Yesterday was the birthday of an old friend from high school whom I haven't seen in at least 12 years or so. When I saw (on Facebook -- gotta love the fact that this social networking tool gives you the chance to note and wish friends a happy birthday) that it was Jane's birthday and wanted to write something witty on her "wall" I remembered that back in high school we had entered an "air band" contest as Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton singing "Islands in the Stream."
Of course, back in grade 12 I had a beard -- so all I needed to do was add a little of that special "grey" (or "gray" if you're in the US) spray to my hair and beard, throw on a sport jacket and a pair of jeans and I was Kenny. Jane found an old "country girl" style dress, threw a couple of balloons under her dress for good measure, and she was Dolly. The picture below is from the 1987 LDHS (Levack District High School) yearbook.
We didn't win.
But we had a good time. And rehearsing was a hoot because every time we tried to look lovingly into each other's eyes during key moments in the song one of us would inevitably crack up and we'd have to start over. (Hmm, perhaps that's why the yearbook photo of us performing the song shows us with our eyes closed).
Jane and I both ended up living in Ottawa after high school and hung around with the same group of friends while in college. For a lark, we reprised the role at one of the group parties/dances. That was fun, too. Every time I hear this song on the radio, it makes me laugh and think about the fun we had.
And when I hear the song, or think about the day this photo was taken, there's another fun memory that always comes to mind. My teacher and friend, Jim Turcott was, naturally, the DJ behind the scenes of this air band contest. As his side-kick at the time, I'd been helping him set up and tear down the production that afternoon. I remember Jim kept laughing every time he looked at me across the large giant speaker we were carrying (I still had all my make-up on after the performance and these speakers were so large that as we were carrying them all you could really see of the other guy was his head, neck and shoulders over the top of the speaker) -- that set us both into giggling fits enough that a few times, weak from laughter, we almost dropped the speakers.
After we'd slid the speakers into the back of his van, and sat to take a quick break, I asked him what was so funny. He flashed a wry grin and said. "It's just startling to see you like this. At least I have a good idea of what you'll look like when you're forty."
I'm not quite forty yet, but Jim was pretty close in his observation. The last time I grew a beard, there was a heck of a lot of grey mixed into it.
Of course, we were both wrong about the hair; since I've lost most of it since I was 17.