The Excellent Wife (TEW) keeps telling me that we've been together for 21 years, which I know can't be true, because, while I'm certainly old enough to have that happen, I have no ability to be in a stable relationship that long. In rebuttal, she points out that we first started dating just after we got out of grad school in 1994 (an allegation I have been unable to rebut) and that there is a marriage certificate on the dining room wall from 1997*. Which there is, but just as I can't have been steady with her for 21 years, I can't have been married for eighteen; I have too much egotism and emotional instability.
*Quakers do weddings better than anyone else I've ever heard of; they sit in silence until someone is moved to speak, and, at weddings, many people are often moved, to speak about joys, hopes, memories, sillinesses, and so on. Bring handkerchiefs. At the end, all present sign the wedding certificate, indicating that the whole community will be around to help support the marriage. I've said often that the wedding certificate is a far better reminder of the marriage than the ring: if this thing falls apart, I'm going to have to deal with all those people who signed the certificate. It's easier just to stay married.
IN any case, to celebrate this undoubtedly fraudulent occasion of the 21st anniversary of our first date, we bought tickets some time ago (prior to the recent unpleasantness) to the American Shakespeare Center productions for Saturday, July 25. The American Shakespeare Center is located in Staunton, Virginia; they've built a reproduction of the Blackfriars "theater", an indoor space where some of the plays were produced.
Each year, they hire a repertory company to act a selection of the plays (they usually choose a theme, and sometimes throw in a play by someone else that fits the theme). We've gone a number of times, and the productions are always at least good, sometimes great. The funny comedies are actually funny (not all of Shakespeare's comedies are comedies in the modern sense), and we've noticed that they make a point of including scenes often cut from other productions.
We got up to get going at some stupid hour on Saturday morning to do the six-plus-hour-drive to Staunton, which was uneventful (I didn't even need to make up another verse to my song), and got to town early enough to find the motel, and then get to the theater. We saw The Winter's Tale:
... a story of jealousy and false accusation, which was particularly touching to me in view of my recent difficulties (there are some speeches I need to go look up again). It's a "comedy" in that it ends with marriages and reconciliations, and not with deaths, but don't bring the frat boys.
After that matinee, we potted around Staunton for a bit, and had dinner and excellent gelato (TEW loved the logo of this place, and thought some of our cow-friendly friends would like it, too),and then returned to the theater for A Midsummer Night's Dream:
This is a wonderfully silly play, and they did it masterfully. I was taken especially, though, by the actor who played Oberon, king of the fairies, who projected the dignity, and power and magic of the part.
And then to the hotel. The next day we got up for breakfast, and staying at the hotel were some of the members of the Tar Heel Mini Club, a group of Mini Cooper owners, who were doing an ice-cream run up to Michigan, where they hoped to join owners from all over the country, to set a record for the most cars involved in some event or other. (An ice-cream run, I was told by one of the members, means you're supposed to stop at least twice a day for ice cream. Now THERE's a crisis.)
And then we drove home, on which trip I STILL didn't make up another verse to my song. Maybe the problem is I just hate driving in New Jersey.