Tuesday, April 02, 2013

B is for My BOY

I have a special place in my heart for all sorts of boys, but my favorites are between the ages of twenty-four and forty-five. I refer to these boys that I love so much as “my boys.” I know that political correctness dictates that we not refer to males as “boys,” probably as a carry-over from times when it really was a derogatory term. To me, though, it’s a term of endearment. I call a young man “my boy” when he is respectful, loving, funny, affectionate, energetic, smart, and it certainly doesn’t hurt if he’s talented. My boys have been named Jimmy and Mike and Eric and Keith and Todd, plus many more. But my favorite boy and the one who first wore the badge was my boy . . . my son . . . Jay Young.

I have written enough about Jay in the past almost twenty-one years to fill a book; however, I never pass up an opportunity to write one more thing about him. So here’s a little bit about my boy, Jay.

Even though we always joked a lot in our home and even though I could hardly ever keep a straight face when disciplining Jay and our daughter Wendy, he knew that I was the mother and he was the child. He respected me. Even after he was an adult, he respected me. One night, in a bar, his respect really shone through. His band, Velvet Melon, was playing that night, and evidently, as one of his friends told me later, the crowd had gotten rather raucous, something not unusual for a room full of twenty-somethings. Jay must have checked his watch and immediately quieted his friends.

“Okay, guys, in about five minutes, my mom and dad will walk through that door. Let’s calm down.” And they did.

Jay loved people. I never heard him finish a phone conversation with a friend without saying, “Love ya, man!” And he always told us that he loved us. What a great memory! On one of the tapes that we have of Velvet Melon, he leaned very close to the microphone and said, “I love you, Mom” for no apparent reason . . . just because he loved me.

My boy was also funny. Oh, he could tell a joke and have everyone in the room laughing, but that’s not the kind of funny I remember. The funny about Jay is wrapped up in things he did. He’d come up behind me in the kitchen and say in a very sweet voice, “It’s time, Mom.”

“No, Jay . . . I’m busy. I don’t have time right now.”

“Sorry, Mom,  but it’s time . . . time to put your head in the fan!”

Then he’d pick me up and walk toward the ceiling fan . . . ostensibly to do just what he said he’d do. I’d kick and squeal and laugh all the way to the dining room, where he’d lift me up to about four inches from the twirling fan. Of course, he didn’t really put my head in the fan, and I knew he wouldn’t, but we both acted as though he would. Some mothers wouldn’t have thought this funny, but I surely did, and I’m so glad I did because it’s a great memory!

My boy was also affectionate. He never left the house without giving me a hug  . . . and he hugged all his friends, both girls and boys. He had lots of girlfriends, and I’m sure he was very much affectionate with them, but that’s not a mother’s business with her adult son, is it?

And oh, my goodness, was my boy energetic! He was never still on the stage and seldom still off it. Almost every song that Velvet Melon played ended with Jay about three or four feet in the air. He bungee jumped; he sky dived; he was athletic in his own way . . . just for himself.

I’m an avid reader, but even though my boy was very much like me in some respects, he claimed that Charlotte’s Web was the only book that he ever finished. Don’t get me wrong. He read . . . just not books that I’d choose. He read every magazine he could get his hands on if it pertained to music, musicians, any instruments. He was smart, but he wasn’t what anyone  would call a student in anything except music.  But that was okay if he wasn’t a student in “book learning”: he was a gifted musician.

Talent? It oozed from Jay’s every pore. He played piano, xylophone, drums, guitar, bass, saxophone and all of them “to the max.” You’d have to hear him to believe his talent. But you can’t because, as you’ve probably already determined from my use of past tense, my boy died. He left us very suddenly on July 2, 1992, at the age of twenty-four. He’d have been forty-five two months ago. Thus my reason for the ages of my boys. When I’m with these “boys” of mine, I always think of my boy and wonder what he’d have been like had he lived.

Do I miss him? Do I think of him every day? Of course, I do. But I know I’ll see him again. When I get to Heaven and hear music in the distance, I know I’ll find him playing bass at the front of God’s Grand Band, right where he should be, no longer performing in bars.


littleboxofbooks said...

Wow - that was touching. He was all that you mentioned, as you knew him, and a handsome guy too. I am so glad that the happy memories are with you and expressed so well. Hugs to you!

Marcy said...

What a wonderful, talented son you have! Thanks for sharing your memories and stories. I too know that you will be with him again someday!

Forever Young said...

Thanks so much, new writer friends, for the sweet comments. I wish you could have known him!!