On Saturday morning Kimmy and Catie, two of Jess' friends still in high school, met me here at the house. We went to my sister's house on Long Island where Jess was sleeping on the couch. Friday night she'd taken the Chinese bus from Pittsburgh to NYC and then took the train out to my sister's.
The reunion was joyful.
I was happy to see Jess, but she was shocked as heck to see Kimmy and Catie. She had no idea I was bringing her friends. My sister almost blew up our spot... she asked Jess how many friends I was bringing. Jess knew we were meeting up with two friends down in Philly so she was confused. Luckily my sister caught on and didn't push it or ask other questions. We all had lunch then, and headed down to Philly to see the Quintessence Theater Group production of "Henry V."
We wanted to get there early enough to have pre-show dinner with our friend Alex. Brooklyn Traffic saw to it that plan was ruined. At 6pm we were still in New Jersey. But we made it to the show and so did the two Rebels that were joining us (Marisa and Ryan).
The performance was outstanding. Every actor except for the one playing Henry V had multiple roles, so our friend Alex was Bardolph, a french dude, a british soldier, and was outstanding as Alice. The English Lesson is always one of my favorite scenes in the play, even though I do not speak French, and Alex was lovely supporting Katherine in her lesson on body parts and Henry.
The actor playing Katherine also played the Dauphin. He was astronomically fantastic. LOVED the hell out of him. He was flamboyant and braggy and proud, pompous and obnoxious... very fantastic. And the boots. Oh, the boots! Love love love him.
All told, I cried, I always cry.
I cried without ceasing when Henry spoke after the battle of Agincourt and gave all the credit to God. That against all odds, against all logic, they somehow won... it made me think of Keri and her fight for Anya, and I had a heart full of hope sitting there thinking that with the pure heart, the honest heart, all things will work out for good.
I loved the end where they danced a reel around the stage with Henry and Katherine in the middle, and then ended with Henry's death and the summation of his reign and the loss of the kingdom by his son.
An amazing time. So glad we fought the Brooklyn traffic and went.
The little theatre (The Sedgewick in Mt. Airy) was really cool. It needs a facelift but the space in and of itself was spectacular. The production was in the round, and even when the actors were across the stage, talking with their backs to us we could hear everything perfectly.
We went out after the show and ate with Alex at a little pub. Table for nine and a lot of laughs. I think it was 1am when we got back in the car to head north.
My plan was go to central Jersey and find a hotel by the highway. I made amazing time, and no one was in my way. Jess and I scanned the radio for a Springsteen song (left my CDs at home) and finally got "Blinded by the Light" just as we got to Ft. Lee and the GW Bridge. Being able to do 95 on I-95, I was happy that we were out of NJ in 90 minutes. I thought of stopping in Elizabeth or Ft. Lee but there weren't any hotels that looked easy to get to so I thought we'd head up to New Rochelle.
Next thing I know, I'm in Bridgeport CT and it is 3 am and I'm exhausted. I saw a big glowing happy sign for a Holiday Inn, and figured we'd stop there. But getting off the interstate, I couldn't find it anywhere. Jess spied a cheesy sketchy little motel and I pulled in and got us a room for cheap.
Note to self: Go 2 more exits next time to Milford and there are about 15 hotels right at those exits. All waiting for the weary travelers.
But ... we got a room in the sketchy little dive. The floors were tile, which none of us had ever seen in a hotel before. "It makes it easier to clean up the blood after CSI clears the scene," I joked. Heh.
Probably not far from the truth.
The beds were uncomfortable. The room was hot but the AC was noisy. Someone in the next room was tapping in code on the wall and Kimmy and Catie thought it was hysterical. Some guy parked below our window and cranked up the phat beats at top volume. After 15 minutes and me being borderline homicidal it stopped. I fell asleep sometime nearing 5 and we all woke up around 9. Right before Catie got in the shower I heard someone in a neighboring room screaming her way to orgasm.
We were out of there before 10, still tired but at least with enough clarity to make it home. Strangely enough, it wasn't the worst night's stay in a hotel I've ever had.
Catie had to go to work, which was why we even left Philly in the first place, so we got her home sort of in time.
We then went to the Zombie March down in Salem. This was the third one I've attended and I was happy Jess was with us because it wouldn't be the same without her. She and Kimmy made "protest" signs.
In years past there were a lot of protesters but this year they were alone. Sadly. They were still funny with their signs and got Kudos afterwards from Stevie the Zombie King. Geoff got his brains eaten by Billy Mays, and all told everyone had a blast. We got home and built a bonfire. I expected 10 kids to show up but no one came, just Kimmy.
Jess and I slept in on Monday, Doug eventually got us up so we could go leaf peep. Jess just wanted to sleep after the whirlwind weekend to that point, but Dad got his way and we made our way to NH, found ourselves at the Black Forest Bakery Cafe, ate a huge and delicious lunch, and didn't see much foliage.
A second bonfire was had because my friend Doug was visiting from Kiev Ukraine where he is working with orphans. We shared a beer and some carrot cake and some great stories about the adventures of his son who is hitchhiking and hopping trains all across the country.
Jess' plane was at 7am on Tuesday, so I had to drive her to Manchester at 5:15am. We both bemoaned that, but we got her there by 6 and she was back at Pitt by 11am.
Whirlwind tour, success!
We're now figuring out what to do with Thanksgiving, if we're going to have her get the Chinese bus to NYC and then another one up to Boston. She seems to want to come home, but hasn't expressed a burning desire either way. I hope she does come home. I miss her.
Anyway -- that's the update on those shenanigans.