I take showers in the mornings, a foggy stumble into the bathroom for a quick in-and-out of a hot shower and hair washing. In high school, I took a bath just before bedtime and had enough time for a little ritual.
Balancing my little black boombox with a cassette player on the towel rack, I’d put in a mixtape, fill the bathtub with hot water, and soak. Then, right before I got out of the tub, I’d slide down under the water, my hair floating around my head, knobby knees pointed to the ceiling. Underwater, the music sounded muffled and warped. I’d stay as long as I could stand it, and then I’d pop back up, and wash my wet hair under the faucet. Stepping out of the tub, my skin pink from the hot water, I’d dry my hair, put on my pj’s and climb in bed. It was a moment of calm and relaxation in what I considered a tumultuous senior year.
Ginny, Mama and I spent last weekend in Atlanta. The glorious excuse we had for this mother-daughter outing was a baby shower for my sister-in-law, Keisha. It doesn’t feel right to call her an in-law. I’ve loved her since Jamie and I started dating.
Keisha is easy to love. She rarely complains. She goes with the flow. She is happy for other folks to make decisions on where to eat, what movie to watch, what dessert to order, which is wonderful for a Bossypants like me. She loves freely and unconditionally. She is easy to please. So, loving her is easy, too. Bless her heart, in the Sanders clan, if one of us loves you – all of us love you. So, Keisha has always just been one of us – if not by blood, then certainly in our hearts.
So, Mama, Ginny, and I were excited to trek up to Acworth on Saturday afternoon to celebrate Baby Hines’ coming this summer. After a fun afternoon of oohing and ahhing over tiny, little girl baby things and being with good friends from a lifetime ago, we were also looking forward to making our way to downtown Atlanta to enjoy dinner together and spend the night at the Georgian Terrace, located directly across the street from The Fox Theatre. With rain in the forecast, we decided to “be still.”
After deciding to stay at the hotel for dinner at Livingston, the hotel restaurant, we relaxed a while enjoying the darkening Atlanta skyline and talking like mothers and daughters do. Once it was good and dark, we headed down to the lobby. The minute the elevator doors opened, we knew something special was happening. We could feel it. There was excitement in the air.
Alpharetta High School was hosting its prom across the street at The Fox and attendees had conveniently chosen Livingston for dinner not only for its convenient location, but also for its marble staircases, fancy wooden doors, and tucked away alcoves for prom pictures.
Photographers were buzzing about the lobby. Flashes flashed as girls with professionally done hair and makeup strutted through the lobby in what can only be described as a cross between children playing dress up and runway models. The boys looked a little out-of-place, slightly uncomfortable, maybe a little nervous even, in their tuxedos and fancy dancing shoes. Jauntily pinned boutonnieres, copious amounts of hair product, and multi-colored socks were ubiquitous.
When we arrived at the hostess station Mama asked, “Would you be able to seat three older women without beautiful gowns, high heels or fancy flowers?” The host laughed and showed us to a seat right in the middle of the restaurant, which was perfect for eavesdropping and people watching – two of my favorite pastimes.
My steak was delicious. The red wine even better. Mama ate every bite of her trout on a bed of cheese grits and reminded us, “We didn’t have to shop for it, cook it, or clean up after it. It is glorious.” Truth, Mama.
According to its website, Alpharetta High School has 2152 students in ninth through twelfth grades. According to US News and World Report, they are ranked #7 of the top high schools in Georgia. The tickets to their prom cost $65 in the first week of sales and $150 at the door.
The majority of the prom-goers ordered steaks, but some had been adventurous and ordered mussels. Almost all drank sweet tea or Coke. Nearly everyone ordered dessert, and no one shared.
Not everyone had a date. There were groups of friends going together – odd numbers of girls and boys. Some tables were all girls or all boys. Almost everyone, with the exception of one slightly older looking boyfriend with a closely trimmed beard, was all smiles. Ginny guessed he might be a boyfriend that had already graduated from high school. I wondered if he were a friend of a friend, a blind date for prom.
Mama, Ginny and I enjoyed our supper together. Certainly observant of the children around us, we still found each other in meandering conversations about babies, weddings, books, antiques, a highly anticipated family reunion this summer in Orange Beach, Alabama.
We were tired, but relaxed – the kind of satisfied you feel after a good meal with good wine and easy conversation. We decided to forego dessert, wishing to spend some time out on the terrace with a nightcap to watch the children entering the theatre for a prom themed “A Golden Night in Paris.”
We laughed easily together out on the terrace. It was a perfect Spring even