Texas Hold ‘Em

“While riding on a train goin’ west,
I fell asleep for to take my rest.
I dreamed a dream that made me sad,
Concerning myself and the first few friends I had.”

That was the first verse of “Bob Dylan’s Dream” from Peter, Paul, and Mary’s album, Album 1700. The first LP I ever owned. I memorized every single song on that album. I could sing them for you, in their entirety, if you were to give me a fru-fru drink with a little umbrella in it.

The song, “Bob Dylan’s Dream” is special to me. On the rare occasions that I’ve heard it since the 1960’s, I can’t help but think it was specifically written for the time in my life from about 1988 to 1993. Those were the first few years I spent in Los Angeles.

I moved there from Texas as a doe-eyed ingenue. I think the industry might have chewed me up and spit me out, save for some really good fortune. And my sweet grandparents who hit their knees on a nightly basis praying for my soul.

I knew a few people from Texas that were already established in Los Angeles. They in turn, knew other Texans, and we all huddled together. Most of us were struggling actors. We were a very tight knit group that did everything together. What began as a type of social networking, evolved into a group of friends that banded together and watched one another’s backs. Fiercely.

I don’t know how or why, but we started playing poker together, every Wednesday night. This went on for about 4 or 5 years. Since, most of us were broke, we had a quarter ante,  two dollar limit.

I always had to have my “what beats what” list sitting beside me. Which often aided in my bluffing skills. You know. The blonde that you least expect to pull a fast one. I was known as “Dee-Square, when she bets, people listen.”

When we first started playing, one of the regulars, invited a young actor named Brad Pitt to play with us. Occasionally, we allowed “honorary Texans” to join us. If they were cool enough. And brought quarters.

Brad was definitely cool. He is in the green bowling shirt on the far right. Oh. That’s me in the tube top. Always a good choice, the tube top. What kept it up, other than staples, I’ll never know. The guy on the left had met him while working on a movie of the week. After spending just a little time with Brad, we all knew this guy was destined for stardom. He had this serious “James Dean” thing going on. And he really was such a nice guy.

Brad played sporadically with us. Occasionally, we would all socialize, going to see one another in plays. There was a time I had his phone number in my address book. Because eventually, the poker game ended up being played at my Hollywood apartment every week. His number has changed since then.

Of course I tried it. I’m not completely crazy.

This is Brad on the floor of my apartment. Wearing the hat. The game had grown so large that night, that he was relegated to the flooring.

Not long after that, he made “Thelma & Louise” and got a little busy. I think that was the last time he played poker with us.

We continued on for awhile. There were some other “famous” players. Lou Diamond Phillips was a good friend who played. He and his wife were the ones who really took me in under their wings when I first moved to Los Angeles.

Another precious friend was Brandon Lee. As in son of Bruce. We often played poker at his house. I adored Brandon. He was someone who lived his life at full tilt. And a better friend, you’d never find. He was killed tragically on a movie set in the 90’s. His memorial service was probably the last time I saw most of the poker guys.

I still keep in touch with many of the girls in our group. Some of us have had friendships which have spanned 20 years or so.

We’re all grown up now, with families of our own. At different ends of the country.

That was a sweet time. I’ve led a colorful life. Indeed I have. And I have to giggle when I look in the mirror and see a middle aged housewife, and homeschooling mother of three staring back at me.

“You use to play poker with Brad Pitt,” I whisper to myself as I wave the toilet bowl brush in the air.

My children have no idea who he is. They just wish I had known “Barney” and could get his autograph.

“How many a year has passed and gone,
And many a gamble has been lost and won;
And many a road taken by many a first friend,
And each one of them I’ve never seen again.

I wish, I wish, I wish in vain,
That we could sit simply in that room once again;
Ten thousand dollars at the drop of a hat,
I’d give it all gladly if our lives could be like that.

While riding on a train goin’ west,
I fell asleep for to take my rest.
I dreamed a dream that made me sad,
Concerning myself and the first few friends I had.”

Bob Dylan’s Dream

April 18, 2008

33 Responses to Texas Hold ‘Em

  • Aww the sweet freedoms of youth. We didn’t know how good we had it. I don’t see a middle aged, homeschooling mom in the mirror. I see my MOTHER!

  • Buried in my parent;s garage in a couple of autographs of Barney. It’s sandwiched, alphabetically, along with a few thousand other call sheets, from the like of Bob Hope and Vera Miles.

    Wouldn’t they be proud.

  • that’s a great story…and how cool that you have memories of a carefree youth on those “I just stepped on a a Cheerio and he kids are whining and I’m outta milk” kinda days.

  • You should organise a reunion.

  • Very, very fun. Have you posted somewhere about what took you West in the first place, and how you came to be a believer? I loved the part about your grandparents praying for you. What’s your faith legacy? I’d like to read that.

  • I have yet to post about how I came to be a believer. But, it happened in Los Angeles. I’m feeling more and more led to do that. And i tell you Linda, my grandparents praying over me was key.

  • what a cool story! And pictures! Very cool to have those memories, I’m sure your kids will appreciate them as they get older. 🙂

  • How fun was that?!! Bet you’re glad you kept those pics! 🙂 I’m with Linda- I would LOVE to hear how you became a believer.

