Tuesday, June 01, 2010

...and the Conversation Continues...

We don't usually travel on Memorial Day weekend. We stay home and putter around the house and yard, trying to accomplish...something...but mostly end up doing...nothing. Not so this year! Not only did we travel, but we went into New York City.

Yes, it was a bit mad, but traffic wasn't as bad as we feared it might be, and the Chinese "Free Delivery" menu we found in our hotel room looked mighty good, so we took a chance. Indeed, the delivery was as swift as promised, and the food good and rather inexpensive for New York. So, we had a chance to rest and refuel before heading off to the subway station.

First hitch. There had been an "incident" at the station we wanted to transfer at, with police on site, so the train would go no further than two more stops along the route. Now, what do we do? Well, dumb luck was with us, and we managed to board a different train with a different route, which would take us into Times Square, where we could transfer to yet another train to get to Canal Street. We didn't know it would be a country mile of fast walking to get to the new train, but get there we did, finally, and before long, we were emerging on Canal Street with our handy New York Transit route directions in hand.

Next hitch. We walked the wrong way, based on the route being wrong on the directions. Hubby refused to believe the directions could be wrong and forged ahead, and was still going to continue in that direction, until I balked, nearly at the entrance to Chinatown. "I don't care what those directions say. We are nowhere near Tribeca. I'm going back."

Minor tiff ensued, but eventually hubby did see the light and figured what did we have to lose? And sure enough, backtracking eventually brought us to Tribeca. It took another wrong turn to determine which direction we should be walking in on Hudson Street, but we were back on track quickly, though on the wrong side of the street from the venue. We were missing the opening band, and I felt sorry for that, because I don't like to be discourteous to the opening act. They do have it tough, headlining for more famous people, so I like to be polite to them.

It was when we were walking along the block to get to the crosswalk that I noticed a small, lone figure walking back and forth on the block in front of the venue. "Look, Daphne. There he is."

Or, I was reasonably certain, there he was. I don't see well at a distance, but thought I could detect longish, straight hair tucked behind the fella's ears, and the faint glow of a cigarette, and the casual chic of well-worn denim.

The light finally changed and we crossed the street. By then, the fella was quite a distance down the block, well past the main entrance, so I kept going, much to the consternation of my family. Once I was within ten feet of the fella, I called out to him. If he was indeed who I thought he was, he would acknowledge me. If he wasn't, he would probably keep going without saying a word.

"Grant!" I said.

Bingo. He turned around and exclaimed, "Hey!" a big smile lighting his face as he hurried towards me. Within a couple of feet, he lowered his head and kept approaching, and I thought, what...? Why on earth would he want to head-butt me in the chest? I mean, yes, I was wearing my Nova Mob t-shirt, and...maybe that was it. He spotted it and wanted to know the story behind it. So, I was all set to tell it, until I realized he was pointing at his head with his free hand.

My hat.

Whereupon I crowed with delight, and we hugged for a bit, before I remembered the family was standing behind me, much puzzled. Hubby had a good idea what was going on, but Daphne wasn't sure. So, I made introductions, and we stayed and chatted with him while finished his cigarette.

I showed him the Belgrade hat, and while he thought it was attractive, it wasn't his sort of style, so I'll need to make him something else out of the remainder of that yarn. (I'm thinking about an EZ Prime Rib Hat, for winter, since Grant really does seem to prefer watch-caps.) He did hold it and take a good look, and squish it in his hands just like a knitter/spinner surely would, and said it looked a lot like the hats he had seen folks wearing in Serbia. So, I do have to wonder where Jared Flood got his inspiration for the design. (It's the Quincy, for those who have come late to the party.)

He asked Daphne if she liked to knit, too, and she said no, because she doesn't. But she did like to spin at one time, and I told him so.

Very seriously, but with that twinkle in his eye, he asked her, "Are you still dizzy?"

"From what?" Daphne asked.

"Spinning!" he replied, and we all had a good laugh.

Presently, he took his leave, as it was nearly time for the show, and we still had to go in and pick up our tickets.

The opening band was just finishing up -- louder than I expected, and I had forgotten my earplugs, so I wasn't too sorry about missing their performance.

Grant hit the stage about 15 minutes later, with no introduction, so at first I thought he was just doing a sound-check. But no, once he started playing "Barbara," he wasn't stopping, so I left Keith and Daphne in the back of the room where they felt comfortable, and headed up to the front.

I was pretty sore from all the frenzied walking I had already done, and it's not the easiest thing to dance with a cane in one hand and a bottle of water tucked under one arm, but I managed to make at least a modest attempt.

Just like in Cambridge back in January, he played favorite after favorite, along with a fabulous, very emotional cover of "St. James Infirmary."

Somewhere around the middle of the show, when I had lost count of how many songs he had already played, he struck up a familiar chord progression and closed his eyes, though he did turn his head in my direction, and smiled as much as it's possible for a person to smile while singing.

"Flexible Flyer." I damn near cried. I didn't even have to ask for it. He remembered what it meant to me, and he played it for me.

Later, I asked for "She Floated Away," and he struck up immediately.

And wore my hat throughout the entire performance, and afterwards as well. It really does suit him nicely, and it makes me very happy to see that in person.

We talked a bit again after the show, but mostly just to say good night, and to take a couple of pictures. After the pictures, we hugged again, and I said, quietly, "I'm so glad I didn't have to wait another twenty years!" And I wished him safe travels, and he wished us the same, and we said good-night.

It won't be another twenty years before I see him again, either. We are friends now.

I'm test-knitting a Prime Rib Watch Cap in some of my own handspun, in a comparable weight to the Belgrade yarn, to see if I like the stitch, and decide if it would suit Grant as well as "Windschief" does. I'm thinking it will be fine for the Belgrade yarn, but...my handspun is just the right blend of greens to go with Grant's dark hair and eyes.

Bottom line? Grant might be getting two winter hats...

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