Back in the day when Myrna was still in this vale of tears, back when we had two big incomes and a doorman apartment in Manhattan, we commonly threw down 100 bucks apiece for dinner ("Like it was nothing!" as they say in my hometown) in a new and interesting restaurant. Those days are long gone. Now, I'm an old widowed grandpa living on a retirement budget. My everyday dress is sweats.
So, it's a pretty big deal that I'm going out to dinner at a swanky restaurant this weekend. Dinner and dancing! And the invitation says to "Dress to Impress!"
In true retired grandpa fashion, I'm not picking up the tab. No, I was invited out for the 40th birthday bash of the groom at a wedding I attended last fall. (I think of the couple who got married as "kids," because they are the age of my daughters.)
So, I'll wipe off the grandbaby puke, doff the sweats for one night and put on the Ritz to the best of my ability... which is... well, moderate. My waistline has expanded and the old suits don't fit. So the best I can do is a nice blue blazer and slacks. With the Magic Waistband.
I'll even wear the Jerry Garcia red tie I bought in Philadelphia oh so long ago when I visited Myrna in the hotel she stayed in on a business trip. Her law firm always put her up in a 5 star hotel.
Don't know if I'll ever see that kind of luxury again. Oh, well... I got plenty of that back in the days of wine and roses.
This weekend's go out reminds me of an Alberta Hunter tune that Myrna and I sang together, that really expresses the breathless drama that Myrna loved... "Darktown Strutters' Ball."
Ain't that elegant? (I confess. I do miss so much being called "honey" all the time!)
The "Darktown" part of that song is precious, isn't it? The concept of the tune is totally out of whack with today's PC stupidity. Many a night, Myrna and I did take the taxi up to Darktown, that is to say Harlem, to go to one of our favorite blues and jazz clubs on 125th St.
The black men dressed up in their best suits with two-tone shoes. The black women dressed in their Sunday finest, including those huge black hats with the netting and birds on top. It was like being in a Thin Man movie. My late wife was named after Myrna Loy, a huge Hollywood movie startlet much loved in the Philippines.
Life has changed. It always does. I can never understand the people who talk about how they are politically advanced critters because they embrace change. What the hell choice do we have but to embrace change? It's coming whether or not we want it, and we don't necessarily dictate what that change will be.
Myrna loved drama, excitement, wild nights out on the town and putting on the Ritz. That was a wild and beautiful part of my life. There are some stories I could tell... I don't know if I ever will.
I can look back now in wonder and gratitude, instead of aching and crying because she is gone.
And, it's out this weekend for another chapter. It's not like old times. It never is.