Friday, July 28, 2006

New Friends

July 28

A funny thing happened when all my friends moved away from Fairhope last month. New ones started moving in.

Not necessarily moving into Fairhope, although there are throngs moving in every day, but nudging themselves into my line of vision and into my life. I'll meet a person at a party and ask them to lunch, like my new friend Edith, or I'll find myself invited to dinner with someone who has read the blog. Then an old friend lends me the book Julie and Julia, which is about cooking and writing a blog -- and I decide I must have her and her husband over again as soon as I can. In my mind I start planning a party, and the invitation list is almost all new people, who don't know each other. Life hands you a gift. And you keep on writing a blog.

This week included a lunch with Edith, our first time in a one-on-one situation, and a nice warm talk that included plans for where to I might move when I leave Fairhope in ten years, and should we either or both audition for the role of Gertrude if Theatre 98 does Hamlet as rumored next season. Edith was a dancer, one of the first graduates of the School of Performing Arts in New York City, and in her class were Edward Villella (and she refers to him as Eddie!) and Arthur Mitchell. She went on to be a choreographer and theatre director. I wish she'd been around when I was producing here, with my Equity company called Jubilee Fish Theatre. We had a lot of laughs and planned to meet and eat again on a regular basis.

Yesterday I had an email from someone who had read the blog and I joined him and a friend for dinner at Mateer's, the classy "martini bar" and restaurant that has been through several incarnations since I moved back in 1988. When I grew up the building had been the residence and studio of Margaret Biggar and Elise Hooker, who taught silvercraft, but by the time I came back to town it had been several other things including a home for the local radio station. Then it was bought by Jim and Lisa Fields, who turned it into an intimate, romantic restaurant featuring English food and imported beers called the Royal Oak. Yes, you read that right, English food. Jim was English and it was a natural. A happy-go-lucky type, he tended bar and told great stories, and Lisa and he worked the place into a big local success. Then it needed a lift, so they renamed it and changed the menu along with the decor. Now it resembled an upscale "fine dining" establishment with food to match and live jazz once a week.

Last night it seemed Mateer's is being billed as a martini bar, as I said, with little hideaway rooms with walls painted black, a pianist every night, and a crowd of younger, fun-loving (and I assume martini-loving) customers. Very appropriate to the new Fairhope, and deservedly popular.

And I am looking at my own life changing. If I could just find that diet that promises you can lose 30 years in 30 days. I'll let you know if I find it.

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