Mama, Elvis, and a Vanilla Coke

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 20, 2004

The older I get the more I realize it’s the little moments in life that make it so worthwhile.

Last week, I took my mom to see Bill J. Brooks in concert at the Ritz.

It was a pleasant day, perfect for an outing and the performance was free to &uot;seniors and friends.&uot;

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&uot;Well, Mama, you’re a senior, and I’m your friend,&uot; I had told her.

When Bill J. came out in his Elvis guise that afternoon, Mama grinned. He came up in his sequined jumpsuit, grabbed my hand and sang a little to me; he came up to Mama more than once and crooned those mellow tunes. Mama’s blue eyes positively sparkled.

She gave me a little nudge, giggled and said, &uot;You know, I think that outfit he’s wearing is kinda cute.&uot; (Hmmm. What's that old saying about "snow on the roof and fire in the furnace"?)

Throughout the concert, Mama tapped her toes, clapped her hands and didn’t look at her wrist once.

(Notice I didn’t say ‘watch’ because we were due to buy her a new one later that day, but you know the force of habit…)

Yes, Mama was certainly enthralled.

&uot;He’s a nice-looking fellow…and he sure does have a good voice, don’t you think?&uot; I agreed. Brooks was putting on a fine concert – and to think, it didn’t cost us a dime!

During the second half of the performance, Brooks sang some wonderful old gospel classics. When he asked the audience to sing along on &uot;I’ll Fly Away&uot;, &uot;In the Garden&uot; and &uot;I Saw the Light&uot;, Mama was beaming.

&uot;In the Garden&uot; has always been a special favorite of hers – she used to ask my older sister to play it for her on the piano and I’d sung it as a solo a few times – so she was tickled pink by the performer’s choice.

And sing along we did, with pleasure.

&uot;Well, I believe I enjoyed that show more – more than anything I have been to in a long time,&uot; she told me as we left the Ritz. We went over to the Wal-Mart Super Center where we found Mama a pretty new watch at a bargain price (which also delighted her to no end).

Later, we enjoyed a Coke (if you haven’t tried one with a generous shot of vanilla or cherry syrup, you’re missing something) and a chat at the snack bar.

It wasn’t an afternoon spent at a Tony Award-winning musical on Broadway followed by a shopping spree at Tiffany’s and tea at the Ritz-Carlton. But it turned out to be a mighty satisfying and enjoyable day spent with my favorite senior citizen in our favorite small town.

The older I get the more I realize it’s the little moments in life that make it so worthwhile.

n n n

More good times are coming up this fall. In just ten days we will be enjoying the new Greenville GRITS Festival, courtesy of our wonderful Greenville Main Street. We will see old Oktoberfest favorites return, like &uot;Imagine That!&uot; and the magic show, plus all the new twists a celebration of "all things grits" should have. Don’t miss it!

Angie Long is a Lifestyles writer and columnist for The Greenville Advocate. She may be contacted at home by phone at 382-5145.