A few years ago I inexplicably had the TV on while I was rustling up some dinner.
For some reason the report of the following little snippet of life caught my attention:
The actor Jeff Daniels (he of "Dumb and Dumber" and "Fly Away Home" fame) had been dining in a restaurant alone after attending to some out-of -town business.
Also dining in the same restaurant were three girls in prom dresses.
They spotted Mr. Daniel's, and asked for an autograph.
He cheerfully signed for the girls, and then began chatting with them.
It turned out the girls were heading to their Senior Proms, without escorts. No one had asked them out, so they had decided to just go to the prom together, as friends.
(This is the part where Jeff Daniels got me as a fan for life...)
Mr. Daniel promptly asked the girls if HE could escort them to their prom, and be their date for the evening.
HOW SWEET IS THAT????
There were home video film clips of Mr. Daniels and the three young ladies sweeping down the side walk, arm in arm, and going into the building along with other tuxedo clad young men and their ball gowned garbed dates.
Reportedly Mr. Daniels remained with the girls throughout the evening, dancing with each of them and generally making the "wall flowers" into the belles of the ball.
I'm just a sucker for acts of kindness.
Mr. Daniels has appeared in a lot of movies, some of which I have seen, and some of which I have not. After the prom story I googled Mr. Daniels. He's been married since 1979 to his high school sweetheart, has three kids, and lives in Michigan, where his wife was raised.
Oh, so NOT southern California Hollywood type.
I also learned at that time that he sang. There was a site with clips of him singing songs he had written.
They were pretty funny, and actually his voice was pretty good.
Which brings me to our January's Friday Night Date Night.
The local paper always has a section on Thursday's which discusses movies, plays, museums, restaurants and "diversions". I always look through it, mark up what I think would be fun to do, and then 95% of the time, don't do it.
This is because 95% of the time, it is close to an hour long drive to get to all this fun stuff.
And by the time Friday night rolls around, Bernie has already zipped around the country enough that staying home is a real draw. I'm a big fan of home and hearth, and early to bed myself, so we are most companionable about this option.
Well, last Thursday I barely glanced at the Entertainment section. Too cold, too tired to even think about going out.
Friday morning I was gathering up the newspapers when I took a second glance at the cover picture.
It was of a scraggly looking blond guy in a brown felt hat.
Under the picture it said "Jeff Daniels to sing at the Mucky Duck."
Jeff Daniels? HERE??? TONIGHT???
I was already racing for the door for an appointment, but I mentioned that Jeff was going to be singing tonight at the Mucky Duck (an Irish pub downtown, which recently has become NON-SMOKING, hallelujah...I'd never been due to smoke, but had heard a lot about it.)
Bernie of course said:
Jeff Daniels...you mean the guy in Dumb and Dumber, SINGING???
The look on Bernie's face was very interesting. Like the look you would give to a crazy woman announcing the Pope polkas during Mass.
He warily said he would consider it.
I called for tickets.
I would need to drive downtown to purchase them, or just come and hope for standing room only. There would be a7:30 and a 10:30 show.
Naturally I didn't drive downtown to get tickets. Decided to just to be indecisive the rest of the day, and see where "we" were at by evening.
"We" were pretty bogged down by five o'clock.
"We" both were sorely tempted to stay home by the fire. Cornbread sounded good. Maybe some kind of chili. Maybe go out to eat....maybe just hit the sack early, it had been a VERY long week for Bernie.
But somehow, from deep inside, "we" both had a spark of life left in us.
The spark that said "get up and go...have some fun...you aren't dead yet!"
So we threw on jackets and drove downtown.
We found a parking place right across the street from the front of the pub!
Rock Star parking!
The show was sold out.
We decided to wait, just in case there was a no-show.
I sat out front next to the ticket taker, while Bernie chatted with the owner.
A few minutes before the show was to start the owner decided we could stand inside by the door for the show.
"You two look like you would fit right in!" the ticket taker said.
And we did.
After ordering a basket of fish and chips, and a pint for us at the bar, Bernie headed to the boy's room, where he greeted Jeff himself.
A few moment later Jeff was on stage, singing great songs that those of us who are in our 50's, married for years and years to our spouses, and have raised kids and loved our hometowns can totally identify with.
We laughed, we enjoyed.
It was great to be out on a Friday night, at a 7:30 show with other middle aged folks like us.
After it was over, we were still hungry.
So we went out to IHOP.
International House of Pancakes.
And remembered back when the syrup pitchers there used to have metal tops.
It doesn't seem all that long ago.
(If Jeff Daniels ever comes to your area, be sure to catch his act. Here's a Youtube clip of him singing. And if you haven't seen him in the sweet film "Because of Winn-Dixie", be sure to view it too.)