Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Quick Trip To Ashland: The Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Doorbell. Then "Telegram." Dolly-girl opened up, tipped the kid, and took the yellow envelope. "Javier. We're on for the weekend. He booked us into the Blue Moon--that OK with you Jack?". It was. Dolly-girl and me like to take in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Dolly-girl likes The Bard--got interested when she was at finishing school--so at least once a year, we pack up the roadster and head south from Stumptown to see what there is to see on the stage. Mostly they put on the old ones, but every once in a while they come up with something the guy just wrote. I ask Dolly-girl about whosis, like how come I never hear him interviewed on the Zenith, but she just laughs at me. I told her he sure isn't from our side of the river, I know that from the words he uses. That got me an "Are you serious" though the wave. Who knows, but I know that I never learned about any guy named Bard when I was studying up for my private ticket. And I don't know what this festival has to do with fishing tackle.

Javier Boleyn is a pal-o-mine of Dolly-girl's from back before I knew her. They were in the same business back then and met learning to be bookies. Good thing I met her. You just can't tell where making book is going to land you. Javier is still in the business after all these years, but he lives in Frisco now. Claims to like the fog. Even though there's been big advances in what some call technology, Javier is old-fashioned about some things--telegrams, for instance--instead of just picking up the blower. Go figure. Anyway, he's an all-the-worlds-a-stage sort of guy so he meets up with us down south, or up north if you're looking at the world from where he sets his brake.

The day broke, we packed the roadster, and headed out. Kitty was keeping an eye on our joint for us in case someone I'd had my eye on decided to pay a visit while we weren't looking. We meandered south, stopped for an hour where I could dial a blower and talk with some people that needed talking with, and ended up at the air field just in time to see Javier's clipper touch down. He stepped out, turned and waved to the stewardess, and walked across the tarmac, valise in hand. Dolly-girl ran to meet him (she's like a kid at Christmas when it's time to start trading barbs about this guy Bard with Javier). They started doing their catching up on what needed caught up on while I pulled the roadster around. We loaded Javier's trunk and headed to the Blue Moon, one of those what you used to call Tourist Houses but now people call them beeandbees for some reason. Anyway, this one's a nice place to stay. It's got art on the walls and there's always some sort of snack. Dolly-girl tells me it's fresh baked pastries. I guess. Dean--he's in charge--even gives you birdseed in the morning. You don't get a whaddaya-want, you take-what-comes-out-the-door, but you don't have to pay or leave him a tip or nothing. Go figure.

Dean told us birdseed would be on the table at nine sharp but that we'd be able to get a couple cuppas earlier than that and it's a good thing because if Dolly-girl doesn't get her blondie by punch-in time, she's looking for my heater and a chance to light a fire under someone's schedule. Not many things set her off, but waiting for joe to show is one of them.

Javier and Dolly-girl picked some seats that left me at the end with my back to the wall. She knows what I like in a seat: if trouble's joining us for a sit-down, I want to be the one who see it set its brake and walk in the door. Everybody else staying at the Blue Moon showed up too and I listened to people chewing the fat while they waited for the hash slinger to load up the feedbags. Dean started bringing plates out and telling us what was on them.

I'll tell you, this was no birdseed joint like me and Dolly-girl go to, you know, the places with your-call cackleberries--wrecked, flopped, Adam and Eve on a raft--and Noah's boy in the alley. No, Dean said we were getting a fritater, but the murphies looked baked to me. He said the fritater was eh-talian (he pronounced it like Dolly-girl does) but I'm telling you, Mama D'Mestiere never put nothing that looked like this in our feedbags, so I'm guessing it's one of those things like Chef Boyardee makes. It looked real pretty and Dolly-girl and Javier gave it the eyeball and dug in.

It was good alright and pretty soon 16 jaws quit jawing and started doing the up-and-down, tending to the business they were made for. Dean said everything was fresh from the garden, but I didn't hear any cackles, so I'm guessing if I'd said anything Dolly-girl would have shot me a "Suspend reality, Jack" through the wave so I kept my yap lined up on the food. I could taste tomatoes and basil and oregano and Parma's wax on the top and I'll take Dean's word for it having hen fruit. Speaking of Eve's goof, there was a big plate of it and it went along like a Sunday drive with the fritater.

We had some time to kill before we had to load the roadster and head north, so we saddled up shank's mare and headed into town for a look see. Ashland ain't no Stumptown in my book. There were people learning a goofy dance near the place where we'd seen Henry VIII, one of those stories by the Bard guy, the night before. It was a good enough yarn about this Henry guy (never did get the vee-eye-eye-eye part) who had a perfectly good chiquita banana, but decided he wanted a different one from a newer bunch so he dumped her and took up with the new one. Nothing new in that story, at least not around Stumptown. Maybe Ashland is different.

Yeah, well it is different. One of the watering holes claims to specialize in drinking chocolate. That would get you some raised eyebrows on our side of the river, I'll tell you. We're more of a shot-and-beer town than a kiss-and- marshmallow place. Dolly-girl and Javier were talking the odds of this joint lasting. They decided: not good.

Javier spied a bookie joint and Dolly-girl's greenies lit up. "I'd like to lay off a little in this town before we hit the road, let's see if they got a couple numbers I've been wanting." They had a lot, but not the horse she was looking to bet, I guess. She finally found some cards to play and that put her teeth in front of her lips. Something about independence. I didn't catch everything she and Javier were yapping about.

I saw this one but decided against it

Anyway, it was time for us to head back to Stumptown; Javier was staying on. I think he was trying to meet that guy Bard. Maybe get his autograph, who knows. If you ask me, he should take him shopping, update his clothes, follow? Then, teach the guy how to write like people talk. He'll never pass what they call the test of time if he can't do that much...

Illustration credit Martin Droeshout


Karen said...

Glad your annual trip was another success.

Newsman said...

Gads! As usual, your narrative is so enthralling!
But, help me -- could you explain the term beeanbees, or beeandlees?
And was there ever any recognition of Bacon, the real author behind the Bard facade?