Topic: Rambling much
Last night was the memorial service for Red, who passed away this week. They had it at his bar, which was the most appropriate place to have had such a celebration. His Marcia wasn't sure it was the best place at first, but Mom assured her that it was perfect. And it was. Helived for that place and was so proud of it.
Paul and I arrived late and when we walked in we could hear Angie, the DJ, on the microphone. She was crying and laughing and telling stories. My heart was breaking for her because when we heard the news of Red's death she told my mom "I don't know how to do this. I've never lost anyone I loved before." Bless her heart, she did an amazing job. Several people stood up to tell stories on Red, from small town friends, dance club friends, family, employees and patrons. One thing is for sure, he was loved. I wanted so badly to tell the story of Red's matchmaking endeavors, but couldn't find the fortitude to stand up there and do it.
When everyone who was going to talk had talked, Angie announced that there would be one last dance at R&B Country. Paul, even though we met dancing, isn't much of a dancer anymore. I stood up because I wanted to dance that last dance. He said no. I wasn't going to let it rest at that - I'd have danced with my mother rather than miss that. But he relented and finally led me onto the dance floor and took me in his arms.
How many dances we've danced on that huge wooden floor is unknown to me, but it's been a lot. We were there the weekend he opened, we danced when my shift was over during my short stints as cocktail waitress, we danced around the enormous belly of my pregnancies, we danced while slightly inebriated more than once and we danced our last dance out there last night.
I don't think that anyone on that dance floor was able to keep the tears from falling during that dance. Angie played one of Red's favorite songs, "I'm Already There" by Lonestar, and it just seemed so perfect. When the song was over, I left the strength and comfort of my husband's arms and made a beeline for my mother who was crying as hard as I was. We held each other as the lights came back up. We heard Angie's voice come on the mic as she called "Last call for alcohol" with a tear-choked voice. And when she said for the last time, her trademark words for the end of the night, "Time to go home ya'll. Time to go and lay naked on your own couch," that we knew it was really over and done. R&B Country was closed. Red is gone. It's the end of an era.
I saw Red's son, Brian, after the song was over. Paul and I took the time to look at some pictures they had put up of Red, Marcia, the employees, the club itself. And when we started to walk across the dance floor I saw him. I knew I had to talk to him, even if he didn't recognize me and I had to introduce myself. But no...he caught my eye about halfway across the floor and a sort of half smile broke onto his mouth. I got close to him and he held out his hand and said, "My God, you haven't changed a bit." I cried as he hugged me so tight I thought my ribs would crack. We talked awhile, he introduced me to his oldest son (who is 14 - are we really old enough to have teenagers?? Egad!) and then the conversation became interrupted by other former and present Wyandotte residents who wanted to talk to him. When we finally got a chance to talk again he told his son that I was his first girlfriend, which I'm sure his son thought was hilarious because we all know 14 year olds can't imagine their parents being silly and goofy as children. Paul and I wandered around and talked to a few more folks we knew, hugged Angie and Mom again and decided to leave.
My husband is not a publicly expressive man, not overly affectionate and not known for his ability to comfort. But he's mine nonetheless. As we stepped through the doors to leave the building I kind of slipped myself under his arm and he held me close, patting me on the arm. Then, in the cold of the night, the rocky unevenness of the parking lot and my sheer clumsiness, we kind of stumbled and staggered a bit. He laughed and said, "How many times have we staggered across this parking lot together, Kristin?" I giggled and said, "I think it was me staggering and you holding me up." He squeezed my arm again and said,
"All thanks to Red."