We also walked the 19th-century galleries, where Sis wanted to see Degas's statue of a dancer. She stood mesmerized for awhile, liking the cloth skirt and ribbon of the otherwise bronze figure. Bud kept asking us to describe the subjects of painting so we finally would send him to read the labels. For the painting in the above photo, of the massacre of the Innocents, the label really didn't help him understand the dead children or bereft mothers. Interesting to note that the Met situates its labels at the height of an 8-year old, also probably that of a person in a wheelchair.
We had lunch on the (somewhat chilly) steps, though many of the fancy gourmet food carts have left--no cupcakes, no shakes, just New York hot dogs, which were good enough for Sis, Bud, and Mama!
Back inside, led by a banner on the facade of the building, we tracked down the newly-opened "Photography and the American Civil War," with his collection of carte-de-visite portraits in lockets and frames, battlefield images of casualties both dead and injured, and equipment such as cameras, braces to hold subjects' necks still, and stereoscopes, which were the kiddos' favorite.
We headed home soon after, with a swazu over to Columbia. We picked up some huge slices of Koronet pizza and ate them in front of Butler Library, where Mama and I met way back when. The kids love hearing that story over again and marveled that we could point to the exact stone bench (really more of a wall) where I was sitting eating breakfast when we were introduced by a co-worker. We'll have to go back for a longer visit next time, to hit some of our other favorite spots again (we took them once before, but they were probably too young to remember the library stacks, the Hungarian Cafe, and St. John the Divine.)
Saturday night, our babysitter came so that Mama and I could go to see Audra McDonald in concert with last-minute, half-price tickets. I'd seen her before, both in Carousel and Ragtime, and was looking forward to it. And we loved it! We had great seats, front row center mezzanine. Most of the songs dealt with the meaning of life, such as "Make Someone Happy" and "First You Dream." But, including those, I didn't know most of the songs, several being 1930s musical standards which isn't my forte. She "got over herself" to sing "I Could've Danced All Night," but she encouraged us to sing along. She sang about flying--and played the piano--in honor of her father who died five years ago in a plane crash. She was inspired to add "My Buddy" by an 86-year old veteran singing the song in Harvard Square; she sang some lullabies because her daughter wouldn't listen to them, saying her mother's singing "made my ears cry." The song about the effects of September 11th on one person, "I'll Be There," made us both cry. And we laughed hysterically, truly to the point of tears, when she sang her German art songs with lyrics from, of all places, Craigslist! There she was operatically singing about finding a particular type of Hudson Valley pickle because "some dipschitz though out my bottle!" I wasn't as affected by her song "Go Back Home" about the Scottsboro Boys or "Some Days" from a James Baldwin poem, but I really liked the poignant chorus and story of "Stars and the Moon," about being promised true love yet wanting a yacht and champagne. And her version of "Moment in the Woods." She closed with a song first sung by the person she considered the best singer ever--Judy Garland's "Over the Rainbow." No Porgy and Bess, no Carousel, no Ragtime. And it was all wonderful nonetheless. Mama and I glowed the rest of the weekend from having done something so adult, so enjoyable, so much like we used to, so memorable. We picked up Indian food on the way home and chatted late into the night.
Sunday was spent mainly at church--we were in charge of snacks, bringing homemade brownies, cheese and crackers, veggies and dip--as we had both morning service and I had a small group ministry meeting of parents of young children in the afternoon. There we discussed, passionately yet sensitively (also rather liberally), the shooting tragedy in Newtown through the lens of parenthood. I just joined the group but felt really comfortable with everyone and am very glad to have found a niche at church. Meanwhile, Mama and the kids made wooden pinball machines at a local museum and went for a short hike.
We ended the outing with some frozen yogurt--tart or lychee or strawberry yogurt with fruit toppings, caramel sauce, raspberry sauce, coconut, almonds, mochi, gummies, maraschino cherries--we had more toppings than yogurt! A sweet end to a great weekend.