A Love Cursed

Out of tragedy is born love.  And out of that love arises another tragedy. . .and a bit of hope.  Come discover the story of the Tin Woodsman of Oz before he became the Tin Woodsman in the Strangemen Theatre Company’s production of The Woodsman by James Ortiz with music by Edward W. Hardy and lyrics by Claire Karpen.  It is currently playing at the Blue Barn Theatre.

The hardest thing about writing an article is coming up with a good conclusion.  This time, it’s a piece of cake.  Go see this show.

OK, now let’s get to that analytical stuff.

I knew I was going to see something different when I saw this show, but what I didn’t know was just how good it was going to be.  Ortiz has written a sensational tale about the pre-metal life of the Tin Woodsman.  It’s sweet.  It’s moving.  It’s even a little spooky at times and you’ll likely shed a tear or two before it’s all through.  For the purists, the transformation to the Tin Woodsman is very faithful to L Frank Baum’s description from the original Oz novels.  For those thinking of bringing kids, it means it’s a little grim, but not overly violent.

Ortiz draws from a wide variety of performance styles such as straight dialogue, pantomime, puppetry, and musical.  Outside of a prologue, a song, and a rare word here and there, this show is done with no dialogue and I think that’s where its real power lies.  The actors have to tell a highly nuanced tale with naught but facial expressions, body language, and little expostulations of sound.  The result is a production that ranks as one of my favorite shows of the season.

James Ortiz and Claire Karpen co-direct this singular tale and their control and execution of the story is like watching a master painter create a masterpiece from scratch.  Finding beats in dialogue is tricky enough, but finding beats without the spoken word is another beast all together and the two directors expertly strike each and every one without effort.  Under their coaching, the performers “tell” this story with crystal clear expressions and body language that let me “read” this story just as easily as I read novels.  Their direction combined with movement direction from William Gallacher creates a story that really invokes all of your senses.  You can almost smell the campfire, hear the pounding of a panicked heart, and feel the texture of a warm hand on a body that no longer has sensation.

The ensemble is a critical part of this production as they literally become the world.  They are the trees of the forest.  Their whistles are the songs of birds.  Their snaps are the pop of a fire.  Their slaps are the blows of an ax.  They also play a variety of supporting parts and I was especially impressed by the work of Barry Carman and Stephanie Jacobson as Pa and Ma Chopper as they tell an excellent story about their courtship and their life together complete with posture changes to signify their aging.  I was also floored by the work of Michael Burns, Caulene Hudson, and Be Louis with their puppetry of the Wicked Witch of the East.  Their skilled manipulations made the Witch seem like an otherworldly force of nature and a truly vile villain.

The beauty of Anna Jordan’s performance as Nimmee made me want to weep.  She has an absolutely phenomenal physicality that makes for great pantomime.  You can feel and see the fear in her tense body whenever the Witch is around.  Her selling of the routine physical abuse dealt to her by the Witch is spot on.  The slow opening of her heart to Nick Chopper is wondrous to behold.  And a bit where she and Nick try to subtly cozy up to each other by a fire is sweet and funny.

Matthew Olsen’s portrayal of Nick Chopper (the flesh and blood version of the Tin Woodsman) is equally powerful.  His love for his family is palpable and it was a joy watching his childish antics as he grew up especially as he learns to fight from his father and properly wield an ax.  His courage is inspiring as he battles a forest monster to protect Nimmee.  And his anguish is haunting as he slowly loses his human nature.

Never before have I seen a show where light was so crucial to its telling and Jamie Roderick’s work is of superior quality.  His lighting is so atmospheric as he takes you to the depths of a pitch black forest with just a wisp of sunlight peeking through to the magical charges of Nick Chopper’s amulet to the dankness of the Witch’s lair.  Jenny Pool’s costumes had a nice old fashioned flair of a long forgotten time.  The set was pretty much bare bones though I thought the tree branches hanging about the theatre and the old fashioned lights set above the stage (and a bit out into the seating area) was a very nice touch.  And the violin score provided by Samantha Perkins was heavenly especially with the haunting song of the Tin Woodsman at the end.

This is storytelling at its finest.  It’s an achingly beautiful and well told love story guaranteed to melt the coldest of hearts.  At the risk of repeating myself, go see this show.

The Woodsman plays at the Blue Barn Theatre through June 16.  Showtimes are Thurs-Sat at 7:30pm and Sundays at 6pm.  On June 9, there will be an additional 2pm matinee and Jun 16 will have only a 2pm matinee.  Tickets are $35 ($30 for seniors) and can be obtained at www.bluebarn.org or by calling at 402-345-1576.  The Blue Barn Theatre is located at 1106 S 10th St in Omaha, NE.

