The weather is beautiful. A little chilly for me, but I know it is a welcome change for most people who have been suffering through this record breaking summer. I thought the summer was wonderful. The chemo is a great appetite suppressant and it makes me intolerant to cold. So for a hot summer, I didn't eat much but I was never miserable like most of the rest of the world. Maybe they should put this drug in the water here in North Florida. It would kill the restaurant business for 3 months, but it would help everyone trying to loose weight. It would also mean that people would have a higher tolerance to the heat, so they could get more physical activity. Just an idea.
Yesterday, after breakfast, Dad and I drove into Tallahassee so I could get my oil changed. Then we just came back home and took it easy for the rest of the day. We took naps, well, I tried to, but Dad was more successful. Then we got dressed, picked up Caroline and headed to Quincy. I have been to this theater, the Leaf, several times before, but I have never driven, so I was not sure how long it would take. It took much less time then I thought it would. But that gave us plenty of time to find the West End Grill and have a delightful dinner. Caroline and I split appetizers and Dad had a grilled pork chop that you could tell he enjoyed. We were able to take our time and since the West End Grill is at the west end of Quincy we got to see the small agriculture town. A town with a Massey Ferguson Tractor store just a block or two from down town. Where the Agriculture Experiments stations are on the main drag in the middle of the business district.
Quincy has a historic district with a large square with a courthouse, slightly resembling the same lovely one we have here in Monticello with stores new and old filling the old historic businesses surrounding the town square. The Leaf, a movie theater built in the 1940s, now transformed into a beautiful live performing theater is located just a block off of the square, right behind the hardware store. It is a lovely theater, very different then our Opera House here in Monticello, but with wide comfortable seats, wide wings in front of the stage and a nice size orchestra pit.
I had thought the curtain went up at 8:00 pm, so we left the restaurant about 25 after 7 and drove to the theater to find that no, the show started at 7:30pm. So we were escorted into the dark theater, fortunately to aisle seats that I had reserved about midway down, by an attendant with a flashlight. The orchestra was playing the overture, but we had not missed any of the play. I felt terrible. It is so rude to walk in like we did, but fortunately, we did not interrupt anything, so all was well.
The curtain rose and the show took off, full of song and dance, words my father had said 40 years ago on different boards in a different production, but I saw him transported back to that time in his bright eyes. And when Buffalo Bill came out and the actors started singing, "There's no business like Show Business" Dad's foot started tapping, his finger clicking, he was singing the words in his head and his eyes became moist. My eyes leaked the joy in my heart for getting to peak at this moment with my father. To see how alive he felt, how happy he was seeing this play. Remembering the play as if he were up there playing the part of Buffalo Bill.
There is just so much talent in this North Florida area. I mean we had just seen a wonderful production of Sound of Music at the Opera House, and now when Annie opened her mouth and that big beautiful voice came out of that tiny woman, and then the sweetness of her singing with Frank Butler, it was truly magical. And Daddy just ate the whole thing up.
After the show I ran to bring the car up to the door and when I got out, there was Dad and the actor who played Buffalo Bill bonding. It is something closer then blood and family, this acting. And meeting someone who has played "your" part, and getting to talk about that part with someone who truly knows what it is like, is a very special connection. And this kind man looked as happy to talk to Dad about the part as Dad was to talk to him. Two gracious men discussing a passion shared between them. That club of a few lucky men who have had the opportunity to play the part of Buffalo Bill.
This morning, it was a bit too cold to take my morning walk before Dad got up, so I slept until almost 8 after getting to bed after midnight. The dogs were as tired as we were and let me sleep to this decedent hour. I fixed French toast with fried pears and a fresh fruit salad. After breakfast I walked up for the newspaper and to pick up another stick of butter to make butterscotch oatmeal cookies. I took the picture of Dad and Bob (named after Dad) on the porch and then headed out to rehearsal where I am now. The set is 3/4 of the way up, and what a difference this will make for rehearsal. I showed the director my wig, and she was happy.
I have ordered a couple of Christmas presents, yes, Christmas presents, so Dad would not be worried that I did not get things that we are doing together for the holiday. And I am getting this post on the blog before I get home after rehearsal. I need to wrap up so that I can rehearse my lines.
Dad and I will have a big dinner at home. The first dinner at home I can remember having in almost a week, and I am ready to eat my own food in my own home. Not that I haven't enjoyed eating out with Dad, but everyday is just too much for me. Tonight Dad will eat his steak, I will have asparagus and chicken with yellow rice. And of course we will have the cookies for desert. Tomorrow Dad will get to meet Dr. M and then we will have lunch out, maybe Ms Judy will be able to meet us. She has been trying to get an opportunity to see Dad before he leaves. We might even try and stop by to see Ms Moon. Dad got to see Mr. Moon, but he wants to see Ms Mary. He appreciates everything that Mary and Judy have done for me over these past two years. He loves these two women because I do, and because how kind and patient, nurturing and loving they have been for me during this journey of cancer.
Cancer. Every time I say I have cancer, there is a little catch in my throat. Oh, this is not a catch of fear or sadness, but of disbelief. I almost feel like I am telling an untruth. Cancer just seems so far removed from me these days. And always takes me back when I run into people who have not seen me for several months. They are always so happy to see that I am alive. They are amazed at how well I am doing. They can't get over the fact, that other then being thinner, I just look like me, healthy, alive, busy, moving and going. I saw our Assistant Director of the Division I retired from at Annie Get Your Gun. His daughter was one of the actors in the play. A beautiful girl who did a wonderful job with her part. Her parents, were rightly very proud of her, and was just another magical moment that made up last night.
So now I will run to go over my lines again and try to get off book by tomorrow so I can focus on my blocking and acting. I need to watch the men and see if I can make my movements and gestures more manly. It is a great group and they are rehearsing and eating cookies and laughing and I am so happy to be a part of this. To follow in my Dad's footsteps as I also dance across the boards as he did many times. He loved the big parts and being a head liner. I prefer the behind the scene, but still we share the passion of the stage. Not a bad thing to share with your dad.
And football, we both enjoy watching football. And when I get home we will watch a game together. And then I will grill his steak and we will eat, and then go to bed and prepare for our last full day together tomorrow. It has been a good visit. I have enjoyed having him with me. Yes, it does physically drain me, but I would not give it up for a million years. I am happy to have the time I have in this life, with the people I love. Doing things that make me happy. And it is another busy week coming up. But one of these days. One of these days soon, I am going to slip into bed and take a long decadent nap, sit on my porch and read a book, sip my tea and just enjoy my life. A wonderful life filled with so much love and joy and happiness. A life filled with poetry and plays, books, gardening and friends and family.