Wednesday, July 30, 2003

birthday cake for breakfast

most recently, in my series of action/adventure-packed days, i returned from the plymouth congregational church where henry ward beecher preached during the 2nd half of the 19th century. in his day preachers were like movie stars. people came from all over the country to hear him, as well as from manhattan in droves, to the point where some ingenious fella christened "beecher's ferries" specifically for the purpose of bringing congregants across the river.

my tour guide in the church, a woman who looked remarkably like what i may look like at her age, plus 80's glasses and a muumuu, made it abundantly clear at the outset that she would not discuss the scandal. "that was a bump in the road of a long glorious career," she said sternly. "it would be like judging clinton's presidency by that thing with the intern."

i refrained from pointing out that clinton's thing with the intern did happen, and consequently that parallel was not necessarily one she wanted to draw. i got an hour and a half's worth of hwb's life apart from the scandal, which involved some amazing abolitionist work and some very touching stories. but mlk jr. had an affair too, didn't he? a man can still be a rightfully revered man and have committed adultery, or even still be a hypocrite in some senses.

on a non-morally-relativist note, i had a dream come true moment last night. my broadway faithful aunt marjy took me to see bernadette peters play mme rose in gypsy. since i was 12 years old, i wanted two things: to be bernadette peters, and to see her onstage. she was entirely as breathtaking as the above review makes her seem. my aunt, a veteran of shows and star showcasings, called her rose one of the best musical theater performances she'd ever seen.

and this came, in my case, on the heels of a weekend-long folk music extravaganza. everyone and their mother was there: swatties, high skool friends, their magically reappearing ex-boyfriends. white but diverse, as masses of 15,000 white people go. friendly and cheerful as always, and well staffed with happy leftist performers from dar williams to tracy grammer to arlo guthrie.

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