It's was historic week, as my friend Dan said. Dan should know. While drinking beers at a sports bar on Monday night, catching game five of the American League playoffs, he made a reference indicating a unique knowlegde of events before his time. We were describing our favorite cities and towns, in the world and in the United States. Once, Dan told us, on a drive through Virginia he caught sight of a little place. It was just like Brigadoon, he said. "Brigadoon", the 1947 hit musical, features the story of two American tourists putzing around Scotland. They stumble upon a charming village. One, of course, falls madly in love with a maiden who lives there - but there is a problem. The town appears only once every 100 years. So the reference fit - but wait one second, I said. Did you just reference "Brigadoon" while drinking 32-ounce beers in a somewhat seedy bar? That's right, he confirmed. That's just what he'd done. Dan pulled up a chair next to me and while the others talked science we discovered we'd both been brought up on musicals and oldies. The powerful rhythm of "The Impossible Dream" from "Man of la Mancha" mingles easily with "Breaking Up is Hard to Do" in the car-ride memories of my youth. Between life comparisons, we caught some of the game and talked to strangers about the upcoming election. The Sox won and I rejoiced. The next day I was hounded by two things: my father singing to me over the phone, once with a coworker, and the question of what to make for dinner that night as I was having some friends over. My father, it seemed, was delighted that "Brigadoon" had entered discussion, especially since I'd called him from the bar to ask he and my mother if they could remember of the musical hits. While they couldn't at first, on Tuesday, my dad was eager to sing. When he and a colleague traded the phone back and forth between them after lunch, each singing a verse, I asked, "Is this what you do at work?" Yes, he said. Yes it is.
That afternoon I requested the help of my own coworkers. What should I make for dinner? One suggested something that sounded good involving Mexicorn and seafood and I decided to forgo my normal dedication to the cookbook and go for it.
We opened several bottles of wine, had the game on in a separate room, and I proceeded to cook, a skill that has come slowly to me. The conversation, cheese and crackers, and use of the seldomly-used dinner table suggested that: I was actually having a dinner party and it was successful. The food turned out well and I was surprised, just like I am any time I make anything. Karla brought dessert, and as she passed it out, J made an announcement - "I love pie." He went on to inquire about the difference between pie and cobbler, which we were having. Cobbler, explained Karla's husband Max, is like pie, only more shapeless. It's like an informal sort of pie.
The mood was relaxed, the Sox won again, and I went to sleep, and woke up, very tired. But the week forged on.
That's because it was game seven Wednesday and there was no way I was staying home with Yankees-loving J to watch a potential disaster. Last year we watched game seven, Yankees - Red Sox, on the floor of my studio apartment and when the Yankees won J stood up and cheered while I crawled under a blanket, silently wept, and fell into a restless sleep. This year I wouldn't be alone. We filled a table at a local sports bar and kept the beers coming, especially when I realized I was nervous, an emotion I rarely feel regarding sports, but often when the Red Sox get just far enough to lose it all.
A fellow fan and I stood at the bar, anxious, during the last inning, and then...and then...we WON. They won. Beers were downed, tabs were paid, we hugged, went on to the next bar where we all participated in taking a huge, pink shot and danced to 90's music all night long.
Again, I awoke tired. But thinking of it now, a Monday, rested, and nothing to do but start working, I'd certainly do it again, and what's more, I long for that Thursday morning. Yes, I was worried I'd acted like an idiot the night before, I was tired and had just had enough time to get showered and dressed before being horribly late, but I'd had quite a week in just three days. I hadn't succumbed to the television in a mindless way. I was out, walking to my car that morning with my fall jacket, appropriate for the cool fall air and cloudy sky. I had to make it all the way to Franklin street, where my car had remained. I liked the smell of busses running up and down the street, the students and others waiting for them at designated stops. Walking in order to get somewhere is no longer part of my life, as it was in bigger cities, and the very normal sounds and sights were all the more interesting.
As I made my way down Greensboro, I noticed a small, nice looking house to my left, with a porch and picket fence. A well-dressed woman sat on a rocking chair out front, and what must have been her teenage daughter sat next to her, also in a rocking chair. They were covered in blankets. They were reading. I stared for a moment, wondering what they were doing there on a Thursday morning, half wishing I could just walk over and join them. They looked back and seemed friendly, but responsive to my questioning glance. This is what we do on Thursday morning, they seemed to say. It's just what we like to do.
Their answer to the busy world made my walk even better. Though I was tired, things seemed in the right place. I was learning to cook, had funny stories to tell, and the Red Sox were going to the World Series.