08/07/2005 09:14 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Motown Magic and the Great Wheel of Time

It's fundraising weekend on PBS TV up here in NYC and they've been featuring really old black and white tapes of the classic Motown groups (The Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas, The Temptations, The Four Tops, on and on) interspersed with live (or at least current) performances by those same groups, reunited in all their stocky, grey, and wrinkled glory for the occasion—and they are so fine, and so is their music, and it will live forerever in my heart, I do assure you...

But here's the thing. As I watched it all unfold I found myself drawn to some nagging association I didn't want to admit. Something about the glittering grooming, the evening dresses and tuxedos, the frozen hair styles, the metronomic rhythms and gestures, muted finger snapping and pointing, the synchronized turns and bends—not even trying to hide the habitualities of constant rehearsal, reveling in it. What was this most like, something I always thought belonged in a whole other trunk in the basement of my memory? And then it hit me.

Lawrence Welk.

The tracks of my tears...