Tuesday, August 18, 2009

State Memories Project: New York

This is probably going to be a “you had to be there” event, but whatever. It was a night that I laughed until I hurt, and I don’t see how that can be beat.

Chamber Singers tour stopped in Buffalo in 1992 a few days after we were in Connecticut. We stayed with host families, and after our performance in a church that evening, we started the customary dance of people who didn’t know us trying to find us by asking around. Much to my surprise, a nice woman, 60 or so, walked right up to me. “Are you TRP?” I said I was, and asked her how she knew.

“Well, first I found Josh, who will also be staying with us tonight. Somebody told me to look for a football players, so that’s how I found him [Josh was quite buff]. When I asked him how I’d find you, he said to look for a stick with arms and legs, and that brought me right to you!” This was the first of many heavy laughs that night.

Our host family, the Schlifkes, took us out for pizza, beer, and wings. Buffalo, bay-bee! When we walked into the place, we were pleasantly surprised to find another set of Kenyon men, Neil, Bryon, and my good friend MCMC [see Indiana]. We sat with them and talked all night long.

I remember asking Mr. Schlifke about what was up with the Buffalo Bills, who had recently dropped their second Super Bowl. He responded defensively. MCMC and I, both from Denver, stated that we knew Super Bowl losses well. “In fact,” MCMC said, “Denver has lost more Super Bowls than any other team.”

“No, MCMC," I responded. "The Vikings have lost four as well. Please do your research.”

“I was not aware of the Minnesota issue!”

Yeah, it’s not as funny here.

Later, I started a very, very long story, and when I got to the end of it, I could not remember my host family’s name. So I wound up substituting a lyric from a Brahms song we were doing: “[wrapping up long story]…So, that’s how I became an English major, Mrs….Schaffe in mir Gott ein rein herz…”

Trust me, it was really hilarious. And, like the Connecticut stop a few days earlier, it was a welcome and enjoyable diversion from the daily grind of performances. I appreciated the Schlifkes’ sense of humor, the pizza, and the friends.

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