One of the people I spoke to when I first received my diagnosis was my (honorary) Uncle Ivan, who lives in a rural New Jersey exurb of NYC. He lost his beautiful, vibrant wife, Lisbeth (my stepdad's cousin), to ovarian cancer and has responded (as anyone who knows him might have predicted) in the years since by ratcheting up the intensity of his (already powerful) commitment to life, to joy, to revelry of the deepest kind (the kind that touches reverence).
(Whatever small sense of restraint I might have possessed around parentheticals has evaporated. But parentheses are pretty cheap and harmless, as indulgences go.)
Once I'd finished delivering my tale of woe to Ivan, I finally asked him how he was, what he'd been up to. He said he'd just seen some Shakespeare the night before. "Twelfth Night?" I asked. "Was it Twelfth Night?" No, it was Much Ado About Nothing at the Public, but he was planning to see Twelfth Night before it closed. Oh, was I jealous. I had missed Mark Rylance's Olivia ten years before, and I would miss it again, alas!
"Well, come on out, then."
"Get a plane ticket, tell me the dates. I'll take care of the rest."
So I did - after head measuring, before PET scanning - and he did. And Meg and Mike, my sister and brother-in-law, drove up from Maryland for what turned out to be an unutterably magical weekend with Ivan and his lovely gal, Lucette. (We even fit in lunch with Pete's and my dear friend Shelley, who burns as bright as anyone in NY.) I give you pictures instead of meager words:
And I give you a taste of Mark Rylance's alluring strangeness. Truly, if you ever get a chance to see him onstage in anything at all, do jump.
A very merry Christmas to you and yours!
p.s. Biggie Smalls, the most adorable deaf dachshund pup ever to ignore my instruction, also sends her enthusiastic Christmas greetings.