For the first year or two after we were married we didn't have any television. I mean, we owned a tv and a DVD player, so we watched movies and stuff, but we didn't get any channels. So, we listened to the radio. On our Saturdays off we liked to listen to NPR: Car Talk, Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me!, Whad'Ya Know?, and A Prairie Home Companion. Since our first anniversary was spent in the hospital acquiring the Boogie, we wanted to do something special for our second anniversary. When we found out that A Prairie Home Companion would do a few live broadcasts from The Town Hall theatre in NYC in April of that year, we knew that would be the perfect way to celebrate. And it was! We had a wonderful time. Country singer Brad Paisley and his wife actress Kimberly Williams guest-starred along with two or three others. We had such a great time that we've wanted to go again ever since.
A few months ago we started talking about this anniversary coming up. Last year we went to Baltimore for a couple of nights. We knew we just wanted to do a day trip this year, and while talking about it we realized that I hadn't been to NYC since my parents came to visit in 2009! We looked up A Prairie Home Companion and sure enough, they were going to be broadcasting from The Town Hall in April again, so we bought our tickets and eagerly anticipated going. This time we didn't know who would be guest-starring and didn't even care -- we just chose the date that would work the best for us.
We made arrangements for grandparents to keep the girls (Mama Dog too) overnight. That morning as we were getting everything together I asked Eric, "Did we ever find out who is going to be performing in the show?" He looked it up: "Some bluegrass group and some other singers, Heather something and Renee somebody." Renee somebody? When I had a moment to spare I checked it out myself ... "Guest star Renee Fleming."
I flipped out! I have listened to Renee Fleming on recordings and the radio since I was a teenager and developed a love for classical music. The opportunity to hear her in person was the icing on the cake of a perfect day!
The weather was gorgeous but instead of driving up to Staten Island and taking the foot ferry across, this time we caught the NJ Transit into Penn Station. We didn't give ourselves as much time as we should have, and for once we didn't really have a set plan of what we wanted to see; we ended up kind of wandering around and popping into stores here and there. But we still had a nice time people-watching, and we mentally book-marked a couple of places to visit next time (like that street with several bead shops.)
The show was fantastic. We enjoyed every minute of it! There was some bluegrass music performed by the Punch Brothers; some gorgeous harmonies by Aoiffe O'Donovan and Heather Masse; and of course Renee Fleming. Hearing her sing live literally gave me goosebumps. Eric said my face lit up! She also acted in the "Guy Noir" and "The Lives of the Cowboys" sketches. And of course ... Garrison Keillor. I don't know anything about him personally but it surely is fun to watch him in action during a broadcast.
After the show we made our way to Times Square, and over to Junior's restaurant for some dinner. We each ordered a sandwich, and a side of onion rings to share, but neither of us could finish our sandwich and we ended up bringing the onion rings home. We should have shared a sandwich so we could also split a piece of the famous cheesecake. Oh well ... next time.
It was a fun day and I certainly hope I don't wait 3 more years before going back.