Sunday, April 23, 2006

Delta Dawn, What's That Flower You Have On...

When I was a kid I thought Delta Dawn was a big, red dinosaur. A Tyrannosaurus Rex. It was all the fault of Chris and Johnny Boland. The Bolands lived in Bolton. Maxine, their mom, was a friend of my mom's. George, the dad, had gone through some fucked up shit because of diabetes. He was blind and lost his kidneys, so he required daily dialysis. Maxine cared for George with the patience of a saint, or at least it seemed like it to me as a kid looking in. Even more incredible, she filled the time while she cared for George by making some great stuffed animals: Teddy Bears, bean bag frogs, and more. She sewed them all, stuffed and sold them for additional income. She was gifted, they were really cool stuffed animals! I remember they also had animals of the living variety roaming around the place: geese, a dog, rabbits... and I think I remember them having horses and a horse barn out back, until that got to be too much.
So one night, I'm over there with my mom, and Chris and John were playing with one of those slide show/record player combos they used to make back in the 70s, the Show 'n Tell player. You feed a cardboard mounted strip of slides into the top of the viewer, next to the turntable. While the turntable spins, the slide strip feeds through the viewer and the pictures are projected on a screen beneath the turntable. The two of them fed some dinosaur slide strip in, but instead of the show 'n tell record for that strip, they put on the Helen Reddy single "Delta Dawn" (#1 for 1 week in 1973), and while it played, the screen showed pictures of a giant, red T Rex rampaging through the jungle.I was a gullible youngster, around eight or so. I kept asking them, are you sure that's the right record and strip? Which one's "Delta Dawn"? The red one? Really? Are you sure? Can you play it again? I left there certain that Delta Dawn was a Red, T Rex dinosaur. Thanks to John and Chris Boland, "Delta Dawn" and dinosaurs are inextricably linked in my mind...

Delta Dawn, what's that flower you have on?
Could it be a faded rose from days gone by?
And did I hear you say he was a-meetin' you here today
To take you to his mansion in the sky-eye?

She's forty-one and her daddy still calls 'er "baby"
All the folks 'round Brownsville say she's crazy
'cause she walks downtown with her suitcase in her hand
Lookin' for a mysterious dark-haired man

In her younger days they called her Delta Dawn
Prettiest woman you ever laid eyes on...

RAAAWWAAAAHHHRRRRR!!! (approximation of T Rex roar...)