The older I become, the more like my mother I realize I have become. Okay, who are we kidding? I’ve always been Dorothy’s daughter, just as my sister, Linda, is. And just like with Mom, our beloved ‘Heavy D’, things seem to happen to us- often comical things that don’t happen to otherwise normal people. I think my sister would agree that I may have an extra dose of Dorothy in me. Take this weekend for example…
I traveled to Texas this past Friday for a guest artist appearance at the Texas Clarinet Colloquium at Texas A&M University- Commerce. The Monday before I had had a shoulder procedure to remove some calcium deposits that had caused me a lot of pain since developing after my shoulder surgery last May. There was no good time to do it, so we just went ahead. Well, two days later I had a major reaction to the steroid shots, complete with spiking blood pressure, blotchy face, roasting and then freezing, headache, dizziness, and my voice fading away. Stupid me works a full day feeling like this, thinking it’s normal. No. It was so not normal.
The next day Dan (supported by threatening messages from dear friends- one of whom was a nurse) took me to Urgent Care to be checked out to be sure that I was okay to travel. I felt foolish because *of course* I am invincible and hate to ever waste anyone’s time or inconvenience anyone. <Sigh, accompanied by huge eye roll.> They did bloodwork, checked vitals, and did an EKG, and as we waited for results, Dan made me laugh with his wonderfully goofy stories and jokes.
The results came back; I had indeed had a bad reaction to the steroids and would be okay in a few days. So, early the next morning, I loaded my still very sore shoulder, hot flash-y/freez-y/fading voice self on a plane to Texas so that I could perform and do a clinic for a big bunch of students and teachers. What could go wrong?
The blessing in all of this was that my BFF and Amicitia Duo partner, Diane, had kindly agreed to meet me in Dallas to perform with me. Aside from the fact that getting to spend time talking and laughing with my best friend is always a gift, I felt so much better making the trip knowing that I would have her support- and help if my voice went on me.
Now, the last time we performed in Commerce, Texas, there was an infestation of crickets of biblical proportions. I’m not kidding- they were everywhere, including about fifteen in our hotel room. I expected Alfred Hitchcock to walk in at any moment. The only weapon to combat the pestilence was a lone Gideon Bible from the nightstand. I truly did feel that we had God on our side in this righteous battle, but I still slept (or attempted to) with the sheet over my head all night. . But I digress…
Fast forward to the Colloquium. I had a great time presenting my clinic to the students and teachers and felt like things went well. Afterwards, Diane and I went to warm up for our performance, excited to play some music arranged for our duo that we recorded on our cd last summer and love to share with our audiences.
The time came to take the stage, and we walked out to a wonderfully warm welcome of the large audience. Diane talked a bit to introduce us and the music (she is so much better at that than I am), and we began our program of seven movements by the wonderful Alexis Ciesla. The first two went beautifully and we smiled at each other in between. I turned the page to the third movement and something didn’t look right. At all. I turned the page again. And again. Nope. I looked at Diane in panic-deer-in-the-headlights-mode and whispered, Pour le Pique? (the movement’s name). She shook her head and said, “Pour le No”. Normally this would have been hysterically funny to me, but by this point, forty-five painfully long seconds (or maybe it was two hours?) had passed as I rifled through my music repeatedly, trying to find the correct movement that I had so easily found in rehearsal. Diane whispered the title to me, but still no luck. Then, in true Diane fashion, she looks out to the audience and says in her best funny stage voice, “Let me help you!” and comes to stand by me to see what the problem is.
We have our schtick, and we really enjoy that our audiences can see our love for each other and the fun that we have on stage, and this time was no different. We have been friends for about thirty-six years, after all. Diane found the issue; one of the taped pages (there to allow me to open up several pages at once) had stuck and hidden the movement. She unfolded my music while we- and our audience- laughed. She told me she almost said, “Are you sure they shouldn’t have done a CAT Scan on your brain?” but refrained. (They probably should have.) The rest of the performance was fun and went very well. We walked off stage, packed up, and sporadically had the giggles all the way up until we parted at the Dallas-Ft. Worth Airport just a bit ago. After we went to bed last night, I whispered Pour le Pique? in the dark and got us going again. Hey, you might as well laugh, right?
I’m on the plane heading home to Dan and our little family, and I know that Dan won’t be surprised one bit when I tell him my latest Dorothy moment. The man has survived marriage with me for almost sixteen years now, after all. I get the giggles all over again, thinking of the things that happened to my Mom- like the time she accidentally paraded all the way from the laundry room of the Home for Wayward Seniors to her apartment with a large pair of her undies draped across the front of her walker “in front of God and everybody.” Her face still burned bright red and she giggled every time she regaled someone with that story.
So, hey, I come by it all honestly, and I’m proud to be just like my wonderfully sweet and goofy mom. My heart is in the right place and I’m always trying to do my best…and if sometimes some wires get crossed and I bring some laughter to people, then that’s okay, too. I can just hear Mom giggling at me when it happens as she sips on her chocolate milkshake, shaking her head, tears of laughter streaming down her rosy cheeks. That’s my Neese!