Earlier this week, my guys (hubby and son) announced that we would be "going somewhere" on Saturday. Somewhere? I asked. Yes, you don't get to know. When I squinted at son and asked if this was something I would want to do? Totally, he said.
With instructions to wear comfortable shoes and that we would have to leave early since it would be somewhere over a two hour drive, my suspicions and speculations ran amok. Where would we end up? Were we going north? South? Could I wear jeans and a t-shirt? My questions were answered judiciously or ignored. I was completely in the dark.
We drove up I-95 on Saturday morning and crossed the Delaware Memorial - all right, north, then, at least going into New Jersey. Something in Cape May? Nope - we continued to head north and further north.
When we approached the Newark airport, I realized we were headed to New York. Going into the big city? Oh, my....this was something interesting. By this time, hubby was dropping hints about someone needing to be brave enough to talk to a famous person, which he was unwilling to do. Celebrity? Who could it be? Now my brain was racing and the boys still weren't talking.
We parked in a garage on 56th, the kind where you leave the key with the attendant and your car gets to feel special and ride up to its spot in an elevator, and walked down the street for an early linner.
Just a quick shout out to the restaurant - Topaz - which is one of those small, tables too close spaces that they've managed to make cozy and beautiful with dark, shining wood and wonderful service.
The panang was perfect - so good. We dumped our collective rice in the bowl and scarfed it all up since letting that beautiful sauce go to waste would've been a crying shame.
Stuffed and happy, we roamed Central Park and some of the city for a bit since it was a perfect spring day and our "thing" (still no clue) wasn't until 3:00.
At one point we passed Carnegie Hall and I said to son "I wish I could show you the inside..."
Interesting how dramatic irony sometimes plays out in real life.
At 2:30, we headed back toward Carnegie - and went inside. What? Wait...really? Hubby went to the Will Call window, picked up tickets and rushed us into the auditorium. I didn't even have a chance to look at the tickets until we sat down.
Finally, I'm in my seat and manage to squint out the name on the ticket.
Squeee! So cool. We've been fans forever and I haven't seen her in concert for, oh dear, twenty years? Something like that. This was a special family concert, a four concert tour for the new illustrated book "Leave Your Sleep" that takes some of the poems Natalie set to music some time ago and pairs them with lovely Barbara McClintock illustrations.
Better yet? They were signing copies after the concert and hubby had brought the book for me to have it signed. Super squeee!
It was a wonderful concert - Natalie's still adorable, dang her, after all these years, and she interacted with the kids so well. No pics were allowed at concert or signing or I would have some for you, but oh, it was so cool to talk to her for a few moments. I even got some words out.
Me (leaning down to speak, eyes most likely shining with scary fan stars): Thank you - we've been fans of yours for over 25 years
Natalie (eyes traveling up to tall figure looming behind me): Is this your son?
Me: Yes! Oh, yes, he grew up listening to you.
Natalie (gracious and smiling, reaches out to shake Ian's hand): Did you want it signed to both of you?
Me: Yes, thank you! That would be wonderful.
Natalie (signing): So you're from New York?
Me: No, we came up from Delaware to see you.
Natalie (eyes a bit wide): You came all that way just to see me?
Me: Yes! Absolutely!
And there you have it folks - probably the one conversation I will ever have with a celebrity. She was so sweet and I'm glad I didn't completely embarrass myself. But it was a wonderful surprise and a lovely day I'll always hold in a painted lacquered box next to my heart.
Thank you, guys. It was worth all the not-knowing. :)
Angel writes (mostly) Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around gay heroes. Currently living part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware and full time inside her head, she has one husband, one son, two cats, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.