Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dallas and Dallas

It was thirty-three years ago this week that I attended a conference in Dallas. It was the annual convention of the professional organization of which I was a member.
Apart from the exciting and scintillating sessions sponsored by the organization for my edification and professional development, I remember three or four specific things which made a lasting impression on me. The first of these was that Indiana, while beginning to experience some April-type weather, had not yet shaken off the remnants of the Great Snow of '78. In fact, when I left for Texas, there was a lot of snow still on the ground; and when I returned five days later it had not yet completely disappeared. Meanwhile, there were green leaves on the deciduous trees in Dallas, and the temperatures were in the high seventies and low eighties!
To account for the illustration, I will list this as the second of the memorable incidents. A great hall was set up for the convenience of vendors whose hope it was to impress the attendees with their wares, and perhaps snag them as customers. Wandering through this exhibition, I came upon a booth where the sales staff had employed an artist to sketch caricatures of the potential customers. I stood nearby as the artist worked, and soon enough I was invited to "visit" with the man as he drew the sketch you see here. He chatted me up about my interests, and hence the old Ford pickup and the wrench. (Perhaps a story for another time.) In truth, I have to say that the youngster captured the "essence" of me, so to speak, for it is a pretty faithful representation of the man I once was. A long time ago. But I already mentioned that.
The third memorable event was an evening entertainment in the great convention auditorium. Pearl Bailey performed a very nice set, giving us a never-to-be forgotten experience. The performance was just a few days after her sixtieth birthday.

While in Dallas, the premiere episode of the night-time soap, Dallas was aired. The local newspapers made such a hullabaloo about it that I made it a point to be in my hotel room when the broadcast occurred, thus now being able to say I saw it at its inception. And that was it for me. The newspaper critics in Dallas weren't much thrilled with it either, for reading the articles the next day was a great deal more entertaining than was the show itself.

Finally, as I wandered the streets of Dallas, awed by the magnitude of the big city, I came upon the fabled Niemann-Marcus Flagship store. Of course I had to spend some time "shopping" there. This means, of course, that I roamed through the store big-eyed, mouth agape and mind boggled by the merchandise and the prices thereof. I found a swell camel-hair sports jacket that I really liked; yet it puzzled me then, and does so to this day, why anyone would pay a month's salary for a jacket. Well, it was a month's salary for me.


Vee said...

Love the caricature - it's now in my picture file. There is something good at each conference, and when one goes on the dime of some company, attendance can be downright enjoyable.

Pearl said...

Wait -- you saw Pearl Bailey live?! I'm jealous. She had, as my dad would say, a great set of pipes.

And no. That doesn't mean anything other than an expression of awe regarding her voice. :-) We're not like that.


Secondary Roads said...

I attended a few business meetings in Dallas. Always enjoyed the visit.

vanilla said...

Vee, that "find" was the result of cleaning out some file folders from way back. It amazes me how little I discard during such a project. No wonder storage space never increases.

Pearl, yes. Yes, I did; and she could belt it out! Five years late at a similar convention, I saw Lena Horne!

Chuck, Dallas was a "convention friendly" city, for sure.

Lin said...

Pearl Bailey live??! Wow. That is something. They don't make singers like that anymore.

Love the caricature!

Uh--I just dropped nearly month's salary of my own on some kid's prom. That said, I work part-time and I don't earn much--but what I do earn is for incidentals and splurging every so often. I'm glad I did it just this once. :)

vanilla said...

Lin, impressive, hunh? But no more than I was impressed that you knew Burl Ives.

Caricatures are fun.

Not on "some kid's prom." On YOUR kid, and good for you, Mom.

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Love the cartoon! I've seen some of people that were really cute, and I think yours makes the grade.

vanilla said...

Why, thank you, Shark!