It Slays

When she discovers a Dungeons & Dragons module written by her late sister, Tilly, Agnes Smith decides to play through the game in the hopes that it will help her understand the little sister that she never really knew.  This is She Kills Monsters by Qui Nguyen and currently playing at the Omaha Community Playhouse.

Nguyen’s script is a refreshing new take on the old idea of a character seeking to come to terms with the loss of a loved one.  The use of a game like D&D is quite inspired as it is a game where a person could easily infuse her or his essence into it and be his or her true self.  Most of the game moments are played up, quite well, for comedy, but a few dramatic revelations are made which then skillfully and smoothly connect with the real world and make Agnes’ growing understanding of her sister quite believable.

Beth Thompson provides a pretty effective piece of direction to this production. Her staging is quite nice making use of the entire stage as well as the aisles of the Howard Drew Theatre.  She demonstrates a thorough understanding of the script by playing up the comedic moments for all they are worth, but knows when to get serious with the more dramatic moments of the story.  The acting of her performers is quite capable with a pair of stirring performances in the form of her two leading characters.

I think this play is one of the friendliest to character actors I’ve ever seen as it provides a lot of fun characters for a performer to sink his or her teeth into.  Some of the night’s most rib-tickling performances come from Kevin Gosford who had the crowd guffawing with his take on Orcus, a lazy and retired overlord of the underworld who’d rather watch TV than take souls and fight heroes; Carrie Beth Stickrod who provides laugh out loud moments as a foul mouthed, ineffective guidance counselor and a malevolent fairy guarding the five headed dragon, Tiamatt; and Will Rodgers as the hapless Steve who routinely gets brutalized in the world of D&D and pushed around by Ms Stickrod’s guidance counselor in the real world.

But this play does rest on the shoulders of the two actors playing Tilly and Agnes and Chloe Irwin and Catie Zaleski are more than up to the task of carrying that burden.  The two performers have a symbiotic chemistry with each other and truly feel like real sisters.

Ms Irwin dominates the show with a compelling performance as Tilly.  Indeed, she has a poise, presence, and naturalness to her acting that many experienced veterans would envy.  She definitely nails the essence of the little sister by being a constant pain to Agnes and even peppering her with the insults one would expect from a younger sibling.  It is clear that D&D is the only place where she ever felt free as her alter-ego of Tillious is brave and confident and is able to indulge in real life fantasies or deal with the difficulties of growing up.  Some of her best moments come when Tilly drops the façade of Tillious to be completely open and honest with Agnes about herself and their relationship.

Catie Zaleski is rock solid as Agnes.  She expertly presents an ordinary person who discovers life as she really learns about her sister through the playing of her module.  Her transformation from a disinterested player to a full blown participant is played out well as she slowly peels off the layers of her resistance to the game and, symbolically, her sister.  It’s also quite humorous how heavily she gets into the game as it is implied she is playing out both sides of the conversation with her sister which makes some of the insults she receives such as having her avatar be called Agnes the Asshatted even funnier.

Ms Zaleski handles the comedy of the piece quite well, especially as she gets raked over the coals in the early playing of the game.  But she also handles the drama equally well as she discovers some of her sister’s secrets and how that begins to affect her real life.

Shannon Smay has composed an awesome score for this show with ominous music well suited for a playing of D&D.  Christopher Dills’ set brilliantly merges the messy bedroom of Tilly (further enhanced by the props of Darin Kuehler and Carrie Velez) with the guidance counselor’s office and a spiral staircase at center stage is a nice touch for introducing characters.  Darren Golden’s lights enhance the piece with atmospheric lighting for bright forests and deep, dank caves and other locales in New Landia.  John Giblilsco provides some A level sounds and Amy Elizabeth Schweid provides some amusing fight choreography for the big battle sequences.  But she also provides some truly realistic blows in quick skirmishes, such as a backhand delivered to Agnes with such ferocity it drew an audible gasp from me.

Extreme praise is due to Amanda Fehlner for an extraordinary piece of costume design for this production.  Her costuming is pitch perfect for the piece including the Xenaesque outfit worn by Tillious, the red, furry, demonic bodysuit for Orcus, and the bugbear outfits, just to name a few.

There were a few minor blips in the show.  Energy seemed a bit low, volume needed stepping up from some actors, and the pace could be quickened, but these did little to dampen an original night of theatre.

