62nd: Speak not of doleful things in a time of mirth or at the table; speak not of melancholy things as death and wounds, and if others mention them, change if you can the discourse. Tell not your dreams, but to your intimate friend.
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SIR ARTHUR AND HIS COURT
25 October 2004
It may not have been a round table, but Sir Arthur was definitely holding court.
Arthur Sullivan, known as "Sir Arthur" to some of his friends, was celebrating his 84th birthday in San Mateo (about a 2½ hr drive if you don't have bumper to bumper traffic, which we did).
Arthur was for many, many years on the tech crew for The Lamplighters and would still be working with the crew if they hadn't had to disband, owing to the theatre company moving into union houses, which effectively eliminated non-union volunteers. Still, the crew has remained good friends, as today's gathering indicated. It was a grey, rainy day and we had all traveled a distance to be there to ease Arthur into his 85th year.
We were thrilled to see a couple of people we hadn't seen for years. Ashton Bisbee had been a character actor in the Gilbert & Sullivan productions in the 60s and into the 70s and was always one of my favorites. And Jess Brown had run the box office for decades, quitting to take care of his dying partner. I can't remember the last time I saw Jess and it was very nice to see him.
The catered affair had lots of yummy stuff, including raviolis and home-made meatballs, as well as lots of roasted veggies, chicken wings, shrimp, and the usual buffet fare. And when we had all eaten our fill, it was dessert time.
The cake was perfect for a near-Halloween birthday and had been made at the bakery where Arthur's partner's nephew works (he had also catered the party and made cream puffs, chocolate eclairs and cannoli in addition to the cake)
Unfortunately, the birthday boy had suffered a bad fall onto the bricks of his patio two weeks before and had fractured his femur and had spent a week in the hospital, so he wasn't as mobile as he had expected to be when he initially planned this birthday party. Instead of mingling with the guests, the guests took their turns mingling with Arthur in the living room until it was time for cake, when they got Arthur to the dining room table.
After we'd sung "Happy Birthday," Arthur's partner, Jim helped cut the cake.
It was an interesting party in that it seemed so many people were nursing wounds of various types. Jim, had just had a hip replacement. Another woman who was there had surgery that I didn't hear, but she has been on a four-point cane for a year and is hoping she will soon be able to walk. Another guy was in a huge cast. They had cut out a bunion and corrected a twist in his foot, which had pins in it, as does the fracture of Arthur's leg. At one point, Jim tripped over my foot, sending shooting pains into my bad knee. It was like a gathering of the limping wounded!
What really got me, though, was an older woman sitting on the couch talking with Arthur. Arthur was talking about how he was 84 and she said she was "40 years younger than he was." Forty years younger??? I had thought this was a senior citizen and she was twenty years younger than I am. Boy did that make me feel old!!
The party began to break up early and we were
on the road while it was still light. Traffic home was terrible, and it was raining
to boot. I fell asleep and Walt got the brunt of the driving while listening to the
Game 1 of the World Series. What a silly game! But...yay Red Sox!
PHOTO OF THE DAY