I got to take my wife out on a date tonight. That is a rare occasion, but we are learning the benefits of babysitters. Where did we go? What did we do? At our request, my late father, John Beisel, had purchased for us a season family pass for the Keokuk Concert Association. That was his last Christmas gift to us. And we used it tonight. We went to the Grand Theatre in Keokuk and enjoyed the piano music of Mozart, Liszt, Poulenc, Ravel, and Debussy played by internationally renowned pianist Angela Jia Kim (An Iowa native, by the way). It was absolutely marvelous.
I have never been to a piano concert like this before, except for a few recitals when I was in second grade, which really doesn’t count. Listening to a professional play this music in concert was like seeing original Renoir paintings at the Chicago Art Institute. Listening to them on a CD, while satisfying, would be like looking at the Renoir paintings in a book or magazine. There is just something different, something ontological about seeing it up close and personal, live. I’m sure others have had the same experience.
Anyway, after we went to the concert, we went to what we consider to be the nicest restaurant in Keokuk, IA: the Hawkeye, in order to have a martini and some of the most excellent buffalo chicken wings you have ever tasted. We ordered our martinis “up” but they came on the rocks, in tumbler glasses. I said, “Wow, I’ve never seen a martini on the rocks before.” Amy said, “This isn’t a martini.” Of course, the waitress got defensive and said, “I hit the martini button.” I wanted to say, “Look miss, it probably isn’t your fault. Your bartender just doesn’t know how to make a martini.” But I held my tongue and simply asked for another. This time they were served in traditional martini glasses, without ice. It was a great night. Everything went well for the babysitter. Life is good. She even cleaned up the house for us before we got home. Maybe we should hire baby-sitters more often. The kids love her, and even Martin, who throws a fit every time one of us starts putting on our jackets to go out the door, gave mom a kiss goodnight and ran off to play. Praise be to God! And Lizzy, who is typically shy around strangers, was a little “chatterbox” all night. They’re definitely getting to know this babysitter better. Susan will be old enough to babysit in a few short years, so that will be good too. But I’ve rambled way too long on this post.