Monday, September 13, 2010

Mini Vans, Mercedes & Leon Russell

It's hard to be cool toodling down the freeway in a blue minivan

…or down a windy road

…in even in a parking lot at an old folks home.

Let's face it, it's hard to be cool at anything when you're part of the over 50 set.

But even if I drove one of those nifty Z cars (a candy apple red one, of course), or  streaked my hair (perhaps purple or blue) or knew all the words to any song sung by the Black Eyed Peas,  (Tonight's Gonna Be A Good Night or Boom Boom Pow), whatever cool card I may or may not have had would have been unceremoniously snatched up and revoked last week.

Last Thursday, my BFF and former college roommate and I ventured out to see  Leon Russell  at the Granada Theater, a small venue in Dallas. Even though  none (as in zero) of my students knew who our beloved Leon was, even though only one co-worker and my principal knew who our beloved Leon was and even though no one at school could name a song or even hum a few bars of a Leon Russell song, my excitement was undeterred.

So what if Leon is 68 years old? As a member of the Leon Russell mailing list, this lack of Leon knowledge was a  travesty that ranked right up there with the entire Neil Young debacle from last year.

My friend Karen drove to the show. She drives a Mercedes (which makes her infinitely cooler than me). She doesn't teach (which makes her infinitely wealthier than me). She has a nice job that doesn't involve cooties, grades or rubber chickens (which probably makes her smarter than me).

Shortly after 7:30 p.m. we arrived in the parking lot in her cool, shiny Mercedes and started to pull into a space by the fence line where an elderly gentleman dressed in a Hawaiian shirt, Bermuda shorts and double knee braces was standing alone. Although slightly balding, the man had hair like Leon and a beard like Leon.

"Oh, look there's Leon," my friend joked.

"Don't hit him," I said, "that would be bad."

Since the parking spot was too tight, she backed out and maneuvered into another space. While walking through the parking lot, we saw the elderly gentleman alone again.

"Oh look, there's Leon again," my friend teased.

"It can't be. Why would Leon be walking around here by himself in shorts?" I said remembering my image of Leon from the 70s with his signature suit and hat. "Do you think it's him?"

No, couldn't be, we decided.

For a brief moment, I thought about going up to him and talking to him, but I dismissed the idea. I suppose I didn't want to appear foolish since we had already dismissed him as a Leon Russell wanna-be. 

Instead, I did exactly what I tell my students never to do. I did nothing.

"Never be afraid to ask someone something," I always say.

"Never assume anything," I always tell them.

Several hours later, just before Leon was scheduled to take the stage, my friend leaned over and whispered, "I'm going to laugh if Leon comes out in a Hawaiian shirt."

 "No way," I said.

But he did.

Lesson learned.

5 comments:

Nancy Flanagan said...

My question: What was Leon driving? If it was a mini-van, we're all in trouble.

Great post.

M H Bonham said...

Woman with the Rolling Stones ringtones likes Leon Russell? Wow, I didn't know you were into C&W. That's funny!

mybellringers said...

Yes, I like country but Leon really isn't country. He's more bluesy, southern rock and roll, but you are probably too young for that ;-)

Hummingbird57 said...

Ummmmm, in my 13+ years as a Leon Lifer, I've never seen Leon wear shorts and very rarely does he walk around in the parking lot. He will either be walking with a cane or riding on his scooter. Sorry.

mybellringers said...

Well it was definitely him because he had the same shirt when he played. And this was when we were still having 100 plus temperatures… So, yes, it really was him and we regret to this day not talking to him.