I’ve been trying to do some “spring” cleaning around my place—nevermind the fact that it’s November. So, tonight I was going through my CDs and DVDs and deciding which ones I want to sell. As I went through them, so many memories came rushing back. There are some good stories in there, and since it’s NaBloPoMo, I thought, hey, I should post about this! So welcome to the first in what will hopefully be a series of posts called “Selling Memories”, and tonight’s topic will be The Best of Tom Jones.

I am (just barely) a child of the Seventies. My parents still love to listen to the music of the Sixties and Seventies, and did so throughout my childhood. So I was aware of Tom Jones. I even pretty much knew all the words to “It’s Not Unusual” when I was in high school. (And that was really rare, considering that nearly everyone I went to school with was a fan of country.) But I didn’t really know what Tom Jones was all about until a few years later.

Every summer, my dad attends a conference for school administrators in Myrtle Beach, SC at the Kingston Plantation Resort. Kingston Plantation is super-nice, and so, even though it is only 45 minutes from my parents’ house, it was always a treat to be able to go stay with my parents in the hotel and hang out while my dad was at the conference. For many years, my brother and I had to stay at home with a babysitter for the first few days, and then a family friend would drive us down to the beach to be with our parents for the last few days. Once I got into high school and college, though, our parents would let us come down with them, and we would be left in the hotel room to order pizza and hang out with some of the other kids whose parents went off to drink wine and eat filet mignon with corporate sponsors who wanted to woo them.

Then, the summer after freshman year in college, I was working as a Charming Shark Jewelry Salesgirl (a whole other story in itself), which required me to travel around the Grand Strand area (Greater Myrtle Beach), so staying with my parents actually made my job a lot easier, and made it so that I had a lot more free time on my hands than I did most days that summer. Seeing I was bored, and sunburned, and almost an adult, my mom asked me to do something she’d never done before: go with her to the Spouses’ Brunch.* I reluctantly said yes, because I was convinced it was going to be so boring.

Oh, I was so wrong. First, I was introduced to the wonderful world of decoupage, which remains one of my favorite things to do. Second, I fell in love with Tom Jones. In Myrtle Beach, there are a lot of really hokey shows for the tourists to go and see at night. Things like the Dixie Stampede, the Carolina Opry, and Legends: In Concert. This last one features all kinds of different celebrity impersonators, from Elvis, to the Blues Brothers, to Marilyn Monroe, to—you guessed it—Tom Jones. So, the entertainment for the brunch that morning was the Tom Jones impersonator.

Oh My God. He was so dead-on Tom Jones. Skintight black pants, black shirt open halfway to his navel, that raspy-sexy voice. He burst into the room singing “What’s New, Pussycat” and flirted with every single woman in the room. Then, when he sang “Delilah”, I thought his bulging thighs were going to burst right through his pants like The Incredible Hulk—but so much hotter. He was like walking sex on a stick. I still get a little woozy when I think about it! And even better, they were giving away tickets to the Legends show for that night. To see more of this, I would have knocked over any of the 50ish ladies in the room. Alas, there was a raffle, and I didn’t win. My mom tried to make it up to me, by getting me invited to one of the corporate dinners with wine and filet, but it just wasn’t the same.

A few days later, I went right out and bought the Best of CD, and it was in my regular rotation for the rest of the summer, until I went back to college. I also forced my friends to go see Mars Attacks that fall because he was in it. And more than five years later, when I went to Vegas for the first time, I prayed I would run into Tom or at least a Tom impersonator. No such luck. But I am going back to Vegas this December, so here’s hopin’!

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*It had been called the Wives’ Brunch until a few years prior, when they got their sole male member. There weren’t many female school superintendents in South Carolina at the time, and even fewer of their spouses wanted to attend.

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