I am going to be spending part of my day at the Disneyland Resort today. Yeah, I know, big surprise. Those who know me probably don't find that odd, but there are people who know me who still don't understand how I could possibly spend so much time there without being bored, and how many times can I go on the rides, and what the heck do I DO there all the time anyway?
Well, if people don't get it, there's really no explaining. But, the times that I have tried, I've told them that it's really not that different than spending time at the park or at the mall or wherever else one wants to just hang out and sometimes even be with friends - it just so happens that when we're done shopping and browsing and eating, there are always rides nearby that we can go on or a show to see.
But oftentimes, it's the seemingly mundane things that I've enjoyed the most out of my experiences at the Resort.
Years ago, I spent a lot of time at Coke Corner on Main Street. There's a piano player there, and while different people would work at different times and days, the perennial piano player for years and years was Rod Miller. He played and talked and joked, and because of being around other people, I got to know him a bit as well. There were a lot of people who would regularly gather at Coke Corner to hear Rod play and just hang out with other regulars. I guess I could liken it to the bar at Cheers - a comfortable place to hang out, with the assurance that at almost every moment, you'd run into someone there that you knew, and whether it had been a good day or a bad day, that's where you wanted to be at the end of the day to either have other people commiserate or celebrate with you.
One night, I was there with the husband (I think he was the SO at the time), and friends J and K were there as well. We sat at a table that was right next to the piano, which itself was on a raised platform, so people could stand next to it and kind of lean on the piano. The four of us just sat around talking about various things and joking around, a non-moment of sorts, but a really fun one. For some reason, either J or K had a pad of post-it notes, and K was playing with it, and she ended up just writing stuff and tagging things, like she'd write "table" and then peel the post-it off and stick it on the table. She'd write "nose" and then stick it on J's nose - stuff like that.
And then somehow or other, we noticed the guy that was standing behind where she and I were sitting - we had our backs to the piano - as he was listening to Rod play and talking to Rod. We didn't know the guy, but he was wearing a light jacket, like a Member's Only jacket. I don't remember how it came about, but she and I made some comment about the guy and how she should tag him with a post-it. She ended up writing "random dude" on a post-it, and it took a while for her to work up the nerve and opportunity, but she eventually managed to surreptitiously place the post-it on his jacket without him knowing. And, of course, as soon as she was able to do it, she and I melted into silent peels of laughter (didn't want to draw the guy's attention and risk him immediately noticing that he'd been tagged). For a couple of us, "random dude" became a code word for all time, and it still instantly evokes that night, that moment.
Rod Miller retired several years ago, back in 2005, I think. I ran into him once or twice after that, but I haven't seen him since. I heard a while ago that he sometimes stops by at the piano for a little bit on Saturday nights, but I'm rarely at Disneyland on Saturday nights. I don't really know anyone who has kept in touch with him, but if anyone has, and you care to do so, please pass along my greetings and well wishes to him. I think about him every time I pass the piano, and I hope he's well.
I don't know if I can really say that K and I were friends - we didn't really know each other all that well, though we did hang out at various times. I really liked her and would have liked to have gotten to know her better, but that just never seemed to pan out. We did have a lot of good times, many moments of laughter and some moments of personal sharing, and I'm thankful for all of them. I think about her periodically as well, wondering what she's been up to. Just the other day, I heard the song "All Star" by Smash Mouth, and I've always associated that song with her because she would sing the song, mostly the beginning of the chorus, often. YouTube won't let me embed the video, but here's the link.
Wherever you are, and whatever you're doing, Kaz, I hope you're happy, healthy and well. Thanks for some amazing Disneyland memories.