By Marsha Wilson Rappaport
It was a sunny Sunday. It was one of those odd Texas days in the middle of the winter where a jacket was too much and a sweater wasn’t enough. I slept late, looked at my schedule and started toward an afternoon at the Galveston Symphony Orchestra.
Started and then stopped. One of the things that keep seniors locked into horizontal position is the dreaded morning inventory. It’s a common procedure. You sit in your easy chair with your morning cup of Joe and you catalog what hurts, what really hurts and what feels like its going to fall off. Often, before you start, you have been pre-warned of what might collapse. For example, you might be tired due to a bout of night leg cramps, or you’ve already had the first glimpse of that swollen ankle you thought yesterday’s diuretics had tamed.
So, I sat and realized my ambitious attempt at eating a full healthy dinner the night before had failed miserably. For although black-eyed peas are calcium rich, your morning commute to the bathroom might also become enhanced. My stomach was giving me fits.
At this point, I reminded myself that this trip to the symphony was critical to my mental health and a key component in my ongoing efforts to keep vertical. I admit, I have been struggling with my holiday poverty and was depressed in “ go to work and fake perkiness way”. I needed music.
I therefore, took a handful of Gas X, then swallowed a Tums, and prodded myself into the shower.
I dressed and then hit another more serious barrier. My socks – my good compression socks I had gotten with a near magical coupon on Amazon, had holes in them. I froze. After months of pampering them with Woolite, they were acting like regular socks without the ability to keep my legs from looking like baby elephant feet. Worse still – I was the world’s most inept seamstress. My poor eyesight had always made threading a needle, agonizing minutes of pushing a thread through a hole I could barely see.
I sat there grumbling as my stomach cried out for another Tums. Moreover, I began to do the one thing that would keep me home – I pulled the lever on my easy chair and laid back.
I sat there a few minutes and contemplated picking up the kiss of death for all outside activities – the remote control. I contemplated the real worth of my mental health in a world dominated by You Tube and Snap Chat.
Then I found the needle and thread, patiently closed the holes in my still very useful socks, picked up my keys and left my house.
I was on a roll, once I got downtown to the 1894 Grand Opera House. I found a nearby free parking space and went to get early supper. To minimize my risk, I went to Little Daddy’s Gumbo Bar, one of my usual haunts, owned by friends of mine. Because I wrote glowing articles about their food, I knew I would be greeted by smiles.
That all worked, until I realized that although I am sitting in a place with gumbo brimming with seafood swimming in a perfect dark roux, my tummy was screaming. Once again, I was tempted to go back home, grab a pot, make some nice soothing grits and grab the remote.
Oddly enough I was sitting next to the First and Second Violinist. They were all decked out in their appropriate black formal orchestra clothes and talking about the upcoming performance. I decided to screw my courage to the sticking place and order some steamed seafood.
This move was more extreme than you think. I have a hard a fast rule about eating messy food before events. And yet, I cracked those crab legs and peeled those shrimp, and dipped them butter while wearing my silver special event sweater. Then I walked to the Grand, fed, happy and ready to support my mental health.
I was richly rewarded for not allowing my aches, pains and fear from stopping me. Grace Park, a superb violinist, performed Violin Concerto in E Minor by Felix Mendelssohn in breath taking fashion. It was standing ovation worthy and whatever musical heaven holds Felix must have been startled by his enthusiastic clapping.
Between her performance, and the always delightful narrative of Conductor Trond Saeverud, I could feel the darkness and doubts fade slowly away. I realized that Weber, Mendelssohn, Debussy and Hindemith, probably had plenty of holidays where the carols were sung over empty artists bank accounts.
Leslie Bowman Photo of GSO Conductor Tround Saeverud
When I finally got back home, I realized that the music had given me some much needed perspective. I am a writer – I will survive. But first, I need to find another killer coupon for new compression socks.