The always ebullient Mrs. E and I have just received an astounding invitation. Astounding because of the nature of the invite rather than the nature of our host.
Our host is unfailingly polite and gentlemanly. He also looks a lot like a young Jimmy Stewart. The combination is a bit disconcerting, if only because spending time with him leaves you with the impression that you’ve stepped back in time. Sort of like walking onto a classic movie set between takes, where the star is a promising unknown, completely at ease and lots of fun. He’s also been through the wringer lately — working through a nasty divorce and keeping his chin up.
Which is what makes the invitation to attend an evening of local theatre as his guests so wonderful and so very unexpected. It’s a great object lesson. How does a re-minted bachelor “repay,” “reconnect” or otherwise step back into the social swirl?
There’s always an invite to drinks, but that rarely happens these days. Drinks almost always involve dinner, which isn’t the easiest thing for some (I hope this site gives you some great ideas though!) Heading for a bar is an easy solution, but we’re old and stodgy and fully laden with a brood of small children; going out involves massive amounts of co-ördination, hurried preparations and a generous outlay of cash to sitters. Those evenings that are truely worth it are prized. (We have a small number of wonderful friends who are very good at making time spent together well worth the effort. They are the frequent inspiration behind this blog.) As much as we are fans of a great bar, the scene doesn’t always invite comfortable interaction with the host. In England, attending the theater is easy and just about as expensive as an evening at the movies. Not so here… Local theater gives you that chance to do something very different and a bit more sophisticated.
An evening at The Barksdale Theater — especially during a season featuring Guys and Dolls and Moonlight and Magnolias….! Well, we were floored by the generosity. Drinks are served at intermission, giving us the chance to buy a round as a thank you; conversation is guaranteed light and fun (they’re doing a great job! We’ve seen her in several productions, and he was “Bat Boy!”); and we always dress, making the evening elegant by default.
It’s an especially thoughtful gift and a great way to use season tickets if you’re a subscriber. Buy one extra and you’re set. I think that I will give at least one evening’s entertainment as a gift this year. Support the arts, adopt a bachelor or an exhausted married couple. Unique, easy and elegant. Well done Mr. H!