Wanting To Share Chautauqua


If there’s a place closer to heaven, I don’t know where it is. Chautauqua, with its unpressured pace, is the perfect spot to breathe deeply and take in a lecture, a concert, or a double dip chocolate ice cream in a sugar cone. Writing tonight from the Methodist House near the Amphitheater, I can hear the haunting tones of African hymns, as if I were in the audience. So many birds are chirping that my son, calling my cell, thought I was at a zoo.

Bob and I came here together last year, for an off-season jazz festival in the fall. He had no interest in the more hectic pace of the regular season. “You go for it, though,” he said, settling as he often did for vicarious enjoyment. In retrospect, his bent toward opting out was a blessing. No regrets this year about what he’s missing, and only a time or two have I caught myself picking up the phone to say, “You wouldn’t believe….”

Once was last night when the Chautauqua Symphony distributed three paper bags to each of us, with instructions to blow them up and pop them at the end of the 1812 Overture. And pop them, we did. I grabbed my phone, ready to share the ridiculously beautiful noise with Speed Dial 2. He would have loved the excitement.

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