It may be a tried and true formula, but this is the most original take on a journey of discovery that you’re ever likely to see.

She Kills Monsters plays at the Omaha Community Playhouse through Nov 4.  Performances are Thurs-Sat at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm.  Tickets begin at $30 for adults and $18 for students.  For tickets visit www.omahaplayhouse.com or call the box office at 402-553-0800.  Due to some strong language and sensitive themes, this play is not recommended for young children.  The Omaha Community Playhouse is located at 6915 Cass St in Omaha, NE.

Blue Barn Conjures Up a Magical Night with “The Grown-Up”

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A ten year old boy discovers a magic crystal doorknob that allows him to jump forward in his own lifespan.  As he experiences the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of adulthood, he finds that he wants nothing more than to return to being a child.  This is The Grown-Up by Jordan Harrison which is the inaugural production for the Blue Barn Theatre at its new home at 10th and Pacific Streets.

The ethereal quality of this show really compels the viewer to watch it with a bit of childlike wonder to fully appreciate its magic.  I could watch this play each and every night of its run and I would come away with a different interpretation each and every time.  Is it really happening?  Is it a story?  If so, whose story?  Kai’s?  The grandfather’s?  The cabin boy’s?  Is it a metaphor?  The reality is that the answer is unimportant as the truth of the story will be what each audience member makes of it and that is the wonder and the beauty of this piece.

Susan Clement-Toberer has done a masterful job of directing this tale.  The staging is some of the finest I’ve seen in an Omaha production.  The pace is spot-on.  Most importantly, Ms Clement-Toberer has cast the play exceptionally well.  This play is the very definition of an ensemble piece, requiring each role to be precisely cast and for each member of the cast to have a specific chemistry with the others.  And, believe me, this cast fires on all cylinders with a group performance that was unerringly accurate.

Matt Karasek makes his Blue Barn debut as Actor A and primarily plays the role of Kai.  His physicality and vocal work is astonishing as Kai ages with each turn of the doorknob.  In one moment he’s a slightly obnoxious ten year old, in another he’s lamenting about his imminent arrival at middle age, finally he’s a crotchety old man bedeviled by the infirmities of old age.  Yet all the while, Karasek’s beautifully sincere delivery brings the audience along on his emotional ride as he desperately wants nothing more than to be a boy again.

I have finally discovered the one thing Megan Friend cannot do.  She cannot give a bad performance.  Ms Friend once again proves she is one of Omaha’s top rising talents with her turn as Actor D.  With a droop in her shoulders and a dash of husk to her voice, she is Kai’s grandmother, calmly stitching away while being slightly exasperated by Grandfather as he tells another of his tall tales.  Suddenly her posture is ramrod straight, her voice bright and perky, and her movements robotically precise as she becomes the secretary to a TV executive.  Her Adderall addiction clearly does not make a dent in her ADHD and, Lord, does she have an ego, though she tries to hide it.  A quick change in hairstyle and she is Paola, the kindly and attentive nurse to the aged Kai.  Ms Friend’s acting was a supreme bit of character work and a highlight of the night.

Jerry Longe’s considerable comedic skills are used to their fullest potential as Actor E.  His voice just drips with a charming insincerity when he’s a TV exec listening to Kai’s pitch for a new TV series.  Longe’s turn as an effeminate, overwrought wedding planner had the audience chuckling merrily.  He is even allowed a bit of seriousness as a mysterious caretaker of magic who may or may not be the force behind the crystal doorknob.

Katie Otten delights in her Blue Barn debut as Actor B.  She is primarily featured as Annabelle, Kai’s younger sister.  As the child version of Annabelle, Ms Otten is a hoot with her bratty nature as she repeatedly schools Kai in gin rummy and tattles on him when he tells her to shut up.  Her love for Kai increases with her maturity as she searches for Kai after he’s taken away by the doorknob.  Ms Otten makes for a delightful old lady as she struggles with her walker to give a eulogy for Kai.

Nick Albrecht excels as the enigmatic Actor F.  Albrecht not only has a rich and powerful baritone that is a storyteller’s dream, but he knows how to use it to the utmost.  Albrecht’s primary role is that of a fisherman who was once a cabin boy on a pirate ship and sets the legacy of the doorknob in motion.  Albrecht has a gift for underplaying which makes everything he touches very, very real.  One can feel the loneliness and sadness of the cabin boy when he loses a friend and father figure during a terrible storm.  Albrecht also creates some tender moments with Karasek when they share some pillow talk about Kai’s aging.

