The sun’s beautiful rays gently peek through my window. I can hear birds singing. I greet the glorious day by throwing the covers over my face and groaning. Happy tour day 4 everyone! My feet are like popsicles and I think I may actually have ice on my nose. Guess who forgot to turn her heater on last night? Like the others, I’m running on empty. This is usually the time when everyone really begins to feel the demands of the schedule we’ve been keeping. I learned this a few tours ago and wised up. Today is a day off. We’ve got things to do and places to go, but we’re not performing today so that the Young Artists have a chance to rest their voices.
We’re up and out of the hotel; remarkably, we’re a party of 7. There’s no lobby here. That might make a difference. We load luggage and bodies into the cars and head off to breakfast. As we pull away from our little inn, I see the art project that Cassidy and Morgan worked on last night. They installed it in the window of their room. It’s called, “Wine bottles in window.” They could have chosen a better title. I like “Remnants of the evening.” Either way, it’s lovely. We go check out a local restaurant for breakfast; it was recommended to us after yesterday’s performance. As we walk in and grab a table, I notice that there are formerly alive creatures on the wall again. Joshua calls upon his interpretive skills once more, reaching deep inside their minds, and tells us what their final thoughts were. Apparently one was taking care of nature’s call. Joshua says it left this world in a contented state of mind. I didn’t ask about the other one.
The food is great and coffee seems to have restorative powers. Alex gives Steven a quick lesson on the different ways you can order your eggs and Mrs. Harmison-Bouillon tells us about the day she introduced the “hubby” to Ikea. Ah, domesticity. Chatting continues and we get onto the topic of sports, which frequently happens when Alex is at the table. I’m asked if I’ve ever heard of Turkish Oil Wrestling. No, I never have. So, Jared takes it upon himself to educate me. Oh, my. All I can say about this sport is – thank you. Whoever invented it, thank you. I’ve never really been an avid sports fan. I mean, I’m a Broncos girl for sure, but this… well, I think this sport is something I could really get into. Morgan is curious about the sport too, so I show her a picture. Her eyes say it all. You’re welcome Morgan. (Look it up and you’ll know why this was blog worthy.) I’m dreaming about a trip to Turkey when Joshua’s phone rings. It’s the garage in Gunnison. He dashes outside to take the call. When he comes back in, he does not look happy. My stomach sinks. Oh boy, it’s one of two things. Either the Yukon isn’t ready or they’ve found something else wrong. Joshua sits down and rubs his hand over his beard – busted. I know what’s up now. No, I don’t have psychic powers (Wonder Woman doesn’t have those, right?) That is Joshua’s “I want you to think I’m being serious” gesture. It’s never really worked on any of us – funny that he keeps using it. The call was to let us know that the Yukon… is fixed!
We chat with a few locals who were at last night’s show and they tell us how much they enjoyed the performance. Happy to start our day this way, we bid Lake City goodbye. Our sincere thanks to everyone who made us feel so welcome. It was such fun performing for you. Come see us at the Ellie sometime soon! Everyone’s loaded in and buckled up and we make our way back to Gunnison. We’ve been told to be on the lookout for wildlife, but we’re not seeing anything other than cows and horses. Well, there are also llamas, and Alex, well, he really loves all kinds of creatures. He yells “Hey llama” out the window as we drive by. This is a variation of the game I learned a few tours ago called, “Hey cow.” One turns and looks at him, so based on the game rules he gets one point. Or does he? I enter a protest; that was an alpaca, not a llama. It’s still under review… We continue on the drive and suddenly, right in front of us, three deer run across the road and bound over a fence on the other side. Tenderhearted Morgan is concerned when one gets stuck in the fence, but thankfully it gets out and quickly runs away. Cassidy gets really excited; those were not “goat, goats,” those were “deer, deer.” She has a way with words, that one. Just a few hundred feet further and another animal crosses in front of us. This one is an elusive creature; I’ve never seen one before. But one in our car has knowledge the rest of us do not. Jared. He’s well-traveled; knows many things. He’s even created his own map of the United States based on the knowledge he’s gained. The south is not the south; everything above Ohio is Canada, and so on. Jared tells us the creature is… a horned squirrel. Apparently we have those here in the frozen north – that’s where we are in the United States of Jared. This coming from the man who has already had several educational moments on tour. Let’s recap shall we? People do live out here and, stupid or not, frozen lakes exist. We people of the frozen north tend to have good instincts, so I’m pretty sure that was not a horned squirrel.
