Dads With Daughters, Little Women Trumps Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Drawing courtesy of my daughter

It’s 2020, it’s all about reflections or resolutions. And what we deal with personally is just magnified at the movies. So here it goes.

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is the ultimate reflection movie as it’s the culmination of the series while “Little Women” is all about Jo’s resolution to get her voice heard.

But Dads, you seem to be more into reflections these days. The dark side is winning out.

The ball dropped Tuesday and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” took the number one spot over “Little Women”. Check it out from Brent Lang in Variety, he’ll tell you more about it at http://‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Tops New Year’s Eve Box Office.

If we stripped away the box office figures and the fact that we are comparing the end of a series with a one and done movie, let’s face it, the soft side outranks the dark side, especially if you’re a Dad with girl(s). You have an inherent soft side.

Since I’m one for debate, I knew a war was brewing even before I read Kristy Eldrege in The New York Times write that men are receiving “Little Women” poorly. http://Men Are Dismissing ‘Little Women.’ What a Surprise. It sparked 1,390 comments last time I checked, so a lot of people are up for debating this. But fathers, have you made your choice?

Before you do, let’s debunk that big looming concern that “Little Women” is for chicks. Of course it is, but you’ve got chick(s) in the house, right?

Star Wars may have taught you all you needed to know about the dark force, but did it do anything to prepare you for the light force in your life–your daughter(s)?

And in harmony with the chick flick stereotype, you’re probably ready to stand by the Resistance and say that “Star Wars” is action-packed. Yes, I never had a chance to breath there was so much action. But more actually happens in “Little Women” that will keep you riveted and moved than in “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”.

Frankly, if you’ve seen one “Star Wars” in the series, you’ve already (cough) seen this one, too.

But what if you live, breath and quote the force? You know who you are, when May 4th rolls around you’re texting your buddies saying, “May the fourth be with you”.

You know what’s in your heart: “Star Wars” connects you to your manliness. I don’t have to break your illision, but I’m going to anyway.

The “Star Wars” genre is considered a space opera (Things can’t get more girly than that!).

You’re warming up to the idea, but then, you never read the book. Why would you have? For the record, I read it and didn’t even like it. The book didn’t stop me from appreciating the movie, and neither should it matter to you.

And if you’re still not convinced? Get over yourself, these movies aren’t as different as you have pegged them to be.

Here are the top reasons if you liked “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” you will like “Little Women”. SPOILER ALERT if you read past this point (not that it matters, as everyone knows what happens in both movies anyway. But it’s fun to say, anyhow).

1.) Both are set in other worlds. You’ll still be taken away, it might not be to “A Galaxy Far, Far Away” but it will be to the 1860s. (And for millennials, that’s a long, long time ago).

2.) The accents in either movie will fool you. In “Star Wars”, Rey keeps her English accent. She remains true to her earthly heritage, but in outer space, really? No one else came from her “British” planet. But in “Little Women”, the foreign actresses (two British, an Irish, and an Australian) have American accents so real you could watch the entire movie just trying to catch them with the wrong accent.

3.) It’s all fun/war and games until somebody gets hurt/dies. Yes, the heroine in both movies has a deep seated love that must die. For “Little Women” it’s Beth and for the “Star Wars” finale, it’s Ben. (Funny how both those names start with “Be”).

If I haven’t won you over by now, there’s no hope left. (cute, right?) You’ve chosen the dark side, and I can’t help persuade you to be a softee, not even for your daughter(s).

Let’s just wait for the spoof where the chicks won’t have to trump the guys or vice versa. Just imagine the world it could be: The Wars of The Little Star Women.

And if the guy/chick flick war rages on in your household, go see “Frozen II”, at least the kids seem to like it.

A Muse 4 Dads: if you weren’t so busy reflecting on “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” being the end of the series, and you could only pick one of these movies to see, which one would it be?

A Muse 4 Moms: have your husbands resolved themselves, yet, to see “Little Women”?

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In Hot Pursuit Of…

Making the Merry in Christmas

Every Christmas season I find myself in hot pursuit of something. It used to be the latest doll that the girls had to have. We’ve moved beyond that stage, (I could very well start feeling sorry for myself), as a new age has definitely begun. Luckily, I can still make sure Christmas is merry as this year I found myself in hot pursuit of something much bigger; and this time, if it wasn’t a truck, well, two trucks, actually (and we’re not talking toy trucks here).

But I always want to jump ahead, so let’s take it from the beginning. I was just getting out of a parking spot with my oldest in the car with me. It was ridiculously crowded. It seemed like I was going to be stuck in my tight spot forever. “If only we could get out of here.” I still had to pick up my other daughter from school and cars were blocking me from every angle.

A man, who had pulled in and just wanted to park, saw a woman in a similar predicament so he left his car in the middle of the parking lot and got out of his car to help her leave. I just stayed in my spot not wanting to draw attention to the fact I was stuck too. (I mean, helpless woman x2. How embarrassing). But there I was, pretty stuck myself.

So I told my daughter to get out of the car to direct me. Only, it was not working so I got her back in the car and decided to wait it out. Just chalk it up to a holiday jam.

