Galaxy of Stars
We saw what people believed in as we sat in the empty room near the Tv's glow: the parade of saccharine celebrities in sky-blue suits, ruffled shirts. And Jerry's Kids, smiling white, helpless smiles from beneath Vitalis-slicked hair, ringlets.
Nowhere in the camera's pan did we see a welfare mother and her grubby kids. Mom tried to sell Maria and me on the show anyway. She told us how her whole family watched each year over cookouts and poker games. She'd say things like "Oh, your Uncle Felix used to love him." But she soon stopped. We had heard the call to the park service earlier. Twenty bucks for the week.
Mom wanted to believe, in the value of people balancing plates on sticks, in the gaping yawn of a ventriloquist's dummy.
Maria and I twisted elsewhere.
Now mom held her head in her hands. Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin had been reunited, she said. We watched the padded men hug their deep hug.
Maria's fingers moved expertly beneath the lid of her Stuckey's jewelry box. Before he turned on and dropped out, Dad had given it to her for her 12th birthday. She lit the joint, hit it, and passed it to Mom. Mom stared at it forever. She stared so long the light at the end began to fade. Then she moved it to her lips. She held it there a long time.
Frank Sinatra stood between Martin and Lewis, their bow ties limp butterflies, and introduced the estranged remnants from Mom's youth to the world. People were starting to feel better again. Even we could feel it.
Potentially, might be ...