KEN’S CORNER: First Kiss & The Peppermint Twist
Commentary by: TLB Contributing Writer: Ken LaRive
I was taught to have respect for women. In my day we tipped our hats when they crossed our path, and we said something cordial like “Good evening Mam,” or just “Mam?”, like a question. Usually it would get you a coy smile in return, which I thought was priceless. We opened doors for woman, with respect, never thinking to say a cuss word in front of one, and a man would be right to dot the eye of anyone who spoke out of turn. But then, somewhere in this tangle of ideas, that define human nature, and our place in society, I learned that women were beautiful, made to love, admire, and an enigmatic and mysterious art object. I was nervously tong tied around them, in wonder of their self-control, their practiced poise, their articulation of language, and their quiet and soft strength that proved to be stronger then steel, and stronger by far then me.
A mother with a baby was beautiful, beyond the bounds of words or understanding. There was a tie that bound them together that was so amazing to me, so awesome, so spiritual. I realized this before I realized myself: that though our bodies are weak, will is strong. A mother’s love is incredible.
I remember those CYO dances, and the first time I ever did the “Peppermint Twist” with a girl. Before air conditioning, with the fresh night’s breezes from open windows, and the revolving ceiling fans of St. Raphael’s recreation hall, I made the long walk across the polished floor to the girl’s side. I had jelly legs, a burning in the pit of my stomach, but I had to ask one to dance. I had scoped her out hours before, long before I had the nerve to break away from my buddies. What great fear there was in my heart. Fear that she would say no, but even more fear that she would say yes. Notwithstanding, there is a bridge that must be crossed by all of us, one way or the other, as we realize that both men and women are two halves of the same thing. I got my first inkling of this powerful thought as in a dream I clumsily tried to glide her across those slippery wood floors, to that perfect place on the dance floor. Those soft and moist cheeks, the smell of spray net on teased hair, and subtle smells, like fresh baked bread, vanilla, and something more, like pheromone magnetism, that radiated from the heat of dancing. I was hooked.
I played the gambit, the game, by what I knew of love from songs and television. I saw literally what was meant by “Venus in Blue Jeans” and the whispers of Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Bill Haley, The Shirelles, and Tommy James dictated the words and feeling that came pouring from my heart. I remember well that fevered first kiss, and I thank you Debbie, wherever you are. A million miles and years ago, it seems, but really, only yesterday. I have carried effortlessly, tuns of girl books, while walking home from school. Those perfectly covered books, without a mark, a scuff, a dent, and I tried with wonder to understand the hows and whys of these bewildering and perplexing creatures that could touch something so deep inside of me. They were so clean, so bright, so sparkling…
I have been lucky with women. Though there have been a few to have broken my heart, mostly, it was magic. One along the way took up my spirit as her own, and through the years I can no longer tell where she leaves off and I begin. I guess love is the cement for such a thing, and as time has a way of teaching us what we thought we already knew, the joys and pain that blends into what we are and have become, finally gives a sense of peace.
I have never been much into praying, not for something, anyway. But I constantly give thanks for the grace of Maddy and our daughter Laura, and what they mean to me. What purpose would I find in life without them to share it with? How lonely would it be to look out over the vast night stars, without having them to share it with? They are with me even when I’m half way around the world.
I have gotten jokes by email about the gross and subtle differences between men and women. Most of them I don’t find the least bit funny, but really, they are kind of sad, aren’t they? So condescending in the display, I feel sorry that life has treated some so harshly that they would be so insensitive, so detached. What we are, men and women, are the concave and convex lenses that focus into infinity. We are both the marriage of spirit and body, and this blend is the most beautiful and rewarding experiences this life has to offer. How strong is an idea, a dream, when two is of one mind.
I can’t Peppermint Twist like I could in the old days, but in my heart I still feel the same twinge of magic when I ask Maddy to dance. I am still in awe…
Read more from KEN’S CORNER
From the Author, Ken La Rive – We in the Liberty movement have been fighting to take back this country for less than a decade, peacefully and with the love of God and country in our hearts. Our banner has been trampled on and displaced by a multitude of distractions, further eroding our nation and the cause for Liberty. And so, as we are pulled by forces we cannot fathom, powerful entities with unlimited resources stolen from our future, unaccountable trillions printed out of thin air and put on our backs as debt, we must formulate the most pitiful of all questions any patriot might ask in the final hour: Are we going to fight for our master’s tyranny, or are we going to demand the return of our civil liberties and Constitution? Are we going to choose The Banner of Liberty, or the shackles of voluntary servitude? Will it be a war for corporate profit, or a war to regain our ability to self govern, as the blood and toil of our forefathers presented to us, their children, as a gift? I fear that decision is emanate. I fear that any decision will be a hard one, but my greatest fear of all is that the decision has already been made for us.
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