Tuesday, July 26, 2005



Esther and I listened to what we thought was this album, Mantovani's Continental Encores (1959), this morning as she got ready for work. But we looked at the songs on the jacket and they didn't correspond with what we heard. It was a DIFFERENT Mantovani album.

I started dating Esther in the fall of 1991 and asked her to be my girlfriend on New Year's Eve. On Valentine's Day 1992 she decorated the mudroom of her parent's house in white crepe paper. The table settings were silverware, fine china, cloth napkins bound in gold rings. The scene was lit by candle light. Dinner was not-so-fancy canned chow mein and rice. I arrived queasy because Paul Triplett and Esther's brother Carl appeared at my parent's house, blindfolded me, and drove me through a parking garage, backwards, at breakneck speed en route.

Dinner music was five or six records on a drop-spindle. The evening was the most romantic of our early relationship. I'd never had someone go through so much effort to please me. It's an integral part of the mythology of our subsequent life together.

The only album I really remember is Mantovani's. I think it has something to do with the cover, the dashing figure of the gentleman in formal attire, hat and cane, and the woman's aquamarine dress that cinches at the bottom hem. Look at the curtains and furniture -- frilled, colorful, louder than life, 1950s kitsch. This cover suggests a dashing sense of chivalry as quaint and dated as the furniture and music.