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This Day in My History

2000:  Thank You, Charles Schulz
2001:  Finding My Inner Swan
2002:  It's All Marn's Fault
2003:  Judy and I Thank You
2004Glass Half Full

2005:  Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries

"Humble Boy"

Books Read in 2006

"A Cold Night"

A Cold Night

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28 May 2006

Mark Twain once wrote, "the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."

We natives used to giggle when we saw folks from the midwest arrive in San Francisco in their summer finery, all decked out in linen and seersucker, shorts, sundresses and sandals, with their goosebumps turning blue from the wind whipping around their ankles.

It's June!  It's summer!  Why is it so cold?  What's the fog doing there?

What people who live where there are "seasons" fail to realize is that San Francisco doesn't know from "seasons."  It can be hot in winter, cold in summer (and usually is).   It can rain on Monday and climb up to 80 on Tuesday, in July or in January.  And then there is the fog, which sits just outside the Golden Gate, waiting for the cue, and right on schedule, as if someone had pulled some sort of magical lever, at 4 p.m. it begins to roll in.   Sometimes little whisps, sometimes huge rolling balls of it.  The Golden Gate Bridge can go from a lovely sunny landmark to ...just gone... in a matter of seconds, as the fog swallows up the towers.

I didn't realize until I moved out of the City that trees change with the weather.  That leaves actually fall and new growth begins to come out when the weather begins to warm up.  It seemed to me that all the vegetation in the area where I lived was the same year round.

I mention the cold of a San Francisco summer because last night was probably one of the most uncomfortable nights of theatre I've spent in a long time.  And it was mostly my own damn fault.

Acme.jpg (30332 bytes)We were attending the annual outdoor production of Acme Theatre Company, which puts on a free show to thank the City of Davis for all its support throughout the year.

This year's show was Carlo Goldoni's 1748 comedy, "The Venetian Twins," an hilarious story, brought up to date with modern language and looking for all the world like a Marx Brothers movie.   There was slapstick and very bad jokes, and sexual innuendo and lots of fun.

There was also wind and cold.

I had brought a lightweight jacket, remembering that as the sun goes down, the air cools, but as we sat down to wait for the show to start, the wind began to whip up and in no time I was absolutely miserable, with my light-weight mid-calf length pants and my Birkinstock sandals.

I remembered that there was an old bedspread in the back of the car and sent Walt back to get it.  We both huddled under that and it helped a bit, but not much.  There were candles stuck in sand inside paper bags marking a path from the stage to the bike path behind me and I seriously considered taking one of the bags and putting it between my legs, hoping to grab a little warmth from the candle inside.  (Unfortunately, someone tripped over a wire and knocked the candle over before I could do that.)

The play was quite good, but I got more and more miserable as the night progressed.  A cup of hot coffee Walt bought at intermission helped a bit, but I was never so glad as when the cast finally took their bows and we could get the heck out of there and head back to the car.   I didn't even care how ridiculous I looked, wrapped up in the bedspread, walking back to the car.  At least I was warming up.

I should have known that it was going to be that kind of night and dressed appropriately.  I had gone to San Rafael in the afternoon to get Jeri, who had flown in from Boston for the memorial service for our friend Bill, which takes place today.

She had flown into Oakland and my mother picked her up at the BART station and she had spent the night visiting with Grandma.  The three of us had lunch together and then Jeri and I joined the crowds of cars on the highway trying to get out of town for the Memorial Day weekend.

As we drove by the hills along I-80, I commented on how pretty it looked to see all the grasses waving as the wind blew over them.  A Russian phrase for "the grain is rustling" (which is impossible to spell) came to mind.  Our friend Ed Andrews (for whom Ned was named and who is now a Benedictine monk) was a Russian student and once told us he thought it was the most beautiful phrase in the Russian language.  (Spelled phonetically, it would be "Shu-me, Shu-meepsa")

The rustling grain should have been a clue that the winds were going to make it a very cold night to be sitting outside watching a play.

No matter how good the play was, nothing could quite take away from the bone-chilling cold and my jealousy of the smart people who had remembered to bring heavy jackets and sleeping bags to wrap up in.


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This is Dara Yazdani, who had the lead in the show.
I've seen him before and he is just an excellent actor.
One of the best that I've seen at Acme.

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