Sunday, December 03, 2006

A WICKED-ly good Anniversary

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Note: This blog entry is long, so I’ve divided it into two parts. If you want to read the whole entry, click on MORE as this entry ends below.
As many of you know, Rick and I celebrated our 25th anniversary on October 17th. We decided to do it up in style since we are so close to New York City. We had tickets [orchestra, 3rd row center] to WICKED and planned to go to our little restaurant off Fifth Avenue afterwards. We had hired a car to take us in, pick us up after the show, take us to the restaurant, and finally to bring us home. We could have driven ourselves, but for this special occasion we didn’t want to worry about where to park or driving after having some anniversary wine. We thought it would be simpler. Easier. After all a driver would know exactly where they were going and we wouldn’t have to worry about anything. Or would we?

The Getting There

It was a rainy day. The driver was due to arrive to pick us up at 5:00 p.m. since on Tuesday nights, the shows all start at 7:00 instead of the usual 8:00. We were certain that a two hour window would get us there in time even with heavy traffic.  About ten minutes before five, the phone rang. It was the driver saying he might be about 5 minutes late. Okay, we can handle that.
and he still isn’t here. We’re starting to panic a bit at this point since it is a rainy night and we have no idea what the traffic is going to be like going in to the city. Rick calls him on his cell phone and he tells Rick where he is; about ten minutes away at this point. It’s going to be close. He finally arrives [it’s 5:35] and we hurry into the car. He tells us that he Googled our address and he didn’t believe the route it told him to take, so he took a different way. DUH! Then he proceeds to ask Rick the quickest way to Manhattan from here. Hello! Isn’t he supposed to know? Why does he think we hired a car and driver?? The good thing is that he appears to be a good driver and he’s driving fast but not recklessly.

tick, tock…tick, tock…

Traffic appears to moving and we relax a bit. Maybe it won’t be so close after all. We settle back into the comfy seats of the Lincoln Town car. Until that is, we come to a dead stop in traffic and we’re not even to Paramus yet. Not a good sign. Our driver doesn’t think it’s a good sign either. Stop and go traffic continues for a few miles, then opens back up and we’re moving pretty good again. The driver takes a cell phone call from his daughter and proceeds to chat to her for the next ten minutes. He tells us his family woes and how he can’t afford to fill up his fuel tank, so right now they don’t have any fuel oil. His wife is mad because for two days she hasn’t been able to take a hot shower. [Do we really need to know this?] We hit another pocket of barely-creeping-along traffic. After we get through that bad patch it’s
as we finally reach the G.W. [George Washington bridge].

tick, tock…tick, tock…

Our driver is starting to sweat. He says, “Well, it’s not looking too good. I guess I’m going to have to buy you some theater tickets if we don’t make it.” Trust me buddy, you don’t want to have to reimburse us for these tickets, they were mighty expensive, I think to myself. Rick is looking a little green at this point. Or maybe he was just getting into character for the show? At this point it wasn’t looking good for us to make it to the theater by 7:00. If we don’t make it, not only are we out the cost for the tickets but it would kind of ruin the whole evening that we had planned for so long. Bummer. And traffic on the Henry Hudson was not helping. He goes several blocks further then he needs to, so we end up backtracking.

It’s 6:55.

tick, tock…tick, tock…


We finally pull up in front of the Gershwin Theater. We quickly make sure he’s going to be waiting for us after the show and make a mad dash for the entrance. People are still going through the doors, so it looks like we made it. We find our seats [everybody has to get up to let us in, of course], sit down and let out a huge sigh of relief. We made it! Five minutes after we are seated, the curtain goes up and we can just relax and enjoy the show.

The Show

We all know the story of the Wizard of Oz. How many times have you seen it?  I can remember as a child how magical this movie was. I got to stay ‘up late’ to watch it and it seemed to last forever. I think it came on once per year, at Easter time. Mom would pop a big bowl of popcorn on top of the stove in the pan with the glass lid so we could watch it pop. Then the popped corn would be poured into the old green ceramic earthenware bowl she still has to be slathered with salt and butter. [Note to self: on next visit up to Mom’s bring home the green bowl if she doesn’t want it anymore.] Ahh…the late 50s!

I always hated the part in the beginning where the Ms. Gulch is peddling along on her bicycle with poor Toto in the basket on back. She looked so grim and evil. Well, wicked, really. [hehe] da dada dada da-da daaaaaaa  Then the whole twister thing which always was a bit scary, and then MAGIC. Dorothy opened the door to COLOR!!!!!!! Glinda arrives in her bubble looking blonde and gorgeous and most of all GOOD, the munchkins sing their way through several adorable songs, Dorothy dons the ruby slippers and the inevitable happens. She and Toto [too] have to…

follow the yellow brick road
follow the yellow brick road
follow, follow, follow, follow
follow the yellow brick road

...until they meet the scarecrow, un-rust the tinman, adopt the lion, and finally find their way to the Emerald City where they meet the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. He’s pretty scary, isn’t he?  They pick up their task list to kill the WICKED [and very green] witch and return with proof to get their goodies [brains; a heart; courage]. Easy enough, right? The flying monkeys always scared me. Bravely they storm the castle of the wicked witch, Dorothy throws a bucket of water on her, she melts with a few mournful i’m melting…i’m melting..‘s and POOF! she’s gone except for her hat and broom.

Ding, Dong, the witch is dead. Which old witch? The wicked witch!

