wedding reception, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Sentimental Journey

I Will Always Remember Frances

At the wedding rehearsal dinner party, she was the 80-year-old grandmother who held tightly onto her cane as she slowly approached the piano where I was playing love songs.  Once she arrived, everything changed.  "Do you know some boogie woogie?" she asked, and then started singing a boogie woogie bass line while shaking her, uh, body, the bottom part.  "Sure, I do!"  And the Friday night entertainment really began.  That woman could dance!  And soon other people of all ages were dancing, too.  "Let's sing something," she suggested, her blue eyes holding mine and not letting go.  Big smile, standing very close.  She, my Ella Fitzgerald, and I, her Duke Ellington. "Sentimental Journey" segued into "Chattanooga Choo-Choo" and somehow we ended up in "My Blue Heaven" and on and on.  Then she starting getting warmed up.  "Can you play 'I Feel Good' by James Brown?"  By this time, on my third glass of chardonnay, not only could I play it but I could play it really, really loudly and growl as I sang and she and everyone sang and danced.  That had to be the climax, I thought.  Then she said, "Do you know any Marvin Gaye?  I really like 'Sexual Healing' but I don't know if we ought to do that one here."  Sadly, I did not know it well enough and we picked something more typical for such an event.

I will learn that song, and I pray that I will see Frances again one day, and we will sing Marvin Gaye songs and she will dance and she will smile and she will teach the younger ones how to really live it up.