Friday, February 3, 2017

Working Out the Now Version of Then

Poetry is everywhere and I'm just the editor.

I can thank Virginia Repertory's production of "Airline Highway" for that line, but it's a different one that resonated even more personally for me.

It's as I'm sitting contentedly (and stuffed to the gills) in the darkened November Theatre next to my dinner date tonight watching the play that a young man inquires sincerely of a young woman, "When we're 70, do you think we'll be friends?"

It's a fair question for two people of any age to consider when they're attracted to each other, although anyone with a cynical bone in their body might assume that, depending on how young the couple are when they got together, the likelihood isn't always good.

Personally, I don't have a whole lot of cynical bones in my body - sarcastic, yes, smart-assed, definitely - and the reason for that can be traced directly to the people who raised me in a rose-colored world.

My parents' long-time successful relationship has been a thorn in my side glowing example of the possibilities of coupledom when two people are fortunate enough to meet "the one" and work at life and love together over the course of decades.

But in this case, it was that line of dialog that reminded me of a letter my Mom had written to my Dad on the occasion of his 70th birthday and recently exhumed when one of my sisters was tasked with doing some restoration work on it after it suffered water damage.

I remember the first time I saw you; I wasn't really interested, but as luck would have it, for you I came around.
You've always told the kids the story about how I chased you down the street, and how you only married me for my mother.
And since it's your birthday, I'll go along with it.
We've had six kids and thirty six years together and I've enjoyed at least two of the kids and four of the years.

With that kind of compromise and humor fueling a relationship, of course it was bound to make it to 61 years, which it did last October. Helluva role model.

"Each of us is in charge of holding up one small part of the universe and if we don't, it all comes crashing down," one character says by way of explaining how each of us fits into a bigger picture, whether we can see it or not and, let's face it, we usually can't.

See: "It's a Wonderful Life."

Who wouldn't be grateful to parents who never let their part of the universe come crashing down? And in doing so, they were bound to raise an optimist...or six.

The ragtag group who peopled "Airline Highway" were examples of what happens when dreams die and life goes on, but because their dialog came from the pen of talented New Orleans playwright Lisa D'Amour, they were constantly spouting thoughts worth considering.

"Did I know what my life would become before I was in the middle of it?" one asks. Does anyone? And why would you want to?

I, for one, am perfectly happy lapping up the pleasures, pitfalls and surprises by experiencing them as they unfold...through rose-colored glasses, natch.

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