Music to an old Jewish man’s ears:
“Dad. You wanna go for a walk with me?”
There is this exquisite climactic sequence at the end of the First Act of Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George. (1984 – Book by James Lapine.)
Backed by the show’s stirring title song, artist Georges Seurat takes charge of the “visitors” in the park, organizing them to duplicate the tableau of his iconic painting.
Seurat arranges things exactly the way he wants them. He moves people around. He gives characters actions. He mows in the lawn in the park.
Okay, I made that one up. The point is, to create an idyllic reproduction of that sunlit excursion. And… just when he thinks he has things “just right”, at the last moment, Seurat races into the human replica of his painting, and removes a young girl’s jarring – to him – pair of spectacles.
Now it’s perfect.
(And then he paints it in dots.)
Anna and Dad, strolling casually down Main Street Santa Monica, a sleeping Baby Golda “Snugglied” bondingly to her chest. With some spare change jingling in our pockets, we stop and shop along the way. I get coffee. (I don’t actually needcoffee but I want the walk to last longer.) Anna picks up an infant birthday gift at the local baby emporium.
Then I decide to buy sunglasses.
I already hadsunglasses. But owing to careless misuse, which included repeatedly sitting on them, they were irreparably lopsided. Set unevenly over my eyeballs, people could not tell if the problem was the sunglasses or my face.
Were my sunglasses broken? Or had I recently had a stroke?
Anyway, we went in to buy sunglasses.
Two things to remember:
I am an extremely fast shopper. And Anna is a consummate… knower about fashion.
Working together, we move swiftly but certainly. (Like the painter in “George”, deftly making his considered adjustments.) Our exercise’s objective:
The right sunglasses for Dad.
Whose criteria include…
The style’s suitability to the contours of my face.
The aesthetically appealing shape of the circles.
The comfortable fit on the bridge of my nose.
The sunglasses’ overall weight.
The degree of darkness of the green part.
Quickly rejecting numerous options, I check the provided mirror, evaluating the latest selection.
“I’ll take these,” I announce.
The Sunglass Saleslady nods, clearly impressed by our speed and scrupulous selectivity.
And just as she’s about to ring me up, Anna professionally intercedes.
“Do you have these in brown?”
We make the last-second adjustment.
Now they’re perfect.
And there you have it.
A memorable interlude, worthy of Sondheim.
But instead of dots,
It’s buying protective eyewear with Anna, your beloved, precious granddaughter, sleepily along for the ride.