The unvoiced thoughts and ideas of a septegenarian.


on February 22, 2012



            I once saw something in the paper that attracted my attention. A local Fine Arts Ensemble was opening the last of its five concert series to the public. I had never been to a chamber music concert and decided to take advantage of this opportunity. The concert was to be followed by a light buffet dinner.

When I discovered I had left the directions on my desk I scrambled around on the phone trying to locate someone – anyone – who might know where this affair was being held. Fortunately I managed to contact the violinist as she was walking out her door on the way to an early rehearsal.

I knew it was to be held in someone’s home in Lake Forest, an upper class suburb of Chicago, and anyone who could accommodate 50-100 people had to have a rather impressive house but I wasn’t prepared for what I found. On reaching the house at the end of a long, winding driveway, lined with lilac bushes in bloom, I found valet parking was available.  I happily turned over the keys to my car.

As I entered and glanced around, it looked to me as though it might be a David Adler home and the hostess later confirmed that, indeed, it was. The room in which the performance took place was a large, oak paneled library, overlooking acres of manicured lawn with ivy trailing down the French doors.  There was a small Chinese garden outside those doors overlooking a wooded ravine. Appropriately, the bookshelves on either side of the fireplace were filled with a book collector’s dream including the complete works of Shakespeare bound in leather the color of mustard. There was a subtle elegance about the crystal chandelier and the oils on the walls were reminiscent of Rembrandt. Taken together, the light oak walls, the sparkling lights and the darker oils gave the room a texture and a life of its own one rarely finds. The room encouraged a restful encouraged a feeling of contentment.

I have always thought of Haydn as rather ponderous but the Trio in C Major proved me wrong. Indeed, the first movement smacked of the childlike Mozart. Rachmaninoff’s Trio Elegiaque in D Minor, written, I was told, in tribute to Taichovsky, ranged from the same playfulness to an almost chilling funeral like dirge.

The concert was followed by an informal buffet dinner that could not have been duplicated in any restaurant for less than $75 a plate. When I inquired as to the caterer, I was told that several of the regular subscribers had each contributed something and only the deserts (plural – many plurals) had been purchased. Food is not really important to me but, as somewhat of a gourmet cook, I am compelled to sample. In this case, on a scale of one to ten, the sampling rated a 9 ½. The end result was that I left with a recipe for an outstanding chilled zucchini soup which I later made to acclaim.

It was an extraordinary experience and I’m pleased I went. I often have to force myself to do things like that alone. The opportunities are endless for that sort of thing. It turned out to be a perfect way to indulge my love of classical music and, at the same time, accommodate my hearing impairment. The smaller crowd, smaller room, lack of background noise, suits me perfectly. It was rather like having a long, intimate, conversation with one person in front of a glowing fireplace where I could hear every word and the phone never rang.

When I think about the significant experience I ask myself what I learned from it.  I learned to take responsibility for my own entertainment. I learned that I could, in fact, for a brief time, engage in small talk which I generally distain and avoid. I learned I could appreciate the elegance and beauty of the surroundings without jealousy rearing its ugly head.

Do you have a significant moment to share?

Julie Rose


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