Category Archives: Roy Orbison

Radio 82, side B, track 2: “Oh, Pretty Woman” by Roy Orbison

Roy Orbison - Oh Pretty WomanOh, Roy Orbison, every time I hear this song, the first thing I think of is Prego and Wednesday night catechism.  And the famous movie, of course.  This will all make sense in a second, Roy Orbison.

When I was in high school, before I had my driver’s license, Wednesday nights were catechism.  If you don’t know what catechism is, Roy Orbison, it’s kind of like confirmation in the Catholic and Lutheran churches, except you never get confirmed, and you go to it every Wednesday night until you graduate high school.  For all the years I went, the only thing I remember clearly is the word Heidelberg (because I think that’s the catechism we used) and one night when we discussed predestination (which has messed with my head ever since, and recently reared its head again while watching episodes of “Legends of Tomorrow”).

Anyway, on Wednesdays after school, I had speech practice for speech competitions, and since our church was in the same town, and Wednesday nights were catechism nights, it was easier for me to just stay in town and have my mom pick me up after catechism.  Since there were a few hours before catechism, I would hang out with my great-aunt in her apartment.  And she always made me supper.  And it was always spaghetti with Prego sauce.  Because I lived in a Ragu house, but I was a Prego man, and my great-aunt knew it, so that’s always what she had waiting for me.  And so I would eat copious amounts of spaghetti with Prego, and do my homework and sometimes watch a movie.  And the movie was my aunt’s copy of “Pretty Woman”.  She loved to watch movies, and watched a lot of them with the women in her apartment complex.  And while she and the rest of my family in that town were fairly reserved Christians, she had no problem with watching a movie with me about a prostitute.  I mean, it was a light-hearted movie about a prostitute, so maybe that makes a difference, but thinking back on it, I don’t know that I ever had any qualms watching it with her, even with scenes involving blow jobs and Laura San Giacomo’s f-bombs.

Anyway, Roy Orbison, my great-aunt, the oldest of 12, born in Holland, lost a leg to cancer, she passed away many years ago, well into her 90’s.  The last time I saw her, while we didn’t have Prego and spaghetti, she did let me know that she was a love child conceived during one of my great-grandfather’s furloughs when he was in the cavalry guarding the Holland border from the Germans.  It’s honestly one of the best gifts I’ve ever been given, knowing that our sedate farm family had a little scandal back in the day.  It took a whole lot of pressure off of me feeling like I was a constant disappointment to my family.  I mean, I’m guessing I still am, but maybe it’s genetic.

Thanks for reminding me about my great-aunt, Roy Orbison, who really was great.

lyrics to “Oh, Pretty Woman”

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