Me and Mr. Jones
What I am about to say may alarm you but I hope we can still be friends. Do not be frightened but last night, I went to a Tom Jones concert.
That’s right. Tom Jones.
Perspiration. Tight pants. Chords pulsing in the throat and veins throbbing in the forehead. And that was me on the drive there— the Long Island Expressway was sheer madness, as usual.
You may be surprised to learn that my husband accompanied me to the concert.
One reason was the he didn't entirely trust me to drive on the LIE and not wind up incarcerated for road rage. The other was pure curiosity after very positive reports from a Tom Jones concert I attended a few years ago with several friends from town.
You know who you are, ladies, and can thank me privately for not naming names.
When we arrived, the crowd milling about the parking lot was definitely festive. There were women of all ages but there was so much wrinkled cleavage that I felt right at home…as well as a little frightened.
I was a meek eleven year old girl when I first set eyes on Tom. Though decades have passed and Tom and I have both grown older, we have always been a part of one another's lives.
I like to think of it that way. Tom, of course does not know I exist except in the nameless expanse of die-hard, world wide fans who still get a twinge of something when we hear the familiar strains of "It's Not Unusual."
All these years, he's been head-lining in Vegas, wearing bulky golden pinkie rings as he cradled the microphone in his own signature style. Me, I’ve been right here, wearing elastic waist pants and cradling a plastic cat scooper as I clean the litter box in my own signature style.
Though our relationship hasn’t always been easy, Tom's and mine, we’ve made it work.
So, there I sat, waiting for him to come prancing down the aisle, leap onto the small circular stage and kick-off the excitement.
We politely tolerated a comedian sent to warm us up even though we were already quite warm, thank you but the moment finally arrived...
|Now, he's Sir Tom.|
The crowd, to a woman, froze.
We sat still as stone as our fevered brains made the necessary adjustments and, realizing that this, indeed, was he -- minus the Just for Men shade of Dr. Pepper that he's been using for years -- burst into delayed but sincere applause.
He spent the next hour or so guzzling water, sweating (literally) through his suit, making self-deprecating remarks about his age (he’s 68) and attempting to revisit the past with an occasional creaky gyration or two.
The young girls got up and danced only to be immediately shouted down by those of us whose dancing-in-the-aisles days are on the wane. The husbands brooded, visibly annoyed that a geriatric male was getting underwear, in every color of the rainbow, tossed at him, bitterly asking themselves, “Why does no one
throw panties at me?”
The older women sat, some with their folded walkers neatly stowed in front of them, remembering younger, more limber times.
|Elvis Presley was a fan of Tom's.|
And the women my age -- the 50’s crowd -- enjoyed the spectacle, resented the hell out of the leggy back-up singers and wondered if we could make it from here to wherever home might be, without another trip to the ladies room.
Sir Tom (I have no doubt that Queen Elizabeth knighted him because she could find no other excuse to summon him to Buckingham Palace) put on a good show.
He can still belt out a ballad although frequently used throat spray between songs and performed much of the show with a lubricating mint tucked into his cheek. He also had a new repertoire of more thoughtful numbers which put less stress on the ol’ pipes.
Despite his age, a few extra pounds and a head of white hair, he can still whip a crowd, albeit a tame one, into something resembling a frenzy. He can still instill something resembling jealousy into the men in the audience and can still motivate longing in women who, with heads bobbing and toes tapping, still vaguely resemble the young girls they once were.
That kind of thing works for Tom and me. It always has.
Take a minute to listen to a classic...if you dare.