There’s a moment when looking at your elders that they go from distinguished to dowdy. And then it hits you: They don’t realize that they’re old. So how do you know when it’s happening to you? There are a few signs. None more visceral than the aches and pains that you wake with the morning after hanging with young people. That’s us now. We did at least get to sleep in today. Today will be a rest day. Enough said. Now it is time to turn ourselves to reveling in our senior hood. Time to travel or at least plan our next trip or two. I’ve mentioned already our planned turkey day excursion to points east. That will be a road trip. Our next one will be a bit more. Before the pandemic, we had begun snow birding. Covid put a halt to that, but now I think it is time to revisit those southern climes. We started out with Florida and then the Virgin Islands, which turned out to be sort of international. You had to go through customs to get back home. This time I’m thinking even farther afield, Costa Rica. We’re not dead yet!
Sunday, Anne spent all day learning how to make batts, fun, colorful, fancy batts. Batting is normally used as filling for the quilts that she makes, but these batts are more decorative, too decorative to cover-up. She and Joanie took a class on the subject that was given by a woman whose company is the Foldout Cat. Anne was showing me her day’s work. Also in the class was another fabric artist that had taught Anne the art of dyeing, many years ago. Anne is also seen modeling her newest knitting creation, a colorful new sweater, finished just the day before. She got lots of complements. She also bought some yarn. Surprise!
We went to the theater last night and saw the play, Stick Fly. Now, this wasn’t the play that we had originally gotten tickets for, covid forced The Rep to substitute plays and this wasn’t the first time that we had tickets for this particular play. We exchanged tickets once to get socially distanced seating and then we exchanged the tickets again, to avoid having to drive in last week’s ice storm. The third time was a charm though. Yesterday, Saint Louis set a new record high temperature of 82 ºF. Because of the heat, I was on the fence about wearing the pictured new sweater that Anne had just finished knitting but decided to go for it and was glad that I did. Vaccine cards in hand and wearing the required KN95 masks we presented ourselves for entry at The Reps new Coca venue. Even though our thrice exchanged tickets put us in the very last orchestra row, the theater is small enough that that was not a problem.
Stick Fly is a six-actor play (Covid don’t you know), set in the present day, during the summer on Martha’s Vineyard. The story told is of the DeVay family an upper-middle class black family that has owned land on the Vineyard since the days of slavery. The original family member on the Vineyard wasn’t a slave, but a slaver, a note which foreshadows some of the moral issues that are brought to light during the play’s two-hour turbulent running time. The first couple to arrive for summer vacation are the family’s younger son Kent, and his new fiancée Taylor, who is nervous about meeting her future in-laws. They are greeted by Cheryl the eighteen-year-old daughter of the family’s long-time housekeeper and herself an unofficial DeVay family member. Next to arrive are the older brother Flip and his white girlfriend, Kimber. Finally, Joe, the family patriarch arrives, rounding out the cast. Not cast are Cheryl’s mother, the housekeeper, who is sick and Mrs. DeVay, whose absence is mysterious.
The play gets its title through Taylor. She is an entomologist who is studying the house fly. Flies move so fast that they cannot easily be photographed. In order to facilitate this photography, flies are superglued to little sticks thus immobilized, their reactions can be recorded as objects are moved towards them.
Sparks start to fly almost immediately between Cheryl and Taylor, but their fire is nothing compared to the conflagration between Taylor and Kimber. Also, it is immediately apparent that Taylor has a past with Flip the older brother. Their father Joe pours gasoline on this already volatile situation with his near constant belittling and humiliation of his two sons. Finally, not to be out done, Cheryl first learns her own secret, which is the most explosive of them all, when her mother calls her with the news. By the end of the first act, the audience is left with the most cringeworthy of soap operas to watch be resolved. As soap opry as it may be, Stick Fly is no daytime TV. Undergirding the above outlaid collection of puny human foibles are discussions of race, sex and class.