Monday, March 13, 2006

Help Me, Rhonda!

Life in Missouri... Another Trip Down Memory Lane...

As I researched the bad storms that have hit Sedalia, Missouri over the years, I remembered going to the State Fair at Sedalia when we lived in Missouri.

I went with my parents and a group of my nephews a couple of times. Another time, I went with my sister and her husband. I think that was the time that we left early because the storm clouds were threatening, and shortly after we left, violent winds blew many of the tents down.

I went in to the fair in 1985 with my friend Suzie. I was 8-3/4 months pregnant with Keely and I had to wear my bib overalls because they were the only thing that still fit me. Suzie knew somebody who had connections, and she somehow finangled a golf cart to drive me around for an hour or so. I think the guys who owned the cart were relieved when we brought it back and I hadn't had the baby yet.

In 1986, I went with Steve, my crazy brother-in-law, and Ricky Rowse, a friend from Nebraska who was exhibiting a sheep. Keely was not quite a year old, so I had her in a stroller. Dennis was attending AAFES training in Dallas at the time.

Bar none, my most memorable fair experience was the year that I went with our friends, Dave and Pat. I think it was 1979. Pat was a big fan of the Beach Boys, and they were one of the free grandstand shows that year. The seating was limited so Pat got tickets ahead of time, and off we went on the appointed day to see the Beach Boys.

We got in line, handed over our tickets, and found our assigned spots on the grandstand benches. The entire grandstand filled up quickly. Everyone was excited, but we soon realized that the group of seven or eight people who were sitting just in front of us were also drunk. One of them was a young woman named Rhonda, and it was her birthday. She wanted to hear the Beach Boys sing, "Help Me, Rhonda!" In fact, the whole group had that song on their mind, so they sang it over and over as best they could while we all waited for the show to start. (They did best on the chorus.)

Finally the Beach Boys came out, and the group in front of us was thrilled. They immediately climbed onto their bench and began to sing and dance along with each song. At every break in the music, they all bellowed the name of the song they wanted to hear: "Help Me, Rhonda! Help Me, Rhonda!" Finally, the Beach Boys did play it and Rhonda was delirious with joy. She clambered onto her boyfriend's shoulders and from that vantage point, she sang lustily along with the real live Beach Boys who were performing her song on her birthday at the Missouri State Fair! It was such an inspiring experience that she sang through the instrumental parts of the song too.

Of course, the only view of the show we had was through the legs and around the backsides of this group. After the performance of "Help Me, Rhonda", they all calmed down a little and some of them even got off the bench and sat down, so we did get to see and hear a few songs at the end of the show. It's a good thing because Dave was barely restraining Pat. She was ready to kill them all. Pat was a dedicated Beach Boys fan too, and she was furious that she couldn't see over, around or through these crazy people in front of us even when she stood up on the bench herself. Dave wouldn't let her tell them off because he didn't want to get into a fight. (Good thinking, Dave.)

To this day, I never hear the song, "Help Me, Rhonda," without thinking of what a hangover Rhonda must have had the day after her birthday. I'm sure she doesn't remember me, but I still remember her!


Christopher Newton said...

So funny, Genevieve. I'm glad you reposted the link because I missed it the first time around. I am another dedicated Beach Boys fan (in fact their old tune I Get Around just came up on my ITunes as I write this) and I would have been screaming too - but more like your friend Pat because I couldn't their delirious harmonies.

Genevieve said...

Oh yes, Pat was fuming. Unfortunately, we have lost touch with those good people whom I introduced to each other -- a match made in heaven. Neither of them were letter writers, and after we both moved, we just lost touch with each other. But she was definitely a big fan of the Beach Boys.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

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