Monday, September 13, 2010

Just a gigolo...

My uncle and cousin recently came stayed with us as part of a "broad" (rhymes with road) trip between my cousin's college graduation and a potential new job. We lingered over dinner, with lots of stories of family and politics.  One of my favorite stories was about my uncle and my great aunt - MH.   She never married (others would referred to her as a "maiden aunt"), but had 20+ nieces and nephews to dote on when she was younger.  She owned a jewelry company and often went on buying trips.  I recall my mom saying she'd taken her and my aunt to NYC on a buying trip.  They skated at Rockefeller Center and did all the usual touristy things.

During dinner the other evening, my uncle told another travel story.  My great-aunt was on a buying trip to England.  My uncle, having been in Europe traveling a bit after he graduated from college, came to London to meet up with her for a few days.  She was staying at The Dorchester, still a pretty tony hotel to this day.  She took my uncle for dinner at the hotel, and got a rather odd response.  He was wearing his Gonzaga University Letterman sweater (with a capital "G") and had long hair.  Long, thick, dark, wavy hair.  As a side note, when I young, I thought he looked like Jesus.

They ate dinner and my great aunt excused herself for a moment.  The waiter came over and said, "hey, nice job.  You're doing pretty well for yourself" while motioning towards my great aunt's seat.  It took my uncle a second to realize that the waiter that thought he was a gigolo.  The waiter then asked, "hey, what's the G stand for."  My uncle, in complete deadpan, "God."

We laughed until we cried at the table that night as my uncle told us the story.  My great aunt, upon hearing my uncle tell her the story that night after their dinner, responded likewise.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A DIs or Miss?

I made several friends from orientation the first week I arrived at Cornell.  Many of these friends were from departments in their graduate programs that were part of the endowed part of CU.  Translation = better events and MUCH better free food.  In contrast, I was in the state school.  Translation = cheese and crackers for special guests 2-3x a semester.

I often tagged along with my friends to poetry and fiction readings, including Maya Angelou and Tim O'Brien.  After the events, we ate like kings.  As a graduate student, free food was never to be taken lightly.  And free good food was even better.  Well, that was worth the long trek down campus by foot or a 15 min search for a parking place by car.

At one such event, I went along with some friends to a function the English Department was throwing at a professor's house.  It was an annual event I was told.    Several friends and I were down on the edge of the lake (the "beach") standing around chatting.  Another woman joined in the conversation.  The only thing I remember about her was her hair.  It was long.  Crystal Gayle long.  She waved it back and forth a bit like Cher, but without all that annoying lip smacking.

After a few minutes of conversation, she says (and I remember this clearly even though it was well over 10 years ago), "I'm going to stand by the fire."  She took one step backwards and turned around.  Yep.  She just turned her back on us.

Really.  Did she mean it?  Or just happen to have a fire close by and she was cold.  I like to think the latter.  Still makes me laugh and shake my head with a wry smile every time I think about.  Her words forever become the ultimate inside joke.  Instead of "excuse me" it became "I'm going to go stand by the fire."

A timeless classic.