We make it safely to Gunnison and get to the garage. The Young Artists unload the rental so they can load the Yukon and I take care of the bill. While we wait for the paperwork to be completed, Morgan learns what it’s like to see the world from Jared’s perspective by standing on a stool and Cassidy and Jared do impressions of monkeys in the wild. I don’t know why; I was afraid to ask. In these moments, I’ve learned that it’s best to move slowly and avoid direct eye contact. We’ve got the Yukon loaded readers and we’re back on track! We make a quick pit stop for gas and then begin the journey to Crested Butte. It’s a pretty quick trip and we’re able to go straight to our lodging and check in. We are staying in a small, but adorable, boutique hotel. I spoke with the manager on duty on the phone last week, so he knows who we are and why we’re here. He gives us a hearty welcome and tells us he’s going to re-arrange his schedule tomorrow so he can come see our performance of The Barber of Seville – great! Luggage in hand, we head off to our rooms. The balcony overlooks the mountains – it’s gorgeous. Jared’s room is next to mine and we share a special moment on the balcony. It basically consists of both of us standing there saying “wow” to each other. Everyone now has time on their own until we meet up for dinner.
Alex goes to the gym, Joshua works on repertoire for a summer recital program, Cassidy, Steven, Jared and Morgan go into town and I hunker down in my room and get some work done. Time flies when you’re being productive and before I know it, it’s time to meet in the lobby. It’s national pie day, so in honor of that we’re having pizza for dinner. We head off to a local hot spot on the town’s main street. While we wait for appetizers, Joshua and Steven challenge Morgan and Cassidy to a game of Battleship. I’m hoping that this diversion will resuscitate Alex. It’s bad; he’s not even in the grunting phase. We need to get food into this guy and fast. Thankfully, the food arrives; the game is put on hold. Soon our food arrives Apparently we’ll be feeding the other patrons in the room too because there’s so much; it won’t even fit on the table. We get creative with where we stash things and dig in. Steven is in heaven. He’s been looking forward to this all week. We eat until the yummy noises turn into groans. Now fed, Alex is returning to us. Now we all need to walk. It’s either that or risk slipping into a carb coma. As we exit the restaurant, Joshua decides, on a whim, to climb the hill at the end of the street. It’s covered in snow, he’s wearing dress shoes, but our fearless Frenchman isn’t deterred. He climbs up; falling only 12-20 times (apparently I can’t count and laugh at the same time). He stands triumphantly at the top while all of us cheer him on from the bottom, showing our support by making wagers on how he’ll do on the way down. With the grace of a lumbering bear, Joshua makes his descent. He gets down in one piece, covered in snow, but in one piece.
We walk around town, soaking in the atmosphere. Cassidy and Morgan find a place that will be serving pie (the dessert kind) at 8:00, so we kill time by looking around the various shops. As we walk and shop, we talk. Jared has caught the blog bug and wants to try his hand at writing. He also wants to write about the group’s adventures, but his focus will be on the parts I leave out. I want to encourage his artistic endeavors, but if he’s going to do this; I insist that he change names. He agrees, but the names would be thinly veiled characterizations of the real people. He gives me an example. That idea is quickly abandoned because the source is not pleased. We visit a local hat store where Joshua creates his new look – “Urban Pioneer.” Think James Bond meets Davey Crocket and you’ve got it. The guy can even make a furry hat look cool with those sunglasses. We make a few purchases; take some pictures to document the newly formed sub-group, “hat buddies” and head to another store which carries a bit of everything. Cassidy makes the find of the century; it’s a button that says, “Hi, I like goats, do you like goats?” Wow, this “goat, goat” thing is really catching on. A few shops down the street, Jared spies a sign in a store window and calls to me to come look. Blue ribbon anyone? I think the community of Crested Butte has been reading my blog!
I decide to call it a night. I still have work to do and I’d really like to try and catch a little sleep before the sun comes up. The Young Artists are staying in town for pie. Steven will join them later. He and I head for the tank so we can drive back to the hotel. On our way, we overhear a mom coaching her son on his spelling words. She says, “Cell, like cell in your body.” We both shoot each other a look and slow down. That’s what she said, but that is not what Steven and I heard. Because of how she said it, we heard something much different. “Sell, like sellin’ your body.” We don’t stop laughing until we get to the hotel.
All is quiet – until they return and make use of the hot tub. Morgan gleefully discovers that there are “thingy’s for her feet.” That’s Morgan - taking joy in the simple things. I join the group for a few minutes and set the schedule for tomorrow. I bid everyone goodnight and leave the sea monkeys to their soak.
As I finish the blog, I’m realizing that there hasn’t been a lot about opera in it. Or has there….
I write a lot about how much we love what we do; how amazing it is to share it with people – and that is 100% true. For all of us, opera is the thing we most want to be a part of. It often trumps everything else. But, for us to be good, really good at what we do, we have to take time to breathe every now and then. Every now and then, we need days like today to re-charge our batteries. I think tomorrow’s show will reflect that; be stronger for it. I hope you’ve had fun re-charging with us today and that you’ve gotten to know the people behind the performers a little better.
And with that readers, I’m going to call it a night. Hope you have a great one.