I like to linger as it flies
A weekend on your lips
A lifetime in your eyes
Back in 2014, The Duchess and I, shortly after arriving for lunch with Leonard Cohen & Kezban Özcan at Leonard’s LA home, were informed by Leonard that “I’d like you to listen to my new album and tell me what you think.” Consequently, we were, postprandially, shifted to Leonard’s desk where we heard, via his computer, the nine tracks that comprise Popular Problems. (Incidentally, the food service continued during this portion of the program. Leonard prepared a latte and served it to Penny while we listened.) It’s no surprise to those familiar with Penny that her immediate favorite from this playlist was “Slow.”
Martin Ferrabee’s sophisticated, nuanced video effectively reinforces and illuminates this track.
So, in pondering the ninth anniversary of our wedding, I realized that Penny & I had a courtship with all the essentials of a Hallmark Christmas Special – albeit one with a soundtrack atypically dominated by Leonard Cohen songs.
On the other hand, Penny, who competes with Baby Jesus in commemorating her December 25th birthday, and I progressed from exchanging Match.com profiles to being officially and lawfully united in matrimony by my best friend from medical school, the just-reverend-enough Duke of Derm aka Russ Hall, within a few months.
I Know – I Can’t Believe It Either
I am, nonetheless, betrothed. The bride, Penny Paplanus, who is known on this site as Duchess Of Durham, is a delightful woman who meets my primary criterion – she’s too good for the likes of me but hasn’t figured out she could do much, much better. My desperate hope is to keep her distracted with song, dance, snappy chatter, gifts, and such so she remains happy with me.
The just-reverend-enough Dr. Russel Hall: By the authority vested in me by the State of North Carolina and by virtue of the vows you have exchanged in the company of these witnesses, I pronounce you husband and wife. You came to this ceremony as two individuals and you will now leave as a married couple, united to each other by the binding contract you have just entered. Your cares, your worries, your pleasures and your joys, you will henceforth share with each other. You may now seal those vows with a kiss. Friends, family, those present and those with us only in spirit – I am proud to introduce Allan and Penny, husband and wife.
Now, does all that sound like real life or the mechanizations of a B level scriptwriter?
But wait – there’s more.
You’ll Carry Me Down On Your Dancing – The Duchess Dances To Leonard Cohen’s “Take This Waltz”
I’m sentimental, if you know what I mean
By Leonard Cohen
It’s Yours Now. It’s All That There Is
This video, set to Leonard Cohen’s “Take This Waltz,” was constructed as a gift to the Duchess2 and features dance sequences taped during ballroom competitions in which she participated as well as other scenes from her life and mine.
The intent was that the video would be circulated only among family and friends, if at all. The response from these admittedly biased folks, however, was so positive and enthusiastic that we have decided to make the video public. The video embedded below is identical to the original version except for a wording change on a title card and the addition of the closing credits I’ve used on my videos.
Because of the evolution of this video, it is indeed more sentimental than most of the movies produced here and it is studded with the type of indulgences lovers not only allow but encourage in one another.
Nonetheless, I’m proud of the final result which is true to the tone of Cohen’s “Take This Waltz.” As for the specifics, well, I’m not even going to try to explain the role of the bearded dancing partner, the shots of a house a few years and hundreds of miles from where we live now, why I’m wearing orange-tinted glasses in one scene, how the Beacon Theatre in New York appears in a cameo as a concert hall in Vienna, the alligator’s allegorical allusion…
You’ll Carry Me Down On Your Dancing
Take This Waltz by Leonard Cohen
Dancing by Penny Showalter (aka Duchess)
Video by Allan Showalter
It Wasn’t Just Leonard
Thank goodness The Duchess came along after my undergraduate infatuation with those wishy-washy Shelley-Keats we-don’t-need-to-consummate to be in love lyrics nonsense had ceased. By that time, I was thinking more on the lines of Neruda’s “Drunk As Drunk.” (You gotta figure a real, certifiable poem that begins with the thesis that “drunk as drunk” is a desirable thing is going to help out on a date. That the intoxicating agent is cheap – kind of the Chilean equivalent of Mizzou’s grain alcohol- is a serendipitous benefit.)
Drunk as drunk on turpentine
From your open kisses,
Your wet body wedged
Between my wet body and the strake
Of our boat that is made of flowers,
Feasted, we guide it – our fingers
Like tallows adorned with yellow metal –
Over the sky’s hot rim,
The day’s last breath in our sails.
And so it goes — in year 9 of our marriage.
Credit Due Department: The photo atop this post of DrHGuy and Duchess Of Durham in full smooch mode was taken by DrHGuy’s son, Prodigal (aka Samuel Showalter).
- Julie was my much-beloved, fiercely smart, extraordinarily sexy wife, who died in 1999 from cancer diagnosed the week of our wedding nearly 20 years earlier. She was also a prize-winning writer. This blog includes many other posts about her and the unlikely but true story of our romance as well as several of her short stories and other pieces. For the location of the various content about or by Julie, see Julie FAQ. [↩]
- aka Penny Showalter, aka my wife [↩]