She and my father had formed a mutual admiration society (her favorite phrase regarding him was "He's so cute!"). He moonlighted at a steak house and cocktail lounge, playing a Hammond electric organ in the lounge. He was a ham and is probably the source of my penchant for entertaining people.
One night following our post-work Chinese dinner, I took Dee to the steak house. We entered the lounge and I introduced Dee to my father. They bonded instantly. As a result, Dee and I spent at least nine out of ten Friday nights going to the restaurant and the lounge. She just didn't want to do anything else.
Now I loved my dad, and I enjoyed these Fridays, but really, there had to be something else in the world that we would enjoy doing. Once in a great while I could talk her into going to a movie, but that was about it, and on those occasions, even when she enjoyed the movie, she clearly regretted not seing my dad.
We did spend a long weekend in Quebec City, and that was fun. I began to think of other places she might enjoy.
Donnie: "Dee, you've never been to Disneyworld, have you?"
Donnie: "We should take a short vacation and go there."
Dee: "We could do that."
Several weeks later she went to Disneyworld with girlfriends. Sigh.
Down the road a bit . . .
Donnie: "Dee, have you ever been to Las Vegas?"
Donnie: "We should take a vacation and go there."
Yup. Soon after she went to Las Vegas with girlfriends.
I found this depressing. I never understood it and she could never explain it. Writing this now, more than thirty years later, I find myself actually getting angry about it. I gotta get a grip.
MOVIES. DEE, AND ME
- The first movie I took her to see, The Sound of Music, became her all-time favorite. Later this movie was to demonstrate that she had my number.
She and I broke up and reconciled several times over the years. On a Sunday morning during one of the separation periods, I happened to notice that The Sound of Music was going to be on TV that afternoon. I grabbed the phone and dialed her number, knowing she'd want to see it. She still lived with her parents, and her brother answered the phone. We chatted for a minute or two and then I asked him if Dee was home.
"No, she's out shopping with my mom. She said you'd be calling, though."
"Yeah, something about a movie on TV."
- I took her to see The Bad News Bears (in 1976, the first time around for this title). Their baseball team was competing for a chance to go to Japan. When the Bears won in a cliff-hanger, the movie ended. As we left the theater . . .
Dee: "Phew. I was afraid they wouldn't win."
Donnie: "Naw, there was no chance they wouldn't win."
Dee: "Yes there was. Why do you say that?"
Donnie: "Because otherwise they wouldn't be able to make The Bad News Bears Go to Japan.."
Dee, shrilly: "You don't know that! You don't know that they'll make a movie like that."
A year or two later I noted in a newspaper that The Bad News Bears Go to Japan was about to be released. It was a work day and I called her at her office. She answered. All I got to say was "Good morning." Then I heard, "I know. I saw the ad on TV."