Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Day for Playbills and Lobster Bibs

Ours is a not a family that has an overwhelming number of traditions. On Christmas morning, I cook breakfast, which is the only time all year I do so (and in the interest of full disclosure is usually the only day all year that I am home by the time everyone else awakens). On most Sundays (can something be a tradition if it is followed only "most" of the time?) Margaret makes macaroni. I am fairly confident that if Margaret was sitting here with me as I write this she could think of at least one or two more - not including her sitting across the kitchen table from me as I write, talking about something. She is a pie-eyed optimist that wife of mine. I am a notoriously bad listener when you the speaker have what you reasonably presume is my undivided attention. Care to do the math as to how far the percentage of "paying attention" falls when that presumption is no longer reasonable?

Margaret and Suzanne do have a tradition of making an annual trip to Manhattan to see a Broadway show and to eat dinner. For as long as I can remember, every year for Christmas I buy them tickets (it is one of Suzanne's presents) to something that I have either heard one or the other mention aloud as a show she would like to see or to something that it seems they would enjoy. Over the years they have seen a number of different shows - all musicals I think - and have eaten all over Manhattan together.

Neither has ever suggested to me that I should purchase a third ticket and join them. And neither ever shall. This thing of theirs that they do belongs to them. I have no role in it; other than much like a producer I arrange for the outing's financing. That is the sum and substance of my involvement, which is what it should be. What makes this event something that both of them look forward to every year is that it is theirs and theirs alone. They spend it together - free from work, from school, from husbands and from boyfriends (although I really, really hope that last one applies only to Suz). It is most certainly "their thing".

And I smile at the thought of it. And I smile at the thought of all the years they have done it and all of the shows they have seen together. And I smiled when they arrived home last night, having seen A Little Night Music with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury (who has always made me think of Mom - not because Mom ever possessed the ability to pour hot water out of her nose but because she has always been one of Mom's favorites) and having eaten dinner thereafter somewhere in Little Italy. The name was told to me (any guesses as to whether I remember it?) and, more amusingly, the pictures of the two of them eating dinner were shown to me. My favorite was the one of my tiny wife wrestling with what - conservatively speaking - was the biggest lobster claw I have ever seen. If in the era of cheesy Japanese monster movies the plot of one such epic had called for a giant crustacean to attack Tokyo ("Quick we must find all of the hot butter sauce we can and pour it on the monster to save the city!"), then I would have thought that the womenfolk were dining last night at that film's props department. Looking at it in all of its digitalized glory, Chief Martin Brody leaped to mind.

I have a lot of fun - perhaps more than I should -at Suzanne's expense, ribbing her about the fact that it is unclear to me whether she will ever live anywhere other than the first door on the left at the top of the stairs. Admittedly I rib her less about it now than I did before Rob took up residence (temporarily I hope) in the Mountain Time Zone but I still get my jabs in from time to time. Less frequently I stop to consider a day like yesterday. A day on which annually, whether realizing it or not, Margaret and Suzanne honored not only their tradition but another as well. The tradition that has been passed down in Margaret's family from Nan (her grandmother) to Suzy B (her mom), from Suzy B to Margaret and now from Margaret to Suzanne. The tradition of one's mother also being one's best friend.

And I realized last night, doing a bit of running on Suz's treadmill as I awaited their return how much I hope that Suzanne never moves too far away and how much I believe that she and Margaret share that very same hope. And it occurred to me that - if the fates allow it - a time will come somewhere a bit further on up the road when I shall have to purchase a third ticket. And the tandem shall expand to a trio and a third generation of lobster-eating musical-loving theatregoer shall take her place alongside her mother and her grandmother.

All walking together at the point of intersection between the past, the present and the future. And each seeing the world through a set of eyes in addition to her own.



Robert said...

This was truly one of the good ones. It made me very happy

Adam Kenny said...