Saturday, November 8, 2008

This replaces a post under editorial review

Another post was supposed to occupy this space; but that post worked its way around to the subject of race, and I'm not crazy enough to post anything that touches on race without giving my internal editor a couple or three chances to review it.

So you'll have to be satisfied with this safer, politically correct, post about the excursion we took last evening to the geezer warehouse down by Schrack's Corner. We fit right in, or at least I did; because I was hobbling along in full gimp mode from something that suddenly and inexplicably went wrong with my hip the other day. I was lamer and slower than most of the coots. But don't get the idea that I was feeling sorry for myself. I wasn't; I took consolation in the fact that I didn't have dentures to work around in my mouth and click during the play, and my hair isn't blue or orange.

All in all Shannondell seems a pretty nice place, sort of like The Villages only all the houses are stacked on top of one another and compressed into one complex of big buildings with open air balconies instead of Florida rooms. Sam is of the opinion that all the inmates are at least in their high seventies; but I had the distinct impression that there were some younger ones in the gaggle of them I accompanied up in the elevator after the show. Linda took the stairs because the elevators were slow; and there was a crowd waiting. I took an elevator without shame, muscling aside a couple of the codgers who were slower than me with their elbows.

We went to see Oliver, put on by The King of Prussia Players, an amazingly professional performance with a cast of at least fifty or so including a half dozen excellent singers. It always amazes me how much effort and organization people are willing to put into what is, after all, a hobby, so that other people can pay cheap ticket prices that probably just about cover the cost of costumes and scenery.

Also heartening was the fact that there were quite a number of young kids in the audience. I don't mean relative kids like me and Linda; I mean actual kids six and seven and eleven years old, some of them visiting their greatgrandparents and getting to see a play as part of the visit; and some of them just there to see the play surrounded by strangers old enough to be their greatgrandparents. Except for me and Linda again; we're only old enough to be their grandparents.

It was great having kids there; but as I was watching the play I was wondering how well a play like Oliver can speak to young kids today, who have never known the feeling of hunger, and who have moreover never spent much time with anyone who has known the meaning of hunger. Leave aside the fact that the shameful state of education in this country makes it unlikely more than twenty or thirty percent of the audience understood the symbolism of the red dress on the character who played the whore with a heart of gold.

I've never myself been deeply hungry; but I knew Harry M, who ate every meal like a dog hovering over and guarding his plate. I didn't realize it until later when I read the comic book version of Oliver Twist as preparation for a high school book report; but Harry M must have grown up hungry to have guarded his plate like that all the way into middle age when he owned a produce market and, while not rich rich, was well off enough to eat as high on the hog as he wanted.

Pop and Mom both grew up in relatively straightened circumstances; but neither of them, and none of their brothers or sisters or the cousins raised with Mom guarded their plates like Harry. So Grandpop and Grandmon A and Grandpop and Grandmom L must have consistently earned enough or grown enough or scrounged enough to feed their families reasonably well. They ate a lot of beans and macaroni, and a lot of beans and greens, and a lot of polenta, and salads of young Dandelion and Pokes, and greens like Chima d' Rabe and Mustard and old tough Dandelion picked in the fields and by roadsides; but they must have eaten to reasonable fullness.

They were, all of Mom and Pop's generation, except Uncle Pete, a few inches shorter than Grandpop L and all of my generation; so probably none of them got quite enough protein as youngsters. But they all must have eaten to reasonable fullness in their youth in accordance with Grandpop L's old, old peasant wisdom, no doubt shared by Grandpop A, that, "you can't waste what you put in the bellies of your family." Pop translated that saying for me, and his Italian was only fair; so the translation may be a bit rough. But I know what he meant.

Speaking of which, Linda and I just ate to reasonable fullness on the last picking of Sam's Swiss Chard, which I combined with some potatoes and green beans and garlic. Linda had a gourmet lunch up at Jennifer's in Lancaster and then went shopping with Jennifer and Kathy and Liana and Catherine and Linda L; so I was left here alone and too gimpy with this hip business to do anything much except entertain Sam and Jas to coffee and then putter around the house cooking and such.

And, I'm pleased to report that there's good news on the gimpiness front. Either because the hip business is disappearing as mysteriously as it appeared, or else because I took a couple of Ibuprofens in accordance with Jas's advice, I'm walking a bit less like Chester Goode although I wouldn't call myself dance ready as yet.

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