Sunday, March 7, 2010

In which my family listens to Primo sing

September 2008 The Sunday after our wedding. Primo's mom and dad are gone. His brother and his stepdaughters have left. It's just my mom, Dr J, her gentleman caller, and my brother and my sister. We have finished our big family meal with my dad's aunt and uncle and cousins. They have gone home. But the night? She is still young.

We need to go out and do something fun.

"Let's go to karaoke," someone - me? Primo? suggests.

We don't invite my mom because we're so sure she won't want to go. After all, Sly didn't want to hear Primo sing. He threw a big hissy fit and walked out of the bar while Primo was singing. I don't doubt my mom would want to hear Primo, but she is not a late-night bar kind of person. (Nor am I. But I am married to one.)

Mom is insulted. She wants to go! She wants to hear Primo. Well, great. But we're going to be out for a while. Is she sure?

Yes. She is sure. She wants to hear him sing one song, then leave. She and Dr J will go in his car, Primo, my brother, my sister and I will go in our car. Perfect.

We get to the bar and surprise - it is horribly smoky. Awful. One of the main reasons I don't like to go out with Primo. I hate cigarette smoke. At least, I hate stale cigarette smoke inside an unventilated building. I love fresh cigarette smoke in the fresh air and fully intend to start smoking when I am 70. My grandmother's life* was cruelly cut short by smoking when she was 96. Alas.

Mom and Dr J take one step inside the bar, smile bravely, and say that maybe they'll just wait in the car until it's Primo's turn to sing. That's OK. I understand. I tell them I will come get them.

The bar is not very busy and the guy who is running the karaoke starts to hit on my sister almost immediately. The story of my life. My sister came to get me at work once for us to go to lunch and my boss and a co-worker drooled. "Your sister oozes sensuality," my boss said. "Yeah, you guys are exact opposites," the co-worker told me. Thanks, guys. She got the accessorizing and makeup gene, the bosom and the hotness. I know. Thanks for reminding me again that I am the Smart One.**

Not being busy + a hot sister = Primo gets to sing right away. I summon my mom and Dr J.

Oh my he sings beautifully! my mom swoons. She swoons over everything Primo does. He can do no wrong. As far as she is concerned, he hung the moon and the stars. She is delighted that he is part of our family now.

I expect them to leave now that they've heard the one song they said they would listen to, but mom asks Primo if he'll sing something else. Dr J gets a round of beers. The tattooed Indian guys in the Harley hats playing pool next to us hit on my sister.

Primo sings again. My mom is drinking a beer. My mother! My sister sings. She's not bad.

My mom is now flipping through the songbook, taking notes. She has a list of songs for Primo to sing. Oh heck - she's decided she is going to sing herself. She pulls Dr J arm and takes him to the mike. They sing, "When I'm 64." That ship has sailed, but it's still sweet. She has Primo and my brother sing with them.

This is my mother. Who was going to stay for one song, then leave.

But she enjoys listening to Primo so much and is having so much fun that she and Dr J don't leave until 1:15 a.m.

She never does throw that hissy fit.

* This is the grandmother they tried to bury in pale pink lipstick. Please. She was always in dark red lipstick. Always. Fortunately, we rectified the situation. My friend I., who came to the funeral with me, had some red lipstick in her purse and she graciously applied it to my dead grandmother's lips. "Otherwise," my mom said, "Grampa A. won't recognize her when she gets to heaven." Yes, not theologically sound, but a mitvah nonetheless.

** Except my sister is also smart. Good thing she's nice or I would have to smother her.


  1. Just catching up on the Adventures of Ms.Gold Digger. I have missed so much. I want this to be a book. I do. I want it.

  2. Of COURSE your mother wanted to go out....afterall, she's a 'Wild Woman from Wiscongo'.... :-D (White-Chocolate)

  3. OH I love your mother! The apple doesn't fall far...

  4. Thanks, Qbn Girl! Me, too.

    Anon, she is indeed. PS Don't tell my mom about this blog, please. I don't think she'd approve. She'll just have to wait until it's a book.

    Maureen - my mom rocks. Sure, she can drive me nuts, but in the normal mom way, not in the co-dependent, zero-sum, drunken crazy way.

    BTW, a former boyfriend, after meeting my mom, my aunt and my sister, commented that it wasn't that the apple didn't fall far from the tree, it's that the tree placed the apple exactly where it wanted it. Yes, I come from a long line of micromanagers.

  5. Found your blog from your comment about the bacon on Slate yesterday, and am having a lot of fun reading it. This post is my favorite so far!

  6. Thanks, Saiko! I wish I didn't have so much material, but at least I can put it to good use.

  7. I like your mom's Lipstick Theology, and appreciate your friend I. A mitzvah, indeed, and this from a good Lutheran girl.