Last night, between innings and commercials, I watched "Great Performances: Carnegie Hall Opening Night" on Public Television. Soprano Renee Fleming sang Richard Strauss's last four songs ... it was beautiful.
But what really struck me was that this woman looked like an older, heftier version of my old friend Staci (you know, the childhood beauty contest winner I wrote about a while back in Plaquemaniacs and Pagentry).
This was a very Mom-D-like observation, and I am not a little ashamed of it. See, when my mom and grandmother (Mom-D) went to the National Galley of Art on a Washington, D.C., vacation, they spent a lot of time in the Portrait Gallery. Rather than admire the artwork and the historical significance of what she was seeing, Mom-D was fixated on remembering old relatives. She'd look at a portrait of John Adams or Martin Van Buren and say, "You know, that looks like old Uncle Ebenezer ... Chickie's second cousin. You know Chickie ... She was a Callegan before she married Joe-Bob. You don't remember Joe-Bob? He was Winky's brother. You remember Joe-Bob."
My poor mom. This was apparently par for the course for the entire portrait gallery. Everyone looked like someone, as far as my beloved grandmother was concerned. And everyone was related to someone else that, if you followed the circuitous family line long enough, you'd reach someone that my mom actually knew, so she could say, "Oh, yes," and they could move on to the next portrait.
So there I was last night, watching this wonderful soprano performing beautiful Strauss songs at Carnegie Hall, and my foremost thought was, "That's Staci. Shave off a few pounds, put her in a cute office outfit, and sit her behind a desk at a CPA firm, and you've got Staci."
Oh, every now and then they'd show her at an angle where she was the spitting image of Mrs. Betty (you know Betty, Staci's mama ... Carolyn's big sister ... she was a Schafer before she married Orney ... ).
Did I spell Schafer right? Shafer? Schaffer?
I'd better get to work. Really.