June 25, 2019

To Alice Cooper and my Million Dollar breakfast

[I'm revisiting this blog post, originally published on July 13, 2014.]

Last Friday, I had a breakfast meeting and I arrived early because you can never be sure about the traffic and I just figured I'd read the paper and have a coffee while waiting for my companions.  At the only other occupied table in the hotel cafe' sat three gentlemen. I thought, "I wonder if that man knows how much he looks like Alice Cooper."  And the more I discreetly stared, the more I thought maybe it really was him but, you know, it seemed so very unlikely that Alice Cooper would be having breakfast in a hotel in downtown Des Moines, Iowa that I didn't trust my judgment.  So I asked the waiter and he smiled and confirmed that it was, indeed, Alice Cooper. (Okay, I guess I'm not as hip as I thought I was, since I didn't know he was performing at the Wells Fargo Arena that night.)

And then I did what I always swore I would never do to a celebrity:  I interrupted his meal.  I turned into a gawking sycophant and I went over to that table and I said, "I always said I would never do this but I just wanted to thank you for 'Mary Ann.'"  And a young rocker at his table clearly didn't know what I meant and he asked if I was Mary Ann but Alice Cooper knew exactly what I meant and right there and then he sang the first line of that wonderful song.  Alice Cooper sang to me. And I said, "God, I miss the '70's" and Alice said he did, too. And then he said, "They tell me I was there."

Over the past three days, I've thought a lot about that chance meeting. Tomorrow is my birthday. Later this month, it would have been the 39th anniversary of my marriage to Roy Z. Fort.  We had been married barely four years when he died, in 1979. I was 28, he was 29.

At the time of Roy's death, we had two copies of Alice Cooper's "Million Dollar Baby" in our record collection--we each brought one into the marriage.  A few years ago, I bought the CD as well so I could listen to it in the car. Clearly, we liked that album and all it represented about the 1970's and having fun and good friends and rocking out and being young.

Meeting Alice Cooper was no coincidence.  It was a bittersweet reminder that time is so fleeting, that 35 years can fly by, and that the loved ones who are no longer with us are always with us.

Thanks, Alice. And thanks, RoyBoy. And Happy Anniversary.