I write this in Manchester, where I’ve been visiting since Wednesday—to attend the Army-Navy Game fundraiser at Murphy’s Taproom Saturday, then to collect on my daughter Libby’s birthday present to me: two tickets to see Cirque du Soleil on Ice on Sunday. What follows is not a review of either event, but some random thoughts.
This is J.P. Marzullo and Jeff Chidester’s third Army-Navy game viewing party, a chance for representatives of the two branches to talk crap to each other, eat and bid on some pretty amazing items. I can tell I’ve buried the lead, though. Army won! I managed to get most of my Christmas shopping done while supporting Liberty House, and watching Army win. At the beginning of the party, the Honorable Al Baldasaro, a retired Marine, declared himself rooting for Navy, since the Marines are, technically, part of the Navy, although most right-thinking people see the Navy as the woman’s auxiliary of the Marines. Although I didn’t have a chance to check with Al at the end of the game, I’m fairly certain he’d changed his allegiance midway through, when he saw the light—that Marines have much more allegiance to infantrymen than they do to sailor boys. Also, Army won. I passed up a chance at the greatest prank weapon ever—a surprise concert by a New Hampshire men’s chorus at a place and time of my choosing—and let Al’s wife, Judy have it. Just imagine the fun I could have had, though, assigning the chorus to appear at a friend’s wedding to sing “The Man Who Got Away,” “Second-Hand Rose,” “Me and Mrs. Jones” and other songs of faithless love. Or: the men’s chorus singing “Sixteen Tons” and “Working on the Chain Gang” at a friend who’s cleaning his yard. Or: “You’re Sixteen, You’re Beautiful and You’re Mine” at Roy Moore’s swearing-in ceremony. You get the idea. If there is one. I also had a chance to catch up with a lot of people at the fundraiser, hearing their complaints and joys and general gossip. While Liberty House is permanently in my rear-view mirror, it’s nice to still be part of the community.
Libby and I had a magical, wonderful time at Cirque du Soleil, although I’ll never be able to write those words without double-checking I’ve got the spelling right. Like “parallel,” “harass,” and “perseverance,” no matter what letters I put down, they seem wrong. The show had a story, I suppose, and Libby tried to explain it to me, but what really mattered to me was seeing the skating, acrobatics and gymnastics of the performers; I actually cried out “No” at one particularly difficult and dangerous stunt, embarrassing (another word I look up) Libby no end. With two large pretzels, a diet Coke and an enthusiastic crowd around me, I was transported back to being a child at the circus. Luckily, Libby was there to hold my hand during the scary parts and give me a patient smile when I applauded too long. Without reservation, I can recommend Cirque du Soleil, and would suggest you buy me a ticket and take me the next time any of their performances are in town.