Blast From the Past
So last Friday, Charlie and I met his friend Frank and his lady, Joan for dinner and drinks. I know that sounds pretty mundane, after all, people meet people for dinner and drinks all the time...no big whoop. The difference is, this date has been nearly 10 years in the making.
Charlie and Frank have worked together for around 18 years. I didn't quite know the exact number until Frank said "1985" and I thought, "My God, you guys have worked together since Averie was born?" Charlie nodded an affirmation. It's funny how I think of all things with a timeframe in terms of my kid's ages. Geez, I'm old. Anyway, I have been hearing for so long about how funny Frank is, how talented, how he is a musician and had been on tour for awhile with his band and knew many, many musicians. He had a love for music and built his own guitar. He had a classic Fender that he took on tour with him. So many great stories, but always through Charlie, never from the source himself.
Over the years, and especially recent years, Charlie and I have tried to get Frank to join us for an outing, but he has always politely declined. Charlie would just say that Frank likes to keep to himself, needs to get home to his son, or whatever. I never liked those excuses. Especially in light of the fact that I have "known" Frank for all these years through the hilarious stories that Charlie would come home with. If there was stress at work for Charlie, and there always was (is), then Frank would be Charlie's comic relief and vice versa. Sometimes, I would be jealous of the "fun" they had at each other's expense. But, it comes down to "whatever gets you through the night", or day, so to speak....right? I mean, I had that kind of fun when Chasity and I worked together at Claim Jumper. But when she left, the fun left and everyone in Accounting turned back into the two-faced, backstabbing, lying bitches they were before, but oops... that's another story. Charlie and Frank always seemed, by laughter, to be able to get each other through some difficult times.
In that sense, I have always wanted to meet this guy whom I have "known" since my oldest child was first born. We just could never get him to come out and play. Until last Friday. We met at Alcatraz Brewing Co in Orange, close to Frank's home. They showed up right on time, and just as Charlie said...it was a pretty easy groove. Frank and Joan, high school sweethearts now reunited after 30 years, were fun and affable. There was no awkwardness, no lapse in conversation. Everything flowed as easily as the liquid refreshment. Once we were finished and the check was paid, the party continued at Frank's place.
Over turkey sandwiches and St. Pauli Girl, we listened to music from "back in the day" and we laughed, talked, reminisced. Frank brought out his Fender AND the lovingly handcrafted guitar. We watched video of Frank playing that very Fender and singing with his band from 1975. It all felt so good. My love for music and the songs swirling around me just gave me the biggest warm hug.
Then Frank said..."I got something for ya Pua...let's REALLY test your music knowledge!"
He gets up and pulls an LP off the shelf and hands it to me with a huge smile on his face. I look at it and my eyes flew open wide.
"Oh my God, Frank! This is completely amazing!"
I show the LP cover to Charlie. He's completely clueless.
"It's the Rutles!
Do you have any idea how cool this is?
"Charlie, take a close look at this guy...Dirk...does he look at all familiar to you?"
Charlie takes off his glasses and concentrates on the Beatle look alike on the cover.
"HEYYYYYYYYY! That's Eric Idle!"
I smile knowingly and look at Frank. Frank nods. "Yes Babe, it is indeed our beloved Python"
Charlie studies the LP cover, reads the stories from the "Tragical History Tour" and the realization of Fab Four rip-off sends him into fits of laughter. When he "gets it", we all start laughing.
It was a great, great time. One of those times that you honestly look forward to happening again and again. And hopefully, not YEARS down the road. Right Frank?