I woke up knowing today was going to be special - soft shell for supper! The day turned out to be blessed with more than gastronomic pleasures.
Listening to my classic radio station, my soul lifted up listening to excerpts from Tannhauser. I know that Wagner was a thoroughly self-involved person and, unlike Bach who gave all credit for his talent to God, Wagner was his own biggest fan. I have heard people take Wagner to task because he arrogantly believed he was the greatest composer of all time. Listening to Tannhauser, it is hard to argue against his opinion. Parts of Tannhauser transport my soul to unworldly heights.
The mail brought a special treat - Mim sent me a copy of Marcia Synnestvedt Boyeson's audio tape, The Everlasting Hills, which was inspired by Marcia's Uncle Cedric King's book of the same title. I expected the tape to be outstanding. I have enjoyed Marcia's clear soprano since she was a young girl. Nothing could have prepared me for my response to this most unusual tape. It combines brief passages from Cedric's book, original songs based on the text and some truly golden oldies - "My Wild Irish Rose," "Red River Valley" (a Lockhart favorite from way back), "I'll Take You Home Kathleen" (which I have loved since I was a youngster) and "Always." What a surprise to be swept with emotion hearing, "I'll remember you - always. With a love that's true - always. Not for just an hour. Not for just a day, Not for a year. But always."
All of a sudden, I was back in high school. Eastern High School, an all-girls school in Baltimore, which I attended for my freshmen and sophomore years. At recess, the girls would dance with each other. Our favorite song to dance to was "Always." How swiftly I was transported back. Some of the girls had long hair, some had it to their shoulders and the ultra-fashionable had it 'bobbed' style that was just becoming the rage. Dresses were straight up & down. The flatter a girl's chest, the more fashionable she was considered. It was standard practice for young ladies and women to wear binders to make them look as flat as possible. Alas, I had a hopelessly unfashionable physique. Even as a young woman, I was - as one of my children would describe me decades later - relatively "big, soft and comfortable."
Funny, how a song can trigger memories. Listening to Marcia sing, I am reminded of her performance in the ANC production of HMS Pinafore. She played Josephine, Kim Woodard was Captain Corcoran and Pete Boericke was Sir Joseph Porter, KCB. I cannot remember for the life of me who played Rafe Rackstraw - strange. If I close my eyes, I can see Marcia with her beautiful dark hair tumbling down against a dainty white gown singing her heart out.
Marcia is an inspiration. She was blessed with a beautiful voice, but did not do much with it aside from sign lullabies to her babies and sing for the enjoyment of her friends. I am sure that a lot of people told her she could sing professionally, but it was not a dream she pursued. Then, she was diagnosed with brain cancer and, from what I understand, all of a sudden life looked very different. And then they found more tumors. It is my understanding that that was when she took her talent seriously. The rest of us have been blessed that she shares her gift beyond her intimate circle.
Imagine what would happen if we all lived our lives as if every moment counts and that we count within every moment? That sounds pretty high-falutin', but I know how much my life changed in February when I realized the quality of my life could change for the worse. It was as if an inner eye was opened and I could see how wonderful life was. It was as if an inner voice woke up and started telling me that it was important to be as active as possible and to cut myself a break and believe that I hold marvelous powers for good within me.
The soft shell were marvelous. Since she had never cooked soft shell crab before and because she is a very practical person, Elsa went to our favorite Chestnut Hill restaurant for lunch and pumped the chef for how he prepared the ones we've enjoyed there so many times. They were absolutely succulent and perfectly cooked and delicious, accompanied by asparagus - my favorite vegetable - and a special rice concoction. Oh, it was heavenly.
What a lovely day. What was dearest to my heart was the contact with Mim. Our lives have gone off in different directions, as often happens, and it always makes me happy when our lives intersect. Every time I listen to "The Everlasting Hills" I will think of Marcia and Eastern High School, soft shell crab and my love for Mim.
To my dear circle of friends, know that "I'll remember you - always" ~ Grammie K