Hot Pants and Elvis

December 9, 2012 § 2 Comments

So, the story goes that she was wearing white hot pants, walking down the street when he first saw her. And, if she was wearing hot pants outside, it must have been warm enough to lie out in the sun slathered with baby oil, and her legs would have been a deep red-brown, next to the white shorts, so I get it. My dad fell in love with my mom first because of her legs, even though she was only 5 feet 2 if she stood up tall. Her curves, smile, and ice blue eyes didn’t hurt either, I’m sure.

 My dad, my mom used to say, looked a little like Elvis. A skinny Elvis, but the thick dark hair, the blue eyes, the cleft in the chin: Elvis. That was enough. My grandmother used to say, “Cleft in the chin, devil within,” and she never did really warm to my dad. Maybe because he swept her fourteen-year old daughter away when he was nineteen. Not unlike Elvis.

 My dad had a deep rich voice too; he sang in the choir through my whole childhood, and ladies, who I thought at the time were old, but were probably close to forty, would always compliment him after the service. His voice could fill a room. My mom’s voice warbled off key beside him.

 These stories rush back to me as I am driving to pick Cole up from school, listening to Bing Crosby. I can hear my dad singing “Adeste Fideles” along with Bing, and when Elvis’s “Blue Christmas” comes on, I can hear him singing that too. I pick Cole up and we both sing along to the song on the radio. “I can’t sing that one anymore,” Cole says. “I have to sing it deeper now.” He does, and suddenly, I hear my dad. Cole looks like him too. We both have the cleft in our chins. I have my mom’s legs, my sister Katie has her eyes, my sister Leigh Ann has her laugh, my sister Jenny has my dad’s light eyes and  thick dark hair. All the parts of their story are rearranged in us, recorded like a song.


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