It was in the planning stages for almost two years, our trip to Maine.
We were invited almost two years ago by Charles’ mother Charlene to come up and tell stories.
More specifically, she wanted Danusia to do her one woman show, Wonderbread, but Danusia said that Wonderbread has run it’s life and it’s time to move on.
Drawing from her MOTH experience Danusia re-wrote the whole thing, or rather wrote a whole new piece sans props, prompts, and acting. She boiled it down to raw storytelling.
Charles’ dad passed away last year, just days before we were to leave for Maine.
That event led to the postponement of the show. I was supposed to tell a story as well, the nominal opening act.
We had a year to work on it, and Danusia worked very hard at it. She had an hour to fill. I had ten, fifteen minutes at the most, so I didn’t really need a lot of rehearsal.
Charles Hall is Danusia’s niece Kasia’s husband, so he is sort of my nephew-in-law.
Our first night there, Charlene, the matriarch of the Hall clan declared us in-laws; more specifically Danusia is a sister-in law. I guess I’m in there somewhere, honorary Yankee for a day. Or two.
The Friendly River Music Barn is normally a music venue, but Charlene wanted to try something new after hearing about what a wonderfully engaging performer Danusia is. She’d heard about me from Charles, who has seen me do the Moth and a reading at the KGB bar on East 4th Street some years ago.
To round out the evening and not jar the regular clientele too much, there was a fellow named Sean and his daughter Hannah Lee to play some actual music on guitars.
They were very nice, standard sort of Rockabilly from Sean and folk-pop from Hannah Lee. They left right after their set because an early commitment the next day.
After a short intermission where the guests drank beer, wine, and ate pies we were on.
Charlene had opened the evening, introducing everybody who was performing, but she told me after intermission it was up to me to bring Danusia on. She had mentioned we were from New York, but I got up on stage and did a bit on being a Brooklyn boy despite being born in Mexico. It went over really well.
I was able to ad-lib and riff on the Maine audience without forgetting any of the lines in my two stories.
Then I introduced the star of the show, my lovely wife Danusia. She was great as always, but because I had to run the slide show from behind the screen, I didn’t get to watch her. That was our only concession to theatrics; projecting some images Danusia had picked on a screen behind us. Mine was of an old mug shot like picture, which was apropos since I was telling a crime story.
It was a lot of fun, Danusia was wonderful as always and the crowd was pleased.
The next day we kayaked down the Osipee River with Charles at the helm, leading the Hall-Trevino expedition.
The river was low and we had to drag the kayaks over rocks for a good bit of time. I also capsized at one point when I hit a big rock that turned me sideways just in time for Danusia’s niece Kasia to slam into me (she was in an inner tube blissfully unaware she was fast approaching me because she was looking backwards) sending me into the water and filling my kayak with water. Charles came to the rescue and we were able to right the kayak and empty the water out of it. I don’t know what I’d have done it I’d been alone.
Charles also had to rescue Danusia, who was wiped out by a low hanging branch. I managed to catch the branch before I suffered the same fate.
In all Charles’ prediction of a 2 and a half hour trip was half shy of the mark, I emerged from the water behind the barn five hours after we started, and twenty minutes before anyone else. I was exhausted. It didn’t affect my surgery at all, despite all of the fuss.
Charlene and her husband John were wonderful hosts, feeding us and giving us a spare room for the three nights we were there, as well as providing some stimulating conversation.
We’re looking forward to our next trip up.