Top 20 Country Countdown
Shelly West, "Jose Cuervo"
How 'Bout a Dance?
I came of age in the Disco Era of the 70's, frequented the dance clubs in Salt Lake City in the 80's—then started line dancing at the country bars in the 90's. I met my first boyfriend on a crowded dance floor. How can one life have so much fun?
In the summer of 1991, I had just come out to my parents. A few weeks later, they invited me to go with them to the annual state of Idaho Angus bull sale in Twin Falls. They wanted to talk, plus Dad needed a new herd bull for the ranch. The trip was . . . crowded, all three of us sharing the one seat of the cattle truck.
It was noon on a Saturday, and the radio station we were listening to started the weekend Top 20 Country Countdown. As we drove west, the songs counted down one after another. Nobody, as it turned out, had much to say, so we listened to the music. Song no. 2 that week was "Jose Cuervo," and we listened to a young man with a cute voice sing about drinking too many tequila shooters—then kissing the cowboys and dancing on the bar. Mother and Dad looked at me. "I didn't write this," I said. But the singer sang on—about waking up in the bed of some guy he didn't know, wondering how he got that guy's shirt on! Now my parents looked at me wide-eyed.
Turns out, it wasn't a guy singing that song—it was Shelly West, with her beautiful alto voice. I think my parents and I can be excused for thinking it was a guy, because when I started looking for this song and typed "Who's the guy who sang Jose Cuervo?" into my Internet search engine, responses to about a hundred other people asking the same question came up. We all thought it was a guy singing that song. Guy, girl—it's a great song, and fun to dance to. Here's a link to it on Amazon.com:
The no. 1 song that week was Pirates of the Mississippi singing "Feed Jake"—a song about a man dying of AIDS and asking his best friend to take care of his dog (I'll write more about that song in a separate post). My parents were speechless. I thought God was maybe using country western music to help them accept their gay son.
We got to the bull sale and split up, each of us looking for the best bull to buy. There were lots of fine-looking animals to consider. We picked our favorites, then had hours to pass while the judging went on. Mom said she'd like to go to the mall in Twin Falls, so I drove her over. We parked and walked into the Bon Marché. I held the door open for Mother, then followed her in—and balloons let go, and music and confetti. A team of people, including the store manager, walked up to me and said: "Congratulations! You're the 100,000th customer to enter this store. You can have anything in here half off."
Mom and I walked around looking at potential items for me to buy. I said to Mom: "I don't want to buy just a pair of Levi's with this." We were standing by the fine china. "Do you have nice dishes?" she asked. We looked at alabaster china plates you could see through, at patterns with interlocking Greek keys, at fancy French designs with gold trim. I settled on Royal Orchard, a Noritake pattern that features different fruits and flowers on each piece. I bought a table setting for eight—dinner plates, ice cream bowls, soup bowls, salad plates, cups and saucers, platters and serving pieces. They packed all of it up in big boxes.
The bull I picked won grand prize, and Dad bought it. We loaded him into the back of the truck and headed for home, boxes of dishes down around Mother's and my feet and us holding even more boxes of my new china. The radio station started a repeat of the Top 20 Country Countdown. By the time we got home, we had listened again to both "Feed Jake" and "Jose Cuervo."
Here's a link, on replacements.com, to images of my discontinued pattern of china:
It would only cost you a thousand dollars to buy a forty-five piece starter set today! My dishes have gone up in value. I've been feeding my cats on the bread-and-butter plates. Not any more. I will buy them a new set of china dishes to eat off of.
I created "Strong Wine Poured," the image above, on my computer in 2007. It is based on Mandelbrot fractals. The title is from Numbers 28:7 (KJV): "[C]ause the strong wine to be poured."