Sunday, August 05, 2007

Forever Goldie

Goldie Pollard used to tell us, “I am the mother of you all.”

More often than not, some smart-ass, probably me (okay, it was me), would add, “Yeah, you’re a real mutha all right.”

She didn’t mind. In fact, she’d cop to that as well. Of course, she’d have to get the last word in with some rejoinder, cutting me right off at the knees and basically putting me in my place again.

That was Goldie’s nature. She could dish it out and take it with equal aplomb. If you tried to take her on, you couldn’t get the best of her. The best you could hope for was a draw. Then you’d better prepare yourself for a re-match.

Doris June “Goldie” Pollard wasn’t just the matriarch of the Palace Showboat Theatre. She was the Palace Showboat Theatre. Many a diva appeared on and off that stage over the years, but there really was one true diva at that place. Goldie walked the walk and talked the talk that nobody could deny.

Of course, being Big Mama to all of us on that Island of Lost Toys known as The Ville came naturally to her. She couldn’t help herself being a born nurturer and all. She’d take us under her wing until it was time for us to fly. Sometimes we’d fall on our faces but Goldie was there to make sure we’d try it again.

But hey, the woman was not a saint. She would have been the first person to admit that. More often than not, Goldie was a royal pain the ass. She could be downright infuriating and when she knew she pissed you off, she’d acknowledge it and move on. The thing is she was a flawed human being that wasn’t afraid to admit her faults and was that much stronger for doing so. It also allowed her to take all of us misfits in, sometimes at the lowest points of our lives and encourage us to deal with it all. With Goldie you took the good with the bad because the good became great. The woman had greatness in her and the legacy she left proves it.

I've been wracking my brains out trying to come up with some relatable anecdote about Goldie to illustrate my points, but how about just a good story instead?

One Labor Day weekend during the Seven Brides of Dracula/Goodbye TV, Hello Burlesque show, the gang had all been invited over to Jaime Allison’s place in Lockeford for an overnight BBQ. This was a party for the ages, filled with laughter, songs and lots of good times had by all.

Earlier that summer, Jaime and I had been an item. (Yes, it involved canoodling. No brag, just fact) It was short-lived but I did manage to meet her folks at one point which I'm sure was a big a thrill for them as it was for me.

At the party, Jaime’s dad, a bit in his cups just like the rest of us, was chatting with myself, Goldie and whoever else might have been in earshot. Jaime’s dad, remembering who I was, kept laughing at me and drunkenly proclaiming, “I’m gonna shoot that sonuvabitch!”

After about the third time, Goldie got right in his face and said, “You ain’t shootin’ anybody, you understand? He’s my friend and you leave him the hell alone.”

Jaime’s dad backed down, admitting he was only kidding and stumbled off into the night.

The soiree went into the wee hours of the morning (what else is new?) and we all ended up in very sections of the Allison compound. Goldie and a couple of others holed up in a trailer that Jaime had set up for them. I crawled into the front seat of Bill Humphrey’s Oldsmobile and passed out. (Bill apparently had gone to find his thrill on Bill Hill.)

As soon as the sun rose, Jaime’s brother and his friends decided to go shoot some rabbits on the property. When the first shot was fired, I woke straight up out my shortened slumber in a stupor of all stupors only to hear Goldie’s voice cry out.

“Scott!!!!!!!!! Oh my God, that bastard really shot him!”

It’s just a dumb damn story, but it did confirm what I knew to be true. In Goldie Pollard, I had a friend, a protector and someone that would stand up for me. She made me want to do the same in return. Sometimes I felt like we went into battle together and spent the rest of the night swapping war stories until the sun broke underneath the back door, which we did more often than not. We forged a bond that I feel will never be broken, even though she is no longer with us in this world,. a world that is a quieter place without her..

Goldie Pollard left this Earth on August 1, 2007.

I love you, Doris. I’ll see you when I see you. Save me a seat. The first Rum and Coke is on me.

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