow a day older and that wonderful music. They don't write songs like they used to. I can't sit still. That young couple is leaving. Those young folks just don't appreciate good music. It's just as well. I was afraid they'd talk during the show. Ooo, it's Myron Floren, what a dreamboat with that wavy hair. "Da da did dah did dah ... but not for me." DSS
Gordon Petry, 71, of Pekin, Ilinois, teaches English at Bradley University, and is also a singer and song writer, an actor and director. He has climbed the Great Wall of China, and has had five plays produced.
Like this story? Then donate to Downstate Story to ensure that quality fiction lives on.