Today was set aside for an adventure. We hopped on a ferry and headed for the Opera House on what turned out to be a perfect summers day in Australia.
In my never ending quest for wrinkled skin, and because I am a bit of a glutton for punishment, I somehow neglected yet again to put on any sunscreen before leaving the house. I did however remember to wear my polarized sunglasses all day long so that now I look like a parody of a raccoon. Work will be awesome tomorrow, nobody is going to take me seriously.
The ferry dropped us off at Circular Quay and the halflings had to be physically restrained from running ahead and getting lost in the throng of people. I’m not sure really what they were expecting of the day, but we were on our way to see Carols at the House performed by a five hundred strong choir and the Sydney Philharmonia Orchestra.
So, it wasn’t exactly the next installment of Star Wars or Harry Potter. In truth, we may have oversold the event a little. There’s no shame in that though. As a parent, you have to get buy-in from your children up front or they’ll complain the entire day. Soup to nuts.
This can shave slivers off your soul.
We had a smidgen of time to kill so we did lunch at the Opera Kitchen which, aside from the departure from port of the Carnival Legend and the Pacific Eden, has an unobstructed and quite spectacular view of the Sydney Harbor Bridge. We ate lunch and we watched the comings and goings of cruise liners, ferries and private boats of all sizes. We also spent some time shooing away some pretty tame and rather cheeky seagulls, who I imagine haven’t eaten a crab or small fish their entire lives – instead spending their time snatching fried food off of unsuspecting restaurant patrons’ plates (and forks).
Eventually our concert was about to begin and we shuffled into the Concert Hall where, I can tell you honestly, there are literally no bad seats. There were brilliant views from every vantage point. Our seats were top shelf. I could easily have tossed a malteser into a French Horn on the stage. Although I’m sure to do so, would have been frowned upon.
The little guy began to ask when ‘half time’ would be from about fifteen minutes in. Not even the five second lick of Darth Vader’s theme from Star Wars (on the tuba) was enough to keep him fully qengaged. In the end I resorted to feeding him a constant stream of maltesers to keep him from jumping up on his chair and making demands of the conductor to wrap things up so we could all leave.
He scoffed these chocolate appeasements from me with a fair amount of resentment and a little shame at himself for being so easily bought.
At intermission, I had a direction talk with him and he nodded solemnly when I laid out what his day would begin to look like if he acted up in the hall again. From then on he settled down, finally accepting my reality. The second half went on without so much as a poorly timed sniff from him. I’m going to put this squarely in the win column for Dad. I have to confess that I don’t win all the time, but for now I’m in the lead.
The highlight of the day for me though, by a country mile, was the Christmas choir rendition of Amazing Grace. They left the stage and spread out around the house, the house lights we’re dimmed to a deep blue as the choir began to sing A capella. It was haunting and moving and struck a deep chord with me.
Amazing Grace was my father’s favorite hymn and I think he would have loved this particular performance.