Saturday morning my 9 year old niece arrived for a weekend visit. She lives in Stephens, Arkansas, population about 1700 or so, so a trip to the city offers her a chance to see and do things she cannot do in her small town back home.
Although my wife had purchased a gingerbread home for decoration (for the rather low sum of 6 dollars at Costco), my niece instead headed into our garage and liberated some of the abundant score of kites purchased for a dollar I keep on hand there. After an unsuccessful effort to assemble a dragonfly kite, she and my wife got a Delta wing kite to come together. We soon headed on a walk-the-dog-and-fly-a-kite expedition to Glendover Park.
Yesterday the weather cooperated with fun as if in secret conspiracy. The temperature hit 75 degrees, and the wind was brisk but very warm. From almost the moment my niece held the kite aloft, it launched in the air, and briskly played high in no time. She had such a good time with that kite! I found myself walking Teddy around the pond while the kite flew.
We returned home, and put on semi-formal clothes. We had tickets to see The Nutcracker in Fort Worth. My niece looked quite in the holiday mood in her green velvet dress with red stockings. My wife helped her brush her hair, and we were off.
Fort Worth is about an hour and ten minutes from us, but road construction delayed us. At one point, a man in a huge pickup truck sped up to keep me from entering into an open lane after my lane ended, so that he could "honk" at me as I made the transition. In another time, I would have been outraged and engaged. But all in all, he was another brick in the wall.
The Bass Performance Center is so very well done. It's got boxes and balconies and cool theater-like viewing spaces, although it is a modern building. We had seats in Row Y--on the main section, but not fashionably expensive. I rather longed, though, to be in the balcony five stories up. It just looked so fun to be up there viewing the action as if from a helicopter.
I have been to modern dance performances, but this was my first live ballet. I hope you'll forgive me, therefore, if I do not purport to offer any critique. I'll only say that the costumes were rich, the action perpetual, and my niece spent the first half of the performance on the edge of her seat taking it all in. When snowflakes fell among the audience just prior to intermission, she was enthralled, and ran to seize one (which proved to be a soap bubble) the moment the interlude arrived.
When we went into the hallway at intermission, she did not descend the stairs so much as dance her way down them. Only during the second half, when the action involved this curious woman called a Sugar Plum Fairy engaged in some kind of swooning romantic interlude with this malleable shapeshifting Prince, did her attention flag. Soon, though, Clara (who, if you ask me, is a much more jaunty soul than that rather uppity Sugar Plum Fairy--although, given a choice, I preferred most of all the very limber Arabic dance woman) was hugging her pecan-opener, while another, walnut-opener-sized guy gave a salute, and we were on our way.
We had omitted lunch due to the delay in getting to Fort Worth, so we went to a Mexican restaurant with Cabo in the name for lunch/dinner, where my wife had chicken fajitas, my niece a taco plate, and I had a shrimp diablo, with the devil sauce served on the side.
We then drove back to Allen, not neglecting the stop at Braum's to buy my niece a scoop of egg nog ice cream.
We all then settled in to watch a movie about a hotel-denizen named Eloise, while my wife and niece decorated the gingerbread house, but I cannot vouch for any of the action, because I fell asleep at 7 p.m., and did not awake until dawn, when I switched from sofa to bed, and slept until morning.