People often get reflective around the new year. I don’t like to conform, of course, so it has taken me until the 14th day of the year to get there.
When we were in London, Ed and I had these things that we called “Dude Moments.” These were instances when we would suddenly realize where we were or what we were doing and one of us would stop and say, “Dude… Can you believe we’re here?” Given the number of new and awesome experiences that semester, we had a lot of Dude Moments.
Anyway, do you ever have one of those moments? The ones where you think to yourself, ‘Dude. How great is this?’ I’ve been doing that a lot recently. I have a wonderful family; friends who I can count on and who make me laugh; a rewarding and challenging job; a great little apartment of my own in a city I love; and a lot of good books. I mean, really, what else is there?
I have these moments fairly regularly, which I think makes me a pretty lucky person. Just this year, I’ve probably had hundreds, but there have been a few that I can remember in the last several months (some of which I’ve already talked about, notably November 4, 2008, when much of the country was having a collective Dude Moment), and—in the interest of reflection and whatnot—I shall share them with you now.
1) October 30, 2008: I sat in a small room in the U.S. Supreme Court with 190 other people, among them the Justices of the Supreme Court, Plácido Domingo, and other local and government persons-of-interest, listening to Renée Fleming sing “Deep River,” and thinking, “How on earth did I end up here?”
2) August 29, 2008: Lola the Corolla was at full capacity as I drove back from BWI with a car full of people, a trunk full of luggage, and six conversations going on at one time—which was saying something since there were just five of us—me, Jules, Miguel, Ash, and Jason—in the car. The Trio, once inseparable, is spread across the country now, but our annual rendezvous is a joyous event—and a loud one.
3a) December 21, 2008: I stood in the choir loft at my home church, with Mom on my left, Dad on the podium, a full orchestra in front of me, and the glorious sounds of the Munsey choir seriously bringing it on Handel’s Messiah, when suddenly, the glorious sound of a trumpet—and one, in particular, that I’d know anywhere—burst forth from behind me. It surprised the hell out of me (though I’m not sure why, because what self-respecting choir director forgets to hire a trumpet player for the Hallelujah Chorus? Certainly not my father!), but brought the biggest smile to my face. (Also bringing a smile to my face? When my father, five bars from the end of the piece, snuck a peek at his watch while conducting. What, you can't wait another ten seconds?)
3b) December 25, 2008: I considered not mentioning this, since it happens every year, but whatever. Christmas Eve worship is my absolute, undisputed favorite two-hour period of the entire year, from beginning to end. It also happens to be the one time of the year when I want to be a soprano. It wouldn’t be Christmas without G rolling her eyes at me as I squeak my way through the descants. And at the end, in the first few minutes of Christmas Day, hundreds of candles are lifted skyward simultaneously on the final stanza of “Joy to the World,” and I literally get chills.
4) November 18, 2008: The Israel Philharmonic performed at the Kennedy Center, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, and it was, bar none, one of the most incredible musical experiences I’ve ever had. Aside from the stellar performances of Tchaikovsky’s 4th and Brahms’ 4th symphonies, the orchestra began first with the national anthem—and, of course, many people sang along. But then they launched into the national anthem of Israel—a gorgeous, haunting melody—and, amazingly, much of the audience sang along with that, too! It was a powerful moment, and one I’m not likely to forget anytime soon.
5) October 14, 2008: At her request, we kept the festivities for Val’s birthday small this year—just a low-key dinner with her, Ed, J, and me. Since J doesn’t live here anymore, it was the first time in a long while that just the four of us had spent any time together since the Roommate (Plus Val) Dinners that we regularly had at the River Road house, and it was fabulous. Thus, they were the perfect three people to spend the first few (awake) hours of 2009 with at brunch on New Year’s Day.
So anyway, there it is. 2009 will bring many new challenges, adventures, trips, and people. Oh, and weddings. Lots of weddings. But ’08 was a good year. Thanks to all those who were along for the ride.