A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Illumination Night

This weekend is commencement at Smith College, which also means it's reunion, which also means that Cicily is bartending. Tonight I was tending a full bar at Lamont House for the class of 1941, helping them to celebrate their 65th reunion.

Last night, most of the class of 1981 were content with Chardonnay or a white wine spritzer. These old eighty-somethings, on the other hand, were fonder of the hard stuff...mainly martinis and gin and tonics. It's definitely a generational thing.

I was a little apprehensive about going solo for my first flight, but I needn't have worried. My "boss" had reassured me that these women would tell me exactly what they wanted, and boy, was she ever right. A vodka and tonic, with not too much ice...oh, that's too much...could you put one cube back?...ok, that's fine...easy on the vodka...fill it with soda...a twist of lime...no, don't give me a stirrer...that's perfect, thank you very much. It went on like that through the whole cocktail hour.

After my gig was up, I went over to Cordelia's, and she and Nadine and I walked back to campus for Illumination Night. There must have been a thousand lanterns strung up all along the paths throughout the upper campus. As soon as it got dark, the lanterns were lit. Jazz from a little ensemble set up in front of the campus center floated across the lawns.

The few kids I saw were bug-eyed in wonder at the spectacle. Strolling couples looked pretty content--it wouldn't take much of a spark to start a fire in that magical atmosphere. And I hope some of the old gals made it across Elm Street from Lamont to see their campus dressed so festively. Through the haze of those martinis I was making, it must certainly have looked pretty swell.

The Modern Day Saint

This evening, I was in Northampton, tending bar for the class of 1981 at the Smith College reunion. Down the road a piece, my daughter was manning the phones in the Alumnae House as Reunion Coordinator. And down the road a little further piece, my son was playing a gig at Pearl Street with his band, The Modern Day Saint. Our little family had Northampton covered tonight, and that's a fact.

I had a ball, and didn't spill Merlot down anyone's dress. Cordelia is getting props from everyone for her efficient and organized, yet totally personalized, handling of every last detail of this annual blowout. And I know that first-hand, because I was hearing it from everyone around me.

And a shout-out to Ali, who plays the drums so extraordinarily well, and looks good doing it, too. I'm sure he brought down the house tonight. This evening rocked...literally.