I truly do not believe there is a role that Nils Haaland cannot play to perfection.  As Actor C, he plays roles that are as diverse as possible.  He starts the play as a somewhat doddering old grandfather weaving fantastic tales for Kai.  In the blink of an eye, he becomes the first mate of the pirate ship and patiently trains the young cabin boy and takes him under his wing as a surrogate son.  Then he’s Kai’s fiancée, gleefully engaging in banter with him on their wedding day.

This is one of those shows where all of the elements come together to create something truly special.  Not only do the directing and acting hit the marks, but Martin Scott Marchitto’s simple set of boxes and tables with a few everyday objects hanging from the ceiling open the mind to imagination.  Carol Wisner’s lighting not only enhances the story, but is some of the best I’ve seen in a production.  Martin Magnuson’s sound design brings the audience deeper and deeper into the tale, especially with his storm sound effects.

The Grown-Up invites the audience to use their imagination and I would highly recommend to not overthink on what you are watching otherwise you will miss out on its true beauty.

The Grown-Up runs at the Blue Barn Theatre through October 18.  Showtimes are 7:30pm Thurs-Sat and 6pm on Sundays.  Please note there is no performance on September 27.  Tickets are $30 for adults and $25 for students, seniors (65+), TAG members, and groups of 10 or more.  For reservations, call 402-345-1576 from 10am-4pm Mon-Fri or visit their website at www.bluebarn.org.  The Blue Barn Theatre is located at 1106 S 10th St in Omaha, NE.

A B & B Sojourn

Marsh House

Marsh House

Twas the day before spring

And I had an itch

To travel the road once more

And hoped for no hitch.

Cheesy verse aside, I did once more yield to the call of the road.  This time I was heading to Galena, IL which bills itself as the most beautiful city in America.

Night 1

As I knew this would, more likely than not, be my last B & B outing until the summertime, I wanted to do something special.  So I decided to turn my visit into a B & B sojourn.  In order to have more exploration time in Galena and to kill two birds with one stone, I drove half of the trip on the first day.  I ended up stopping at the town of Grinnell in Iowa so I could visit Marsh House.

Grinnell was actually a surprising little city.  I was expecting a traditional small town, but this place was quite vibrant.  It had a bustling main street, a nice movie theater, a community theatre, and a wide variety of restaurants.  I soaked up the sights of the pleasant little burg and soon found myself at the doorway of Marsh House.

I was greeted by Linda who gave me a brief tour of the place.  I was struck by the elegance of Marsh House.  From the decanter of sherry by the front door to the period furniture throughout the home, I felt transported to a bygone time.  Linda led me to the Prairie Bedroom before leaving me to my own devices.

The Prairie Bedroom.

The Prairie Bedroom.

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That sherry sure hit the spot after dinner.

That sherry sure hit the spot after dinner.

I spent a few hours relaxing before heading out to dinner at the Frontier Café.  It was a quaint establishment and I took a seat at the corner where I ordered a Cowboy Burger that came with a cup of chili and French fries.  The burger was quite delicious, flavored with tortilla chips, bacon bits, and fresh jalapenos.  The chili was tasty enough, but was rather thin and watery.

I returned to Marsh House where I prepared and slowly sipped a sherry.  After an afternoon of driving, I was ready for a long, hot bath and a movie.  Unfortunately, Linda had forgotten to include any soap and shampoo in the bathroom, so my hopes for a bath went poof.  Right before turning my phone off for the evening, I received a call from Dave who was one of the owners of the B & B I would be staying at in Galena.  Apparently there had been an emergency and he would not be available for my 1pm check-in the next day, but would be in at 4pm.

With that news, I settled into bed for the night and enjoyed the solitude.  You see, I was literally the only person in the inn as even the owners did not live on property.

Day 1 & Night 2

The next morning I went downstairs for breakfast where Linda had prepared a vegetarian meal for my Lenten sensibilities.  I enjoyed a delicious fruit parfait, followed by a feta cheese omelet with a side of fried potatoes seasoned with garlic, and a blueberry muffin.  Linda apologized for too much garlic on the potatoes, but I assured her there was no such thing.

I read the newspaper as I ate watching my NCAA bracket go down in flames due to the upsets on the first day.  I polished off everything except the muffin which I decided to feed to the birds.  After breakfast, I asked Linda for some soap and shampoo so I could get cleaned up.  I returned Dave’s phone call where he told me that someone would be able to meet me at 1pm so I could have a base of operations while I explored the town.

