29 April 2002
I saw something very odd when I was walking from my office into the kitchen this
morning: my knees. It's not that I haven't been able to see my knees when standing up for
a long time, but it usually involves peeking over the precipice of fat that is my stomach and attempting to find a couple of knobby outcroppings hidden beneath, on the sheer wall of leg below. Suddenly this morning I noticed that the precipice was...gone. Well not entirely gone; it's
kind of shifted. Don't ask me to point out threads on the floor to the right or left of
me. There's plenty of leftover bulge around my hips, more than enough to give me an
embarrassing jiggle if I jump up and down, but there is a decided flattening of the
stomach taking place. Is there possibly (dare I even mention it?) a "waist" in
my future? You know--the thing that I used to put a belt around?
It's such an unusual concept that I hardly dare even think about it.
I went out for a little bike ride this morning before starting work. 7-1/2 miles around
the greenbelt. Now, if you'd told me two months ago that I'd consider a 7-1/2 mile bike
ride "a little ride," I'd have told you that you were crazy. 7-1/2 miles. That's
almost the distance to the next town. But I set my trip counter to zero and just went off
to explore and when I came back 40 minutes later, I'd gone 7-1/2 miles.
I'm getting a better feel for what is where, and where to go to get to whatever. I'm
also discovering what a beautiful world I've missed all these years. The greenbelt is ...
not surprisingly ... green. Lush green lawns, playground everywhere, a duck pond,
and not terribly full of people. I rode all the way over to the other side, to where
"da mayor" (as our former mayor Dave Rosenberg likes to call himself) has a
palacial home, and then turned around and covered as much as I could of the rest of the
Remember that "first hill" that Olivia took pictures of me pedaling up? I
remember downshifting and puffing and panting but very proud at having made it. Today?
Piece o'cake. Didn't even down shift.
I had to make a choice of going back the way I'd come, i.e., the easy way, or doing the
dreaded overpass. The knees were saying "Please! flat!" but I told them
they could make it. They creaked and whined and grumbled, but they also made it to the
top. Someday--with any luck in the foreseeable future--I'll find that overpass as
effortless as I now find my very first hill.
Slowly...slowly...it's all coming together.
Yesterday on my way home from Alameda I toyed with the idea of riding my bike out to a
little strawberry stand north of Davis. I think it's definitely a do-able distance, but I
am a little uncomfortable yet riding along what amounts to a minor "freeway"
(well, it's not a "freeway" per se but it's no city street (or
greenbelt) either. But that will come. Strawberry season has just started, and I'm sure
before the end of the season, I will have gotten up enough nerve to ride my bike out there
to buy a basket of strawberries.
* * *
We went to a Lamplighter
show in San Francisco last night (just what I love to do--travel between the Bay Area and
Davis twice in one day!). It was an unknown work called Enter the Guardsman [by
Scott Wentworth, Craig Bohlmer and Marlon Anderson, based on a comedy by Frederic Molnar].
Weird little show. Kind of like Stephen Sondheim writes Something's Afoot (a
reference that probably not that many people will get--but it's the best description I can
The show was at the Gershwin Theatre, formerly Presentation High School, where the
Lamplighters performed for about twenty-five years or more. It's always like stepping back
in time to be back in that theatre that I know so well, only now with new people in the
audience, new people on stage, new faces in the lobby. Oh some of them are familiar, but
it's still not like it was in the old days, when Gilbert was in the pit, I sat in
"The Bev Seat" behind him, there was a backstage to wander around in (before the
building was remodeled to remove all of that area), and I knew every person on stage and
in the pit. Those days are long gone.
Best surprise of the night, though, was running into my friend and co-author, Alison
Lewis (Hi, Alison), whom I don't see nearly enough. We met in
about 1974 when Alison got this idea that someone should write a history to commemorate
The Lamplighters' twenty-fifth anniversary (the company is now in its fiftieth
year, which tells me that Alison and I have been friends for more than 25 years--my how
the time has flown!). She put out a call for volunteers to help with the project, and I
At the time we were both at the same place in our lives, with small children just going
to school giving us some free time, as was our third co-author, Carolyn McGovern. We came
into the project strangers to each other, but formed a fast friendship through a lot of
work, a lot of pain, a lot of laughs, a lot of highs and lows. Alison and I went on to
write a sequel to the initial history 10 years later, after Gilbert died.
(Someone mentioned in passing that we should do an update for the 50th year. We both
chose to ignore the suggestion. Twice is more than enough!)
But it was nice seeing Alison and her family again. As I said before, it's been way too
long since our last brunch in a coffee shop in Alameda. With all these trips I'm making
down to go biking, surely we can find a time to get together under less awkward
circumstances than intermission, and get caught up.