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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Buddy, you're not even the most interesting person at this table!

Good morning!

Last weekend was Mother's Day. Normally, my big Mother's Day wish is to not move.  I dream of becoming one with my couch.  However, most Mother's Days, at least for the last 20 years or so, I've managed, at the music director for our church's Sunday School, to make sure we sing in church that day.  Every year.  Very stressful for me.  You'd think I'd learn, but I don't.

After the mega stress of church and Sunday school I then get my wish. Hubby makes a mega meal and the family gathers around the table as we do once a year, to eat and have dinner conversation.  And then I become one with my couch.

This year was a bit different and not just because we dismantled our kitchen table at Christmas and never actually put it back up.  (We now eat our dinners as God intended:  At the coffee table while watching TV.)  This year Hubby got Opera tickets.

Yeah, I know.  Opera. We're not exactly Opera people.  I mean, we are those people who figure if a story is really good, they'll make it into a movie and hey, if the movie is really good, it'll probably be on Netflix in a couple months.  

Oddly enough, the Opera we were to see was La Boheme.  This is an Italian Opera set in France.  It's also the grandaddy of movie-musicals such as "Rent" and "Moulin Rouge." So, sure, we had the story line down.  But seriously, how does one behave at an opera?

To top it off, since we were going to the Opera, we were then invited to the Opera Luncheon.  For $70 we got to rub elbows with other Opera folk while dining on chicken breast covered in white goo.  (Hubby's dinner, the vegetarian option, was far superior.  At least the flourless chocolate cake was awesome.)  We figured, hey, how often do we get to have lunch with people who know stuff about actual culture?  So we went to the luncheon.

Now, I don't know, I sort of thought we'd be sitting at little tables, sort of soaking in the cultural talk as it floated around us.  Nope, we were seated with six other people at a round table.  There was an old couple, a couple of old women, and a couple slightly older than we.  (Are you getting the point?  We were the youngest people in the room.) The couple slightly older than we decided they knew us.  (They didn't.)  But there was that long, drawn out, uncomfortable, tedious conversation where they are trying to decide how they know us.  (Which they don't.)  We finally landed on the fact that we both go to the same coffee shop.  Well, having that connection, they decided they knew exactly what we were about.  (Nope.)  And they proceeded to talk to us to the exclusion of the rest of the table.

Since it was Mother's Day, the woman asked if this was what we were doing to celebrate.  (Um, duh.)  And then she launched into a long, horribly detailed description of her day to that point.  Apparently they went for a walk. In their back yard.  And there their foraged for Morel mushrooms and asparagus.  And then husband made, and I'm quoting, "A beautiful breakfast."

Okay, that story should have taken three minutes, with maybe another three in discussion about how we enjoy morel mushrooms.  (I would have thrown in a bit about how false morel mushrooms play a key role in my novel "Fresh Ice."  I never got the chance.) They continued to talk about every house they've ever lived in where they've foraged for morel mushrooms  (so that he could make a "beautiful breakfast") and how they do so enjoy walking in their back yard.

This went on for most of the lunch.  I swear, she said "beautiful breakfast" fifteen times.  I wanted to smack her with my salad fork, but I was thinking that wouldn't be very cultural.  

While the least interesting people in the world took a breath to chew, the elder gent on Hubby's other side mentioned something about being on a ship during the war.  I pounced on that because those guys have the BEST stories, but you have to sort of draw them out.  Turns out, the guy enlisted at 17, and was a radio guy on a destroyer for both Iwo Jima and Okinawa.  And, he told us, when they were in battle they only needed one radio guy so then he had to help feed the bullets into the automatic guns.

The guy was a bona fide hero.

I encouraged him to tell us more stories. He started in on one about losing his wallet which was touching and funny.  Meanwhile, the Morels piped up about how they had to yell at a pack of children playing in their back yard to stop playing because they were crushing the morels and then he wouldn't be able to make...say it with me...the BEAUTIFUL BREAKFAST.

I ignored them because then War Hero wife quietly mentioned they'd lost all his war memorabilia in a house fire set by a drug addict who broke into their home while they were visiting their children.  The story was dramatic, riveting, and did not involve morel mushrooms.  

Lunch ended and later hubby and I realized we'd never even heard a peep from the two old ladies a the table.  We called them the Baldwin Sisters and made up stories for them, none of which included the words "beautiful breakfast."

We enjoyed the opera.  Thank goodness for super titles  (that's sub titles that are flashed ABOVE the stage.)  Will we be back to the Opera? Maybe.

I am, however, hesitant to go back to our favorite coffee shop.  I'm not strong enough for another "beautiful breakfast" story.

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