Sunday, July 05, 2009


Growing up on 57th place in Tulsa, OK, we had many friends. There were Kendall and Scotty, Jeff and BJ, Ronny and Jeff, Chandra, Carl... the list goes on but there was one friend we all shared and, for some reason, revered: Billy. Billy was older. He was in college, I think, so he wasn't around much but it was a big event when he came home. When Billy was in town, the word would be passed up and down the street, "Billy's home," and we would wait excitedly for him to make an appearance.

Don't ask me why we all got so excited when he came around. Maybe it was because he was older and actually paid attention to us. I don't know. Come to think of it, I don't remember him actually doing much of anything with us. I think one of the other kids thought he was the coolest thing since dry ice, told all of us so, and we went along with it (hey, what else was there to do?).

One thing I remember about Billy was his silly singing. We never went into his house but there was a piano somewhere near a window. He would gather us all up (or we would gather ourselves), go inside, slide open the window, then start playing Christmas Time Is Here from A Charlie Brown Christmas.

As we stood listening to him tickle the ivories, he would suddenly break out in a falsetto voice and make fun of us to the tune of the song. "Joey is, a big turkey," he would begin, "he falls down a lot," or something to that effect. We'd point and laugh at the subject of the current refrain as he went down the line and sang about each of us standing there in his yard. When he was finished, he'd come outside and we'd laugh some more and eventually disperse so he could get some grown-up things done.

Every time I hear that song, especially done on piano, I think of Billy. Simple times. Good times.

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