I performed my ablutions, settled my bill, and got into the Chrismobile to complete my journey to Galena.  However, do get a room at Marsh House if you happen to be in Grinnell as it was a jewel in an oasis.

Bernadine's Stillman Inn

Bernadine’s Stillman Inn

I arrived at Bernadine’s Stillman Inn, owned by Dave and Bernadette at 1pm.  I called Dave who said Christian would meet me at the front door.  Christian gave me the nickel tour and led me to my room, the Royalty II.  After exploring the inn and snapping photos, I began to explore the town.

The Royalty II

The Royalty II

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Galena is an extremely hilly city, so get ready for a workout as you navigate the terrain.  My first stop was the visit the Grant home which happened to be right across the street.  Ulysses S Grant had lived in Galena where he worked for his family’s leather goods store.  Prior to the Civil War, Grant rented a modest two story home for $100 a year.  Due to his service during the Civil War, a group of wealthy citizens got together and gifted him with a permanent home.

Ironically, Grant did not get to spend a lot of time in his home as he had to be away a lot to wind down operations in the aftermath of the Civil War, then spent 8 years in Washington D.C. as President, and toured over 30 countries after his term of office expired.  Grant’s children decided to gift the home back to the city.  Oddly enough, while it is a nice house, it is fairly modest in its own right.

Grant's home.

Grant’s home.

Grant's dining room.  This is the only room in the house that is exactly the same as it was when Grant and his family lived in the home.

Grant’s dining room. This is the only room in the house that is exactly the same as it was when Grant and his family lived in the home.

After visiting the home, I began touring the city.  Galena calls itself the most beautiful city in America and there may be some argument for that.  This city is littered with historic homes and bed and breakfasts.  Some of these buildings were shipped into the city just to beautify the place.

Ulysses S Grant

Ulysses S Grant

Belvedere Mansion

Belvedere Mansion

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I wandered down to Main Street and discovered they have a rather bustling economy.  Numerous restaurants and shops made up the main drag.  My eye caught a sign called Root Beer Revelry and I decided to visit the establishment.  The sign was quite truthful as the store sold nothing but root beer in all varieties and all shapes and sizes.  I indulged in a root beer float.

I returned to the inn for a little bit, but went back downtown to have dinner at the DeSoto House in the Green Street Tavern.  I enjoyed a grilled salmon sandwich and then went to the lobby where I continued my forays into the supernatural by taking the All About a Ghost Tour, guided by Steven Rupp.

Steven works at the Galena library and has accumulated quite a bit of knowledge about the city.  It ended up being a personally guided tour as I was the only who showed up.  Another couple seemed interested, but left to get some cash and never returned.  Could they have been. . .spirits????  Nah!

It was a pleasant evening for a walk and Steven shared all sorts of tales about the city.  It was more history and less mystery, though there were a few tales about the supernatural peppered throughout the night.  The most interesting tale was when a businesswoman contacted Steven and asked him if he had ever heard about a haunting in a new house.  He had to confess that he had not.

The businesswoman had rented a newly built house in Galena for a weekend so she could do some shopping in town after a seminar.  After the seminar, she was putting her feet up in the rental home when she happened to look towards the bathroom.  She saw a little girl staring into the bathroom, her back to the businesswoman.  Suddenly the girl’s head turned to face the businesswoman and just the head.  The body stayed still.  Then she went into the bathroom where she disappeared.  Steven was unable to discover any stories about the area, but theorized that old homes may have been demolished to make room for these rental homes which is why a ghost could be in a new home.

After the tour, I walked back to the inn where I had the best night’s sleep I’ve experienced in quite a while.  I didn’t wake up during the night and didn’t budge a muscle.

Day 2 & Night 3

In the morning, I was finally able to meet Dave and Bernadette.  Dave and I had been exchanging phone calls over most of Friday, but never had the chance to meet until breakfast that morning.  The repast began with a cream and peach yogurt sprinkled with pumpkin flaxseed granola.  Superb!!  After that, I elected to have a ham and cheese omelet with a side of turkey bacon and some cinnamon swirl toast.  The omelet and bacon were perfect, but they forgot my toast.  But that was okay because I was full from the other items.

Galena Trolley Tour

Galena Trolley Tour

I spent most of the morning writing before heading downtown for a trolley tour.  I was a little taken aback by the $19.50 price tag, but the tour would last for an hour.  I had a good time seeing some more of Galena’s beautiful architecture and learning something of Galena’s unique history.  In its heyday, Galena was the richest city in the country due to a lead rush.  In fact, 90% of the lead used in America is from Galena or the nearby area.