Meanwhile back in Oz, Dorothy and the Terrific Trio confront the Wizard for their prizes. They are stunned to find out that the Wonderful Wizard is nothing more than a kind old soul from Kansas blown to Oz by the winds of fate. He’s only bluffing to be a wizard. LIAR! FARCE! Look what we did for you! We demand what you promised! So, the “Wizard” gives in and presents them with a few baubles and some important sounding speeches and they feel much better. But what about poor Dorothy? How can he help her?  Okay, everybody, repeat after me…
there’s no place like home,
there’s no place like home,
there’s no place like home
and don’t forget to click your ruby heels together!

Now it’s black and white again. Turns out Dorothy got a bump on the head and it was all a dream. Somehow these people surrounding her bed look hauntingly familiar. Could it be? the scarecrow? the tinman? the lion? It took me years to realize this, by the way. Too caught up in the magic of a small child’s imagination to put it all together.

How did I do? I know I left some bits out, but I was just trying to hit the high points and give you a quick run-by in case you’d forgotten. I hope you weren’t bored by my summation.

Okay, forget most everything I told you above except for:
~a green “witch”
~Glinda is very blonde and still has her bubble [or is that GA-Linda?]
~there is a Wizard of Oz [but what is his true agenda?]
~a pair of ruby slippers
~the lion, the tinman and the scarecrow

Toss everything else aside and prepare to never think about the Wizard of Oz in the same way ever again. WICKED is all about the back story on the Wicked Witch of the West. Mostly before she was wicked. What made her that way?  I won’t tell you anything to spoil the story, so don’t ask me. It’s witty, funny, sad, touching, with a touch of whimsy all rolled into one. There are some real zinger lines in there that refer back to the Wizard of Oz, and you have to pay attention to all the jibes and jokes. The special effects were amazing. The costumes were wonderful; the singing glorious. Glinda stole the show. She was way too spectacularly, well, ahem, blonde. Our seats were wonderful and we were so close to the actors at times they seemed to be close enough to reach out and touch. We both agreed that it was one show we could see again. If you saw it a second time I’m sure you would get jokes that you didn’t the first time around.

The Dinner

Our driver was waiting right outside the theatre by the curb. It was still raining and the city sparkled and glistened in the wetness. New York looks good wet. We didn’t have far to go to reach our restaurant. However, we knew during intermission at the show that we were going to be late for our dinner reservations. We had only expected the show to last two hours, but instead we didn’t get out until 10:00. We had called ahead to let them know we’d be late. We knew the kitchen closed at 11:00, so we wouldn’t have much time. We arrived at the Bottega del Vino at around 10:15.

It was clear they were winding down for the night. They were out of a few daily specials that we might have ordered. We started with an appetizer to share of a special mushroom imported from Italy [something like a caesar] that was shaved over the top of a bed of arugula and served in a fried Parmesan cheese “basket.” It was heavenly. The mushroom was very thinly sliced and had a tang to it, and the fried Parmesan basket was the perfect foil for the pungent arugula. We chatted with our waiter a bit about wine and their wine cellar and he offered to take us on a tour, but our next course was on its way out of the kitchen. Our main course came quickly on the heels of our appetizer, and we would have liked to linger over our wine a bit more before going on to the next course. We understood. We were late and they were getting ready to close the kitchen. Still, it would have been nice to be able to talk and reminisce a bit more.

For our main course Rick chose Maialino in Crosta,  a porcini-crusted pork tenderloin in a brown mustard sauce and I chose Petto D’Anatra; pan-roasted, organic breast of duck with caramelized, dry figs in Primitivo wine. They were both delicious! For dessert we had the special that our waiter recommended and he didn’t steer us wrong. A lovely poached pear with honey drizzled over the top with a special sauce.

It was getting late, but we asked our waiter if the offer on a tour of the wine cellar was still good. He hesitated a bit and went away to carry on a conversation in Italian with a few other employees. He came back and said ‘follow me.’ They have a room downstairs with a long table that is surrounded by their wine cellar that can be booked for large parties or special occasions. It would be fun to eat there. We got to see all the wines tucked away cozily in their niches awaiting someone to choose them, open them, and breathe in their heady fragrance. There were some very expensive and old wines gathering dust. Alas, those were beyond our financial reach.

And, by the way, Sophia Loren did not make an appearance at the restaurant for our special day. [see my previous blog entry] She had either finished up filming her movie or just went to bed early that night. It’s just as well.

We rejoined our driver now waiting for us and began our journey back home, which was uneventful except for one tiny thing. Halfway home our driver started squirming and saying he needed to find a restroom—soon. Something about being in pain and it was beginning to be an emergency. He reminded us that after all, he had been in the car waiting on us for many hours. [What? You couldn’t take the time to find a restroom anywhere in all those hours??] He’s starting to groan, saying I need to pull off now. Good grief. He pulls off into a parking lot and get out of the car. At this point we don’t really know what to expect. He comes back after only a few seconds, so it couldn’t have been anything too awful. Such class. What a guy.

We finally arrive back at home around 1:00. He apologizes for being late, etc, etc., but as we pay him for the night, it does not include a tip. Maybe he’ll get a clue. Maybe not. Either way, we won’t be using that limo company again.

Did we have a good time? Absolutely! Did we have a great 25th anniversary? Without a doubt! We look forward to celebrating our 50th in another 25 years.

Next entry: Now I lay me down to sleep

Previous entry: Last Tribute to Fall


Welcome, I'm Lynne. You know me better as a 'new' Jersey Girl. But now I've moved once again, this time to North Carolina. Here I write about my thoughts, good food, and of course, dogs.

© 2006-2023 Lynne Robinson All photography and text on this blog is copyright. For use or reproduction please ask me first.

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