Women are smart, beautiful, good under pressure, smell good and make our life as men a lot easier. There. I said it. The secret's out. I've always gotten along well with women. They're easy to talk to and I've been told they have an easy time talking to me. I always take that as a compliment. I remember on a gig break at Lily Langtry's in Old Bridge, NJ (They had a full size stuffed bear in the lobby....Judge Roy Bean and all...) I was shooting the breeze with a nice lady. As I was getting up for the next set she said, "Hey, I've known you for ten minutes...told you how much I weigh...how much I make...after taxes.....what I paid for my house after a small inheritance....how much that was....where I live and where I work. You ought to be an interrogater. I didn't even know how much I was giving up." I'm paraphrasing, but that's close. She left and I never saw her again. Maybe she thought I had too much on her. But this scenario has happened to me many times over the years. I don't try. I'm just....curious.
So I guess I'm easy to talk to. That's nice. Of course, sometimes I'm not interested and that's where my meager acting skills come into play. But generally, I like listening. How many times have broken hearted girlfriends of pals of mine poured their hearts out to me so I can make it all better. I can't tell them the truth. But I always tried to soften the blow.
I like women. I've managed to stay friends with ex girlfriends and my ex wife. That says a lot about them. I don't mean to give the impression that's a long list. It's not. I'm flattered...and amazed that any woman would want to be associated and seen in public with me. In high school I had a lot of girl "friends." That came in handy when I had my eye on someone and could send a gender friendly pal in to lay the ground work. Can that backfire? Sure. But that's the fun of it. But then I'd have to be the middle man for them. Can that backfire? Sure. Feets do your stuff.
As long as I can remember women have been there. My mother was there at my birth. My grandparents lived next door to the first house I remember at 616 Monroe Ave, Plainfield NJ. My grandmother and I became fast friends and I could always depend on her for a couple of cookies or a soda. My grandfather taught me how to play checkers, cards, field ground balls and about the importance of being able to hit to all fields.
My parents bought their own home around 1958 - 9 and after her husband died my aunt shared the place with us. Another woman I could always drop in on for a snack or some TV.
How many King Kongs, Son Of Kongs, The Things, The Crawling Eyes (Hey....It's an eye!!!! Poke It!!!!) etc.....did poor old Aunt Catherine sit through. She seemed to enjoy it and didn't mind telling me when my time was up.
My grandfather died in '60 and my grandmother moved in. Some architectural changes and I had my three favorite women in the same house. Lots of escapes. No one ever knew where I was. They just assumed I was ok. And there was my sister to keep me honest. We all had many summer nights sitting on the screened in porch as they knocked back a couple beers and watched the neighborhood comings and goings as I tried to decipher the female language. I don't remember my brother or father spending much time out there. We all needed our escapes. I tape recorded some of those evenings but they've slipped into the ether.
Once The Beatles and music took over I had a perfect escape in my grandmother's bedroom. She had....a record player!!!!! And man did she get sick of Twist and Shout! Years later, when I'd be leaving for the gig she'd always say, "Now ....do you have your banjo?" I gave up trying to explain it was a bass and just said, "Yeah, thanks Gram."
My brother was eight years older and my father was either working or volunteering ....(escaping...?).....at the Plainfield Rescue Squad. So it was me and the ladies most of the time. I've always said that I think I'm half chick. All these....feelings......make them stop!!!!! I had the best of both worlds growing up. Lots of guys to play baseball with, make rafts, climb trees, get into fights, irritate girls and just generally barely escape death every day. There were also lots of girls in the neighborhood that we had no problem hangin' out with....to a point. " What?.....You wanna play football with us? I ....don't think so."
My mother, aunt and grandmother are no longer around. Many times I've wished I could go back to one of those summer nights on the porch in Plainfield and join in the conversation. They....we.... laughed a lot. They were very generous to my friends. Post baseball games there'd always be lemonade for everyone. My grandmother spent the better part of an afternoon making her famous "Yum Yum Cake" for one of my pals. We just hung around waiting. A crowd gathered and that cake didn't last too long. I haven't run into that cake since.
West Sixth St. was a cool, everyone watched each others back kind of neighborhood. My father applied first aid to many, my mom chauffered and my grandmother cooked. My aunt was willing to chauffer but nobody'd get in the car with her. Except for me. I miss them. They weren't Jane Wyatt or June Cleaver.....but I miss them.
And so it goes. These days I'm lucky to be sharing life on the river with a beautiful, smart, caring woman whose four kids, I hope, appreciate her as much as I do. Hey guys! Let's tell them that every now and then. Peace.