The conductor/tour guide also had a terrific story about how Ulysses S Grant came into the Presidency.  There was a powerful political family known as the Washburnes and Elihu Washburne badly wanted to be President, but would not be elected because his family already held powerful political positions which would make people be unwilling to vote for him.  Instead he and some friends decided to find a quiet, shy man they could propel into the office as a proxy.  They decided to support Grant as he was riding a tidal wave of popularity.  Grant was elected into office and he gave Washburne the position of Secretary of State.  However, Washburne had underestimated Grant’s backbone and integrity as he refused to govern the way Washburne wanted him and bounced him from the post after 11 days, through he did appoint him as a minister to France.

When the tour ended, the group was given a coupon for a free small popcorn at the American Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor.  I decided to get a little snack and was hoping I could get an old fashioned ice cream soda, too, but the dispenser was broken.  I ended up returning to Root Beer Revelry and enjoyed another root beer float.

I returned to the inn to relax for a bit and then headed to St Michael’s for worship services.  It was a particularly good sermon from Father Reese who talked removing the “I” or emptying ourselves for Jesus and why the cross offends.

After a nice service, I headed over to Gobbie’s for a bit of dinner.  The food at Gobbie’s must be amazing because the wait was unbelievable.  If I wanted a table, I would have had to wait for 45 minutes as there were 21 people waiting.  I ended up taking a seat at the bar and ordered the gyro platter with a Greek salad.  This was probably the tastiest gyro I have ever eaten so I definitely recommend a visit to this eatery.

Once I had finished eating, I went to the P.T. Murphy magic show where I met two new acquaintances, Ken & Cindy of Davenport, IA.  This was an intimate performance.  The theater can only hold about 24 people, so all of the illusions and tricks are performed up close and personal.  P.T. Murphy is an excellent magician and performer with a sharp sense of humor and a well developed sense of improvisation.

Yours truly even got involved in the act.  At one point, P.T. Murphy asked the audience if anybody had a $50 bill as he was dedicating the trick to Ulysses S Grant.  Nobody had one, though one audience member was reluctant to part with a $100 bill.  I offered up $20 which P.T. Murphy had me sign on Jackson’s forehead.  Then I folded up the bill a number of times and placed it into an envelope.  P.T. Murphy then brought out two other envelopes with similarly folded pieces of paper.  Then he mixed up the envelopes and labeled them 1, 2, and 3.

P.T. Murphy asked me to select an audience member to pick an envelope so I picked my new friend, Cindy, who selected 2.  P.T. Murphy then proceeded to burn the other 2 envelopes.  He opened number 2 and iniside was a white piece of paper.  He carefully unfolded it to reveal the message, “Oops”.

Then P.T. Murphy asked me to bring over a box that was sitting in the corner.  He gave me the key and I unlocked the box and inside. . .was another box.  P.T. Murphy gave me the key to that box which I unlocked and inside. . .was a paper bag.  Inside the paper bag was on orange.  P.T. Murphy cut the orange in half and in the center was my signed $20 bill.

This was truly one of the most enjoyable events of my project.  If you find yourself in the Galena area, get a ticket to this show.  Afterwards, I returned to my room for a well deserved rest.

Last Morning

I had awoken at what I believed to be 6:30am according to the clock in my bedroom.  Since breakfast wasn’t served until 8:30, I just decided to putter around, relax, watch the news, repack,  and take a long shower.  After 90 minutes, I decided to go online to check the news and discovered that it was actually nearly 9am!!  My clock was an hour slow.

I threw on some clothes, quickly cleaned up, and made a speedy appearance in the dining room.  Today’s menus featured lovecakes (heart shaped pancakes) infused with cinnamon, banana, and/or blueberries, cinnamon swirl toast, a spinach quiche (with or without sausage), and linkers (sausages) or turkey bacon.  I opted for cinnamon lovecakes with the sausage and spinach quiche, turkey bacon, and cinnamon swirl toast (which I did get this time).  Once more it was a tasty meal with some delightful conversation.

With the end of breakfast came the end of my little sojourn.  Galena is a fun little town and my only regret was similar to my time in Abilene, KS as I came a little off-season.  There is so much to do here, but you need to come during the May-October season.  But there was more than enough to keep me occupied, interested, and entertained for the weekend.

And if you’re in the Galena area, get a room at Bernadine’s Stillman Inn.  You’ll enjoy some great food and a most entertaining host and you just may have a bit of fun, educational or otherwise.