    And- right back atcha! 😉

  • I thought just seeing the Brad Pitt pictures would be cool, but what a wonderful story. Thank you so much for sharing.
    I too have grandparents who spend many an hour on their knees praying for their grandchildren. In fact my last living one is 93 and just informed my father that praying for his family is what keeps him busy these days.
    Blessings to you!

  • Wonderful story, DeeDee! Thanks for sharing that! Sounds like your grandparents kept an angel on your shoulder while you were there! I would love to hear how you became a believer, too!

  • It just goes to prove that we’re all just people who put their pants on one leg at a time. What a story you can tell from all your Adventuring in LA…

    The Fame thing never really thrilled me, but memories of good friendships… now that fills my heart with joy. (Given the choice between meeting Pitt or holding one of my kids, I’d take the kids hands down. I’m sure he’s wonderfully nice and all, but golly, there’s nothing like a good kid hug to get you through the next day or six.)

  • Thanks for showing those pics and telling your story. How neat to have played Poker with Brad Pitt, AND have the pics to prove it =)

  • OK. That is just too fun! I LOVE poker, and you played with Brad Pitt!

    I too want to hear the “how I became a believer story”…

  • Sweet, sweet memories. You keep reminding yourself about poker with Pitt when you’re having a bad day. Even better than that – remind yourself that you now know better than to wear a tube top. THAT my friend is inspiration!

  • That was touching DeeDee. I’ve watched Brad in many interviews and he really does seem like a nice guy. His passion for the folks in Louisiana touches me too. He really is making things happen.

    And I would love to read your testimony too. Maybe we could organize a day where everyone shares their testimony or their faith. I’m always interested in others but know sometimes that people are scared to write abut it or discuss it. What do you think?

  • Was he just as yummy then? I have a few famous friends. James Marsden is as big as it gets.Still, I am folding laundry and cleaning toilets too. ah, these days, I wouldn’t trade!

  • My husband used to be mistaken for Brandon Lee a lot. It warms my heart to know he was a nice guy. My heart just shattered for his mother when I heard that he’d been killed.

    And, you know, DeeDee, the line about waving the toilet brush and whispering to yourself, “I used to play poker with Brad Pitt,” rings true on a different level.

    Even on days when we are dealing with temperamental kids and temperamental skin and temperamental emotions, we can still look in the mirror and whisper, “Your are a princess of The Most High. The King is enthralled with your beauty.”

    Beautiful story.

  • Sweet sweet memories…. I once had dinner with Ralph Nader.

  • It’s so nice to hear that he has always been as nice as he seems. There are so many that are opposite. . . it makes me like him even more.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • oh my oh my oh my. oh. my.!!!!!

    (Don’t know if it’s just my computer, but the second pic scrolls way down and has fuzzy large pixels.)

    ~C

  • Well you had me fooled! What a great memory!

  • I always though Lou Diamond Phillips was nice. He used to be one of my favorites to watch. Glad to hear he’s a nice one too.

  • Love this.
    With regards to what Linda said in her comment, I kind of think we should have some kind of “Testimony Carnival.” Everyone could post about who God is to them, what He has done for them, how they met Him and how He saved them. I would love to host something like that. what an encouragement it would be!

    Wait, how did this come up on a post about playing poker with Brad Pitt??

  • what a neat past you’ve had. it is hard to believe who you are now compared to the direction you seemed to be heading.

  • What great memories! Something you could tell your grandkids some day. But they probably say “Brad who?”

  • I have so enjoyed reading your 6 unimportant things (which I don’t find “unimportant” AT ALL) 😉 What an exciting life you have led. I would be willing to bet that the most exciting times are now, with the kids though. 😉

    I would also love to read your testimony. I used to be so ashamed of sharing my testimony (not wanting others to think bad of me for my past sins), but while doing a Beth Moore study I learned that I was sinning by NOT sharing. I still haven’t had the courage to share, yet, but I am really thinking/praying about it.

  • Isn’t it funny how we almost seem like 2 different people. Our BK life and then life as a mom. Great post!
    Dee @ boysrus

  • Holy. Cow. That is awesome. What fun to have been you…

  • Brad Pitt–I am so jealous. But I did believe you. Oh, that was great!! Totally cool. I have nothing…no famous people, nothing.

    But a young friend of mine went to college with Steve Burns (as in Blue’s Clues). My children think she is the bomb (do people still say that?). Even at their advanced ages (10 & 7) they still think Steve was cool. I loved Blue’s Clues…I mean my sons loved Blue’s Clues. It went downhill with Joe.

  • Just a bunch of kids with dreams! I think it’s great you have such a nice story about meeting someone before they get famous. You know he probably is the same ol’ guy he was way back when, just a bit richer and quite a more popular.

  • Wow. But the coolest is that you came to know Christ and have this testimony to share. :>)

  • Can’t wait to read your testimony. I am excited that you are taking that step of sharing here on your blog. Transparency is so good– for us, and for others. I will pray for your boldness in sharing as you prepare to write.

    I too had grandparents who were KEY in my faith journey.

    And I loved that image of the toilet bowl brush and the juxtaposition (big word, I know) of your current life and your former one. I think we can all identify with that image in one way or another.

  • Hi Dee Dee,

    I read a post of your’s a few months ago after the Ultimate Blog Party and you mentioned playing poker with Brad Pitt but you hadn’t written this post yet. I FINALLY got back here to read all the details – thank you!! I didn’t know you were into acting before, thank you so much for sharing this with us. 🙂