Fall Colours Tour and the Opera

Life is happening faster than my posting can keep up. I have Vanlife #2 and a nice fall hike write-up waiting for a distracted me to finish. But this week, as I rehab my knee from a fall on the noted above hike, I am writing about “regular” life events. WARNING: no hiking or vanning included but a sprinkle of fall colours and a modern opera.

Several weeks ago, we marked Wednesday, October 19th on our calendar for our Annual Fall Colours and Apple Barn Tour. As it turns out, the day was perfect for our plans, clear, crisp and fall colours were near peak. A light snow had fallen on the upper peaks a few days prior and the high elevation trees were covered in white.

21 years of pictures in the same spot. I should try to locate the whole series.

John and I have been making this trek for 21 years now. We may have missed a year or it would be 22. Last year we recruited my sister, Leslie and her husband, Mike to go, we added a nice lunch to the mix and we now gave a grand tradition.

Leslie and me. Wow aren’t we both getting grey/white. When did that happen??

The colours were beautiful but, in my opinion, not quite as intense as prior years. I am attributing the lower intensity to lack of rainfall. Carver’s Apple Barn had a narrower selection of apples compared to prior years, which I also contribute to the dry conditions. We did find apples to suit everyone’s taste including Cosmic and Thomas Jefferson for John (soft and sweet) and for me, Braeburn and one whose name I forget (crisp and tart). All in all, a great day!

White peaks are unfortunately not visible in this photo.
Or in this one (unless you zoom in), but oh, those colours!
Beautiful reds and oranges! These maples are intense and dramatic…

Also, on the calendar this week, the opening of opera season. As I have mentioned before in this blog, I grew up with a distaste for opera. My father loved the opera, as did his mother and his grandfather (my great grandfather). As long as I can remember, until his passing, he listened to Texaco’s presentation of the Metropolitan Opera on Saturday afternoon. My father turned up the volume so loud, the opera would bounce off the furthest corners of the house, or at least this is the way I remember it. When I was stuck at home on Saturday afternoon, I would go to my room and close the door, convinced the shrill soprano voices would explode my eardrums and probably break the windows.

Fast forward four years ago when friends Bill and Nancy invited us to a night at the local opera. For some reason, probably because we enjoy Bill and Nancy’s company and dinner out preceded the opera, we agreed to go. We now have season tickets and standing opera dates with Bill and Nancy. Go figure! Last night was the first opera of the 2022-2023 season.

Our season tickets are with Marble City Opera, a local company specializing in modern and often first run operas. The 14 or so operas we have watched unfold over the past few years have caused me to laugh, very often to cry and always to walk away with an incredible sense of gratitude that I agreed to go to that first opera. But last night’s opera, not so much.

Dolly related opera, what can go wrong?!

I had highly anticipated this opening opera. The story is built around four Dolly Parton fans and everything I associate with Dolly is positive and good. What can possibly go wrong, right?! The answer is everything.

Last night opera’s set.

The opera had a dark story line. Briefly summarized, the four fans were waiting in line to meet Dolly. In the first act, each fan tells the audience how Dolly is going to change their life. In the second act, the fans are summoned “behind the curtain” for the meeting, and return to the stage disappointed, demoralized, their dreams in shambles. On top of this, add an uncomfortable chair at the Old City Performing Arts Center and a male soprano voice that made my ears hurt and suddenly I was back in my youth and Saturdays at the Met but with nowhere to hide. Note: I am not an opera expert or critic so I can only judge by what I like and don’t like. The rest of my group had a similar reaction.

The best I can guess is the opera librettist must have had a bad experience meeting Dolly, or possibly another singer or actor and used the experience to write this opera. The fact that it was only an hour in length was a gift. That said, “Heartbreak Express” is the only performance by Marble City Opera that I have seen in four years that has disappointed me. So, I plan hang tight to my recent love affair with modern opera (it had been so rewarding) and look ahead to the next.

Two of the opera singers in the evening performance and Kathryn Frady (center), founder of Marble City Opera singing “Jolene”. This is as close as we got to what felt anything like Dolly.

Moving back to Tuesday and another day with this bundle of blonde curls and blue eyes. We are so lucky. She was in a good mood, giggling, racing through the house and making faces at herself in a mirror we keep on the floor for this very reason. We had her dad too, a break for the mother of our little miss, who was having a rough day. Yes, we will be grandparents x 2 in May!

A brief moment of almost stillness.

A little story about the bright bear that our little one is holding (above). When I first started thinking about stuffed toys, I thought I would try to knit something for her. Fun idea but here is the problem, I don’t knit. I did learn to knit some 40 ago but I don’t really want to pick up knitting now so I decided to enlist my sister Leslie, who is a big knitter.

I wasn’t exactly forth coming that I really didn’t want to knit but got her looking for an easy pattern and yarn. Once down that path, she was hooked. Not only did she knit the bear, she is now knitting a purple elephant to go with the bear. I am thinking next, a yellow giraffe. Who knows how big this zoo might grow?!😁

With the ups of last week, we had an undercurrent of downs (aside from the opera). A week ago, the son of one of our neighbors (lives in his parents’ basement) fell into our doorbell. After some conversation and assessment of his condition, I called 911 and his parents, who were vacationing at the lake. He is doing okay now but five days later his father went to the hospital with stroke symptoms. A day later, my older sister was taken to the hospital with severe respiratory issues. All are out of the hospital now and doing ok but I am ready to put October in the rear-view mirror.

A Calla Lily that broke away from the main plant. The plant was a gift from our neighbors for helping their son. I like the simple, clean look of one bloom in water.

So, that’s “regular life” for this week. We have lots going on next week including vanlife. Stay tuned…

As a note, I am turning off the “like” section of this blog. I have a tiny audience and I am ok with that. I am happy to have you here. Please don’t stop visiting and your comments are appreciated. My problem is with the folks who stumble across the blog via WordPress and “like” with the intent of advertising their business or very odd self (at least my definition of such). Since WordPress does not give me the option to delete these folks as do other forms of social media, I am just deleting the option. I plan to change site hosts in the future and upgrade my blog template but I am still doing research so the change will probably not happen this year. Anyway, thanks for reading!

This entry was posted in About Last Week, Fall, Family, Friends, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Life, Opera, Outside, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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