I am so far behind my blogging. I don't have a computer of my own (first world problems) and I detest blogging when someone is awake. But, I'm afraid the month-gone visit to finish my season at Stratford will not have the exclamation point I was hoping it would.
Let me tell you about my friend, Mary. She and I, in the words of Anne of (won't you please call me Cordelia) Green Gables, is a bosom friend, in more than one sense. When we met, it was as if I had known her all my life. She just fit, you know what I mean? We met at the National Breastfeeding Conference in Toronto back in 2008 (hence, another meaning to 'bosom' friend, and I also spoke at that conference this year). We have been friends ever since. We are like 2 schoolgirls when we get together.
We don't see each other enough. Last year, the only time we saw each other was at - GASP - Camelot at Stratford, which just happened to be Cordelia's very first trip to Stratford. Otherwise, we have stolen a concert in Toronto together, gabbed away at other breastfeeding conferences, emailed, or texted.
Mary wrote her lactation consultant exam this summer, so she didn't have much time for relaxation while she was studying. I think I said something about needing a girl's day away as an award for finishing the exam. And, Stratford won our time away together.
But this day, it wasn't just the Festival we planned on enjoying - we intended to paint the town: find hidden bookshops, and resale stores...look for local stores which would steal our hearts...and eat.
These pursuits were accomplished and then some. We found gems everywhere we went - from the wonderful bookstores to quaint tea shops to a ... well, for lack of better word, a wiccan store (great place for Harry Potter type items), and inexpensive gifts for us and our children, an early start to Christmas shopping. shhhhh
Oh - the weather was sublime. Perfect. Late summer weather in October, but not too hot. We could not have scripted a more beautiful day away.
We, as human beings, need time away from everything. Women, especially, because we put ourselves on the bottom of life a lot of the time. We need time to charge our batteries, take stock in what happiness is to us and embrace it. It's healthy. We owe it to our families and ourselves to take that time just for us.
Our matinee was, "Much Ado About Nothing," which I was so happy I didn't miss (it closed just a couple of days later). It was so much fun. I adore Claire Lautier and Ben Carlson. It was a light play compared to Cymbeline and Henry V, but worth the wait. We had fun. [I actually had to check the birth day of Luke Humphrey because he, uh, knows how to dance, let's say. Eek. He's going to play Dartagnon next season (Three Muskateers). Hip hip hooray! That's a book I need to buy - next time I go to the Waterford Old Town Hall book sale.]
Miss Mary hadn't gotten her LC exam marks, as of that date. They came out earlier in the week. I tried to help her look it up during lunch, but we were missing the special code for her exam. She sent out some emails to people at work when the play started.
We sat in the very top row in the balcony and heard every word. It was a much quieter play than Henry - much less people walking in the background.
During intermission, out on the balcony with the sun streaming down on us, Mary received her code for the exam pass/fail. I knew how she felt - I was there last year...so many years of work, hours studying to write the exam, co-workers eager and hoping you passed...she was too nervous to check, so I did it for her.
I will never forget the ecstatic look on my dear friend's face when I told her she passed. Relief, happiness, peace, bliss...I'm so glad that I was a part of it. When I found out my marks, I was alone in my office and ran to the main midwives' office, jumping up and down to the point where my supervisor (whose office was directly above) came down to find out what the emergency was. Yes, I know how Mary felt...
With the feeling of imminent "what if" removed from us, we thoroughly (even more so?) enjoyed the second half.
Claire L helped Braeden to have an extremely happy birthday back in September, so he made her a special gift as thanks, which I gave her after the show. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of his final project. What he did was write her favourite Sonnet in Elvish. It was beautiful! He's got talent.
We found a great tea shop, and an olive oil place (chocolate olive oil, ladies!) before we headed to Down the Street for dinner. We had packed lunch, so we splurged a bit on dinner because Mary passed! And, we deserved it. If you haven't eaten there, go. Their menu is wonderful!
We gabbed and reminisced throughout dinner. She and I have never run out of things to discuss. But, I bet even silence would be great with her. It's been a while since I've had a close friend like her. We don't seem to have them like we do when we are children, do we? Why is that? Why do we let life get in the way?
Our evening show was, "The Matchmaker." I could have seen this show a dozen more times and I would have laughed as hard each time. Poor Mary, I think she ran out of kleenex. Our abs were sore from laughing so ferociously. If you missed this show, you really missed out. Stellar cast, hilarious script, clockwork comical timing, gorgeous costumes, men singing...(had to slip that in there). Oh - and I finally met the dashing Mike Shara. He was quite wonderful. He'll be a Muskateer, too (hint hint).
If anyone remembers, waaaay back in the summer, I wrote I felt badly about what I construed as laughing at Josh Epstein when he asked me if Boing Boing was my first play in New York. Anyone remember? I wrote that I'd make it up somehow. I let Braeden's talent make it for me (thank you, Braeden). He wrote, in Elvish, "Studio 58" "Hop the Twig" and "Wait for Rain" for him. That I have pictures of, but not here. I'll post them later. I'm glad I was able to give it to Josh after the show because I didn't know then that he wasn't going to come back the next season. Ack! Since I really 'got into' Stratford the past 2 seasons, Josh has been there in my most favourite shows (Titus, Cymbeline, Matchmaker).
I just didn't think about him not being here. And not only him, but others are gone, too - like Cara. Oh, Cordelia did NOT take that news well at all. Poor girl. I'm just going to have to bribe Miss Cara to come back and help Kids4Bard one day, when she's not busy. Her career is shooting straight up. We'll have to wait a bit. And Josh is back in BC, where Cordelia wants to be (she was born there and has a very deep yearning to see it, since we moved back to Ontario when she was 7 months).
I still have yet to hear about my other favourites...Sean and Claire mostly. I hate wait.
I think The Matchmaker is a show I will go to the archives to watch when I'm old., not just to laugh again, but to reminisce about the days when I saw it. The day with my lovely Cordelia, dressed up like a princess, being treated like a princess, meeting Sean, Cara, Marilou, wearing Peggy's head piece...a day of perfection for my daughter - watching her watch "We're in the Money," will be one of the highlights of my life.
Then, the heavenly day with my mom, which I thought I'd never feel again. The magic of theatre enveloping us, protecting us, binding us together like The Force...laughing with Cara, talking with Josh - having the light bulb go on that if it wasn't for my mom, I wouldn't have been in Stratford, then and there. The ride home where anything and nothing and everything was talked about with no regrets, no disillusionment, no hiding...I'll never forget that day.
Then, this day with Mary: making us a priority, giggling without a care in the world, finding treasures and treasures we had forgotten we had lost (resale stores will do that)...seeing her face, giving her the biggest hug in the world when I told her she passed...talking about life, boys, theatre, blessings, regrets...the perfect weather...It was the perfect day to end my season at Stratford.
Where will I be when I see it in the archives? Will my children be grown? What will they be doing? Will I be a grandma? What will I be doing, other than breasfeeding and midwifing? Will I feel peace and happiness in every aspect of my life? Will there be a Cornelius Hackl to my Irene Milloy? Will my children's dreams be fulfilled? Will mine be realised?
All I believe is that whatever we are all doing, where ever we go, we will all look back at this 60th season in Stratford and be grateful for those we shared it with, those we met, those emotions we felt. We will realise that this summer changed us, permanently, for the better.
And with this, I say good night...nya:weh for sharing this with me, whoever you are that reads this. Write me a word or two...
I will be back soon with my autumn reading (which is the reason I started the blog in the first place - literature)....stay tuned. xoxo