So often in our quest to keep things "peaceful," perhaps in a marriage, or perhaps even simply being a member of one's own family... the urge for some of us "Peacemaker" types... is to be the pleaser.
Last March I made the trek from Fort Worth up to Cleveland to visit my sister. I had high hopes. She and I had been emailing, and chatting on the phone more often than we had been over the last fifteen years. So... yes, I had some hopes. And in my more optimistic moments... I'd say those hopes even came close to being "high hopes."
But first... allow me to digress for a moment.
Growing up in the late fifties and early sixties, it was the time of Elvis, Buddy, Richie Valens, J.P. Richardson, and Ricky Nelson. That was back when you could listen to music, dance to music, and even understand the words.
Ricky Nelson was one of those teen-age heart-throbs. Just about every girl in the country swooned when he sang his songs on his parent's TV Show... Ozzie and Harriet. A few times he appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, and many others, as well. To say he was popular would be an understatement. And all Ricky did... was "be Ricky."
That was the late fifties and early sixties. Then... Ricky blended into the woodwork for a time. His popularity lessened for quite awhile. And then he gradually resurrected himself... and with that... he "changed."
Instead of being the "Ricky Nelson" we grew up with... he dared to drop the "y" at the end of his name... and became Rick Nelson and the Stone Canyon Band. Personally, I loved the change. Many did not.
At a long-anticipated appearance at Madison Square Garden... Rick finally took the stage. But... he brought his "change" with him. He was no longer "Ricky"... he was Rick Nelson. And behind him was HIS band... The Stone Canyon Band.
As he began singing... the boos started. They got louder and louder. Ricky was Rick. His fans felt cheated. They wanted "the old Ricky." Nelson was so shocked at it all... he had to leave the stage.
In trying to wrap his brain around what happened... and deal with it... the song "Garden Party" was born. It told his story. Somehow he was able to pull himself together... and in the words of his own song... he came to realize that "Ya can't please everyone, so ya gotta please yourself."
Back to my story: Lunch with my sister at Applebee's in Mentor, Ohio. I think it was March 20th. Lunch seemed to go well... but my Sis was plainly taken aback. We had not visited in person since 1994... and here it was... sixteen years later. She was cordial. I was pleased. It was my Sis. But something else was "there." There was clearly an "edge" to it all.
It became obvious what was wrong. To her... I had dared to change. I had dared to grow. It had been sixteen years since we had seen each other. She was just about the same as when I left Cleveland. Just older... and a lot "grey-er."
Just after we were through with lunch... and each of us left to go our separate ways... I called her on my cell phone to tell her how nice it was to finally get together with her after all these years.
The voice she answered the phone with... was not the same voice I had lunch with. She was upset. She said she was expecting to have lunch with the exact same "me" she last saw in 1994. She said she needed time to "process" things. She asked that I not call her... or even write to her until she "sorted things out."
I waited a few months... and did not write or call... as she asked. Since then... I have called and left messages... perhaps six or seven in all. I have not heard from her since.
It appears that my very own "Garden Party" did not take place at Madison Square Garden like Rick Nelson's did... but at a restaurant in Mentor, Ohio... Applebee's.
I'm still learning the hard way... I guess just like Rick did.
Ya know ya can't please everyone... so ya gotta please yourself.