Hold me in your arms dear – dream with me,
Cradled by your kisses – tenderly,
While a choir of angels – from above
Sing our melody of love. – H. Englemann/T. Glazer, sung by Frank Sinatra
Bill and I ate lunch yesterday at Oregano’s, his favorite pizza place here in AZ. The next best pizza to Fox’s, according to the Chicago native who is my husband. Could be. Anyway, though there are a number of Oregano’s restaurants around the city, every single one of them is busy all of the time. That’s okay. It’s worth the wait.
Busy often equates to noisy, and as we age, noise becomes a bit more of a problem. But neither too many customers nor noise were a problem yesterday, mostly because we got there when they first opened. When they unlocked the door, our noses were pressed up against it so that we nearly fell in. Not really, but frankly, it was almost that bad. The pizza ovens hadn’t even gotten hot.
We were led to a table (and let me assure you that there were a few other 60- and 70-somethings already seated), and the server took our order – a 12-inch sausage pizza, a big salad, and two diet Pepsi’s. Because what else?
Oregano’s has a schtick, and it’s part of the fun. Overhead on small-screen black and white televisions they are always playing either some sort of old romantic musical featuring a 20-year-old Frank Sinatra, an episode of The Lone Ranger, or an episode of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. But the televisions are on mute, because overhead from the speakers come the sounds of Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin or Perry Como or Rosemary Clooney.
And here’s the thing: I know the words to almost every song. As I’ve said before, I mistakenly use every one of my grandkids’ names before I get to the right one, but I can sing I love you a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck though you make my heart a wreck. You make my heart a wreck and you make my life a mess. Make my life a mess, yes a mess of happiness…. And so forth.
Right near our table sat a huge radio, the kind that folks listened to before RCA televisions began making their appearances in American homes…..
Bill reminisced about how he listened to the radio before they got a TV, though he admitted that mostly he was interested in playing outside with his friends.
That made me start thinking about the radio that sat on my mom’s kitchen counter when I grew up in Columbus. As she would prepare meals, or sweep the kitchen floor, or put groceries away, or dust the living room tables, she always had the radio turned on, tuned to KFAB radio out of Omaha. And she listened to music from the likes of Dinah Shore and Peggy Lee and Nat King Cole and Tony Bennett and Doris Day and Eydie Gorme and Robert Goulet. And later in the 50s, maybe Bobby Vinton or Connie Stevens.
I don’t recall whether or not she sang along to the tunes. But what I do know is that somehow all of those lyrics from all of those songs that were playing in the background as I ran in and out of the house, or maybe as I did my chores, have stuck in my head all of these years. That’s likely why I have all of those lyrics in my head, even when I can’t remember where I put my purse.
You saw me standing alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own.
You knew just what I was there for
You heard me saying a prayer for
Someone I really could care for.
I’m afraid I remember more song lyrics than answers to my Baltimore Catechism questions. But that’s okay, because they simply don’t write lyrics like those anymore.