Fifty Shades of Cheese

I have a guilty secret that I desperately need to share. When I was twenty-two years old, newly married and living in Carmen, Manitoba, I developed a peculiar addiction. Like most people with a secret life, I was finally found out by none other than my husband. I tried to draw him into my utterly compelling fantasy world, but he wasn’t having any part of it. He said that he had better things to do on a Saturday night than THAT.

Sure, I felt a little humiliated by his words and attitude, but mostly, it was his barely hidden contempt for my secret passion. Still, I couldn’t give it up. The Lawrence Welk Show (LWS)  would continue to be part of my Saturday evening.

Let me explain my fascination with it, dear reader. Because I can picture you right now, a wrinkle in your forehead drawing your eyes closer together as you frown in disbelief. Not Judy, you’re thinking, or possibly gasping aloud. She’s a little eccentric, but not crazy! I’ll plead my case and see if I can win you over.

In the middle seventies, young men still wore  their hair longish, and women too. Perms were coming back into fashion, as were longer skirts. But nothing happening in the current world could explain the 50’s hairstyles or clothing of the men and women on the LWS. They sang folk songs and dumbed down pop music (and that’s saying something) and occasionally introduced a little latin number or two. They had a young black performer who, it appeared, was only allowed to tap dance. There was a Puerto Rican couple who sang together, and a guy who played the accordion every week. The Lennon sisters would harmonize beautifully and Lawrence Welk himself, Mr. Champagne music, would lead the orchestra while lovely ladies and gentlemen in pastel colours waltzed gracefully around the dance floor.

It took me a few weeks to realize that Saturday Night Live did not have an early show on PBS that they used solely for mocking old people.  And still I was charmed. Yes, Dear reader, I am a Lawrence Welk addict. And proud of it.

It’s  the very definition of cheese, possibly the velveeta type. But I’m comfortable with that. I like a wide variety of music, and over the years I’ve sung “This Diamond Ring” with Gerry Lewis, cried to Bobby Goldsboro’s “Honey,” (possibly the sappiest song ever written) and had my thirteen year old heart shredded by Gary Puckett and the Union Gap singing ‘Young Girl.’ Or, as my children like to call it, “The  Perv Song.” They purposefully misunderstand the innocent lyrics.

“Young girl, get out of my mind, my love for you is way out of line, better run girl, your much too young, girl.”

It’s not about THAT, I  said, but they refused to believe me. Help me, Gary Puckett. Because I’m still a big fan of yours, too.

We all have our dark little secrets. Music that we love, but never admit to owning, or television shows that we won’t confess to viewing. I, for instance, wouldn’t be caught dead watching Jersey Shore, because it just makes me sad. But if it floats your boat, go with it. There are many shades and types of cheese out there, and that’s a good thing. Feel free to share your favorite flavour with me.

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