Saturday, February 21, 2015

My Memoir: A Tribute

When I was about ten years old my father remarried a woman from the same small town I was born and raised in. After my parents divorced, my mother moved us to New Mexico where we spent the next seven years. Each summer I would go home to Green River and stay with my father for several weeks. One summer in particular my father's wife Verna Jean helped plan her son's wedding that happened to take place while I was there.

The wedding was held outside in a beautiful yard filled with flowers and rose bushes. Everything was perfect right down to Kim's new bride Judy. She was so sweet with her bubbly personality. She made everyone happy whenever she was around because her laugh and good nature was so contagious. I always loved how she could turn a bad situation around. When it came time for Judy to throw her bouquet of roses to the bridesmaids I watched fascinated all eyes on who would be the lucky girl. On her first attempt, it snagged on a wire that hung just above and fell to the ground in front of the girls. Everyone laughed and Judy tried again. Her second time was not much better the same thing happened. Kim, now impatient, grabbed the bouquet of beautiful roses and threw them directly at me. He was the quarterback and I the receiving end. His aim was directly at my chest so I caught them easily. I looked down at the roses and back at him, then to Judy who was beaming at me. I have never forgotten that moment. How special they both made me feel. I now had a new sister.

Kim and Judy moved to Salt Lake to start their new life and I continued to visit each summer. My Sophomore year I moved back to Green River to finish high school. Kim and Judy would come down all the time for summer trips on the Green River, Lake Powell, birthdays, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. I loved it when they came to visit. Judy always brought her infectious smile that made me want them to stay just a little bit longer.

My first year in Green River took some adjusting to as I made friends and tried to fit in. I decided to enter a contest in which I chose to dance to a popular disco song of the era. Kim and Judy were coming down that weekend and I was practicing my dance number for the contest that was coming up in a few weeks. Judy asked if she could watch me practice and at the time I had no idea she had done choreography. When I finished she asked if she could give me a few pointers. She disappeared and came back with two dish towels. 

"Move your hips," she told me. 

I stood frozen in my spot. What did she mean move my hips. I had just finished my number and she saw me. She repeated her statement as so I moved my hips from side to side. 

"No, no," she said. "Really move your hips. No one can see what you are doing on the back row." 

This was news to me and I was not exactly sure what she meant. She explained every move I made had to be accentuated so the people sitting in the back of the auditorium could see. I did my best or at least what I thought was my best until she took the dish towels tied them together and then proceeded to tie them around my hips. She stood me in front of a mirror and said "Make the dish towels move." What!? For the next two hours she drilled me like an army sergeant and transformed my dance routine into a full blown production number. Then she asked me what I was wearing. I figured I would conjure up something from my closet when she said "I think this number needs a tux and hat." Well that was not anywhere available in Green River, but she assured me she would take care of everything.

The day of the contest I remember feeling excited but more nervous to the point I was not sure I wanted to go through with it. Traffic had held up Kim and Judy so they arrived much later than anticipated. This of course did not help my nerves any but when she pulled out the tux and hat I squealed with delight. The tux was a body suit; black on the bottom with a jacket, gold vest and white shirt sewed to it. The best part were the tux tails and hat. My routine went very well and for added affect Judy told me to look right at the judges at the very end and wink. So I did! 

I was crowned Homecoming Queen that year. I day I will never forget. I doubt very seriously I would have won if it had not been for my dear sister in-law. She gathered me up like an ugly duckling and turned me into a beautiful swan. I could not have done what she did for me on my own. This is the kind of person my dear sister was. Always giving, always willing to help, always smiling. I am so happy and grateful I was part of her life and she a part of mine.