Have you ever gone in a bar as a couple and discovered it was a singles' hook-up joint? Or worn a strapless gown to a function, when everyone else was in jeans?
I thought it would be fun to celebrate our anniversary at some of our old haunts. Got a reservation at The Old Canteen, a favorite Italian restaurant in Providence, R.I., about forty-five minutes from our summer home. We started going to The Old Canteen to celebrate our kids' victories (academic and athletic), and continued through college graduations and engagements. Although the owner, Joe Marzilli, and Sammy the busboy are no longer alive, the menu and decor haven't changed. Glowing pink paint on the walls reflected off our cheeks, or was it the bottle of Prosecco we finished? The garlic bread was still crusty and hot and "Veal a la Mike" with eggplant and prosuitto was still on the menu. A perfect anniversary dinner!
Trinity Square Repertory Company is a training ground for Broadway. One of the stars that moved on after we had seen him at Trinity for decades was Richard Jenkins. Knowing Charley has a good sense of humor and went through natural childbirth with me (twice), changed diapers, chauffered to practices and took over the laundry while I went back for another M.A., I bought tickets to the musical "Motherhood."
The producers of "Motherhood" are the same team who produced the musical "Menopause." Although Charley went through menopause with me, he suggested I attend that show with a girlfriend. Which I should have done for "Motherhood!"
As soon as we entered the lobby of Trinity Square after our perfect dinner, I knew I was in trouble. We were surrounded by hundreds of women. ONLY women. Not a man in sight...except Charley. Who dutifully waited by the rest rooms while I got in line.
We found our seats. He hadn't bolted yet! "Look honey," I said. "There's another man over there."
I was pointing directly across the theater to the far side. It was the only other man I could see. Eventually I found one other.
"Oh look, there's Babs," I said. Three rows up to our right sat one of our son and daughter-in-law's best friends. In jeans (not a dress, like me). With two girlfriends. Charley immediately began waving at her.
"You realize this is going to come back at you?" Just wanted to make sure he knew he could still bolt.
Big hugs and kisses for Babs. "So what are you doing here?" she asked Charley.
"We just had a wonderful anniversary dinner," I explained, "and thought we'd see a show. We used to have season tickets here for twenty years."
"Congratulations!" Babs said, with more hugs and kisses. The lights went down and the music came up. Saved! Babs scurried to her seat.
I thought the show was hilarious. Motherhood = changes to a woman's body, priorities, lifestyle. Right up to grannyhood! But Charley didn't laugh. At least not for the first forty-five minutes.
There was no intermission. If there had been, I knew we would have been out of there.
The second forty-five minutes, he was smiling. I even caught him laughing once. As the four stars were doing their encore, we dwarfed ourselves down the aisle in the dark. The woman behind us pointed and laughed. We made it through the lobby with the crowd still cheering.
We got to the street. "I was really worried they'd come up in the audience and grab any guy they could find for an audience participation thing," was Charley's only comment.
I was just grateful he'd stayed.
For forty-seven years!
- Delray Beach, FL, Westport, MA, United States
- Undergraduate degree, Colby College; MA in teaching, Columbia Teacher's College; former high school English teacher in three states; former owner of interior design co. with advanced degree from R.I. School of Design. Published first book in 2009 titled, MINOR LEAGUE MOM: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY THROUGH THE RED SOX FARM TEAMS. Her humorous manuscript titled ELDERLY PARENTS WITH ALL THEIR MARBLES: A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE KIDS was published in June, 2014. In 2015 A SURVIVAL GUIDE won a gold medal in the self-help category at the Florida Authors & Publishers Association conference. See website By CLICKING HERE.