Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Virus Vexation and Our 50th Wedding Anniversary

COVID-19 has upended everyday life and worse, a tragedy for those who are sick and dying, their families, as well as leaving so many without income or resources.  It is ruthless and random. I could write pages and pages about our country’s lack of preparation for a pandemic, or the delay in taking action because of denial.  But, this is not the entry for that and it is well covered by our finest journalists.  I’m thankful for a free press. And heartfelt thanks to our healthcare professionals and the army of workers who have been marginalized and now stand at the front lines, our truck drivers, grocery workers, postal and delivery people. 

For us, as for so many others, it has meant more (thus far) about putting our life on hold.  It exposes the little things we take for granted, a visit with friends or family, a dinner at a neighborhood restaurant, or deferring the pleasures of theatre and musical performances. Will it ever come back to the normal we once knew?  Perhaps slowly, but in the meantime it has ravaged our way of life.  It is particularly disheartening at our age.  How much more time will we be granted and what will the quality of life be?

At this stage of life, every moment with family and friends and community is particularly precious. Shared experience is far more important than anything else. Face Time, Zoom and Facebook can never replace human contact.

This week was supposed to be a very special occasion for us, flying to NYC to be with our “kids,” Jonathan and his wife Tracie, and Chris and his significant other, Megan.  The four of them had surprised us with tickets for us all to see the revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Company, on our 50th Wedding Anniversary, April 26. The show will also celebrate its own 50th Anniversary on the very same day. What are the chances?

It is perhaps my favorite show of all time.  When Ann and I first saw the show, I was immediately captivated by the premise of Company, particularly as the main character is “Bobby,” my wife’s nickname for me.  No, I didn’t have the same conflicts as my namesake, but as a New York City “boy,” Sondheim’s urbane, sophisticated Company, and its innovative ensemble approach resonates with me. It was my second marriage and “Being Alive” is exactly the way I felt, although there was some apprehension, as expressed in “Sorry-Grateful” (my YouTube rendition of that song made a few years ago can be heard here). 

What a major disappointment we will miss seeing Company with our kids on our special day.  But all these years we’ve had Sondheim for entertainment, consolation, and insight into human nature and with such innovative, beautiful music. Perhaps that is a fair trade. Thank you Stephen Sondheim; you enriched our lives.

And my own life is so infinitely richer by being married to my soul-mate, Ann.  We are simpatico in so many ways, even where we’re totally opposite, her puzzle pieces perfectly fitting mine.  I dedicate my recent YouTube performance of “Being Alive” to her.  Ann, you helped me “come through” and “I’ll always be there.”

Somebody, crowd me with love, / Somebody, force me to care, / Somebody, make me come through, / I'll always be there, / As frightened as you, / To help us survive / Being alive, / Being alive, / Being alive!

And thanks to our sons who endeavored to bring us all together for our 50th Wedding Anniversary.  That’s what life is all about, isn’t it?  We’ve got company! 

Circling back to the opening paragraph, may you and yours stay well, and stay safe, six feet apart!