Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Daddy-Daughter Date by Margaret Ullrich

A few weeks ago there was an article called Daddy-Daughter Date in the newspaper.
No, they weren't going all pervy.
The Winnipeg Free Press is a family paper.
No funny business.
Hey, this is Winnipeg.

The date in the article took place in Chicago.
A nice dinner and a Tony-award-winning comedy.
Shopping at the Oprah store.
No funny business.
Hey, we're talking Oprah.

Daddy-Daughter Date.
What can I say?
Been there, done that.
More or less.

The pair in the article was going for a bonding experience.
When Pop and I had our date, I was a teenager living at home.
We had more than enough bonding.
The date wasn't our idea.
We were being ordered to go out together.

The date was Ma's idea.
No funny business.
Hey, we're talking about my Ma.

One of the illusions about New Yorkers is that they fill their days going 
to plays, symphonies, operas and ballets.
Yeah, right.
Maybe some folks live like that.
The folks who live in Manhattan.
Not the bridge and tunnel crowd of New York.
Not folks who live in Queens.

One of the perks of colleges in New York is the ticket offers.
We're talking plays on Broadway, opera and ballet at Lincoln Center.
Discounts, two-fers, buy two/get one free.
Anything to get butts into the seats.
If New York had dollar stores then, they would've sold tickets there.

I was going to Pratt and had my own column in the school paper.
Shakespeare it wasn't, but I was being published every week.
I wrote about the tickets available at the student services' desk.

I picked up tickets every week, along with press releases.
They were reference material for my article.
After I wrote my piece, I just tossed them.
It was only a matter of time before I'd want to use one.

Only problem was, all the shows were in Manhattan.

Let me explain.
Ma had a terror of me going into Manhattan alone.
My choice of colleges was limited to what was on Long Island.
So I ended up at Pratt.

Pratt was in the heart of Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
A rather unpleasant area.
My first week at Pratt, the top story in the school paper was the rape, 
in broad daylight, of two nuns.
It had happened a couple of blocks from our campus.
We were being told to "Be Careful".
Okee dokee.

I really wanted to see The Nutcracker.
It was being performed at Lincoln Centre.
Ma panicked when she heard where I wanted to go.
The only way I could go to Lincoln Centre was if my Pop took me.
Pop was outnumbered.
The poor guy was going to get some culture.

We were in our bargain balcony seats at Lincoln Center.
Pop wasn't thrilled.
He was more uncomfortable than Cher's Dad was when they met at 
Lincoln Center in the movie Moonstruck.

The music began.
Pop settled down in a chair and, within minutes, was sound asleep.
Or so I thought.
He was wide awake for the belly dancing bit.
Then he was asleep again.
So much for sharing great art in Manhattan.

A few years after our date, my parents visited us in Winnipeg.
Paul and I decided to take them for a riverboat ride.
That's what passes for an experience in Winnipeg.
Lucky for Pop, Winnipeg keeps farmer's hours.
The theatre, ballet, etc. shut down in the summer.

So we were going to the Red River.
Pop wasn't thrilled at the idea, but he was outnumbered.  Again.

We were on the deck.
Pop settled down in a chair and, within minutes, was sound asleep.
Or so we thought.

Ma and I started talking about what to make for supper.
Ravioli... lasagna... ross fil forn?
Pop muttered, "Ross fil forn."
Then he was asleep again.

I'll always wonder if Pop did hear The Nutcracker.

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