Meanwhile, the dear man got back in his car and saw I was stranded too so he came over to help me out. It was such a small gesture on his part, but the gratitude I felt was enormous.

Free to drive, I turned to get on the road. I had just said, “That was so incredibly nice of that man” and I got stopped behind a red car, who was behind another car. We were all waiting out the red light. In the left-hand lane was a huge truck. It was misplaced, like the island of the misfit toys, as it was too tight of a curve and the truck was too unyielding, but the truck tried to inch up in line anyway. And the truck, the size of my gratitude for that man who helped me get out of my own jam, was about to, oh no, it was all in super slow motion as the truck squeezed, but there wasn’t enough room, and then it did anyway. It side-swiped the tail end of the tiny car and deposited the little car right into the backside of another car. There was no way of telling damage had been done from my viewpoint, but apparently, the truck driver couldn’t see either. The truck drove away.

All the other cars drove ahead to make the light that had turned green except the little car and the red car that stayed behind as witness.

It was one of those moments where your heart sinks for the little guy. The guy was just sitting in his car, helpless and unnoticed. I wanted to yell out to the big truck, “Look what you did!” And I hadn’t even had the chance to process what had just happened when I realized I could do something.

I could drive after the truck and get the license number. It felt like my mind was lagging behind. There was traditional wisdom to overcome. “You stay at the scene of the accident,” that little voice inside of me said. But, finally, an even bigger voice boomed back. “Unless, of course, you need to go get that license plate number.”

Time wasn’t really operating in slow motion like I thought it was. We we were off! My daughter caught the excitement of it on video. Who knew that my heart would be racing before the chase had begun? I wanted to get all the details right. I didn’t want to run the red light, but that light took forever. The truck was getting away.

It finally turned green, after a good 10 minutes of waiting, I’m almost positive of it. And then the road and the cars that I had to pass seemed like a video game–that driving game we played as kids. It was the size of a really thick mini iPad. It had a little steering wheel on the bottom left corner that you could steer to weave in and out of traffic. If you hit a car a big red X would splash across the screen along with the error noise. You know, the crash and burn. (And then it broke, which was even better because we could hit the cars and it wouldn’t alert anyone that we had made a mistake. We could drive right over them.

But here the driving game came to life before me. There was no room for mistakes. If not for me, for my daughter. My daughter was in the car so I had to be safe. But we had the hot pursuit before us.

My heart pounded as I surveyed the scene: the road, the cars, the two lanes, not doing anything to endanger my daughter (ahem, getting the big X across the screen, even if I could just plow right through). But we spotted the truck. Thank goodness, there was another red light ahead, and this time it was a blessing. The two lanes merged into three. I saw the opportunity to bypass all the cars in front of me if I could just pull up in the far left lane. And there! My daughter was able to videotape all the way up to the final moment when we got the license plate number. She captured the truck on camera.

All that was left of my hot pursuit was that happy moment. My heartbeat with joy that I was able to pay it forward to the kind gentleman who helped me in the parking lot.

But I won’t end on this note. I asserted that at Christmas I’m always in hot pursuit of something and this Christmas was no different. So let’s fast forward from this moment to Christmas Eve when we were in hot pursuit of another truck, x2.

I’m asking you to suspend your disbelief here, but stick with me. I found myself in hot pursuit yet again come Christmas Eve, when we chased after Santa on the firetruck.

There was that same level of anticipation. We heard the sirens (and knew from years prior) that meant that he was getting closer. We had to leave the house to catch Santa in fear of missing him. Even though he goes to all the neighborhoods in our town, there’s something special about seeing him on our street. We plan everything around that moment when he appears on the firetruck.

The sirens start. There are two trucks. The smaller one makes the announcement and then the main firetruck appears in all it’s lit up glory. It makes the turn and the screaming starts. It’s the teenagers, or maybe it’s us, I don’t know. This time, I get to videotape the hot pursuit.

And now would be the opportune time to show you that video of Santa coming to town on the firetruck, however, I am still waiting for YouTube to process my video (or else my computer has frozen). Whenever it does I’ll be sure to update the post.

It’s not all about the chase and tracking down that truck two times over. Or maybe it is.

‘Tis the season for excitement in being present for one another. May your hot pursuits in 2020 be just as merry and bright as ours were in 2019!

A Muse 4 You: What have you been in hot pursuit of recently?

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Auditioning for the Bard Arse Club

A Laughtear Break

I auditioned for our local community theater’s new musical, Twelfth Night. If ever you need a moment filled with laughtear, get on a stage, especially if you haven’t been on one before. Before I can get to auditions, let’s talk terminology. And as you will soon find out, laughtear is not a mispelling for laughter.

When the girls were young, we made up all kinds of new words as we marveled at all the ways they managed to do two things at the same time. For example, a fart and a burp was a furt.

But that led to other cool combinations like a fart and a cough. That was a fough.

It was so much fun why not just call a sneeze and a cough a snough?

So now you get the game? And there was that cute thing when they’d have one sock on and one sock off. The missing sock! Now if only we were creative enough to put a name to that. But, looking back, we could have just asked their non-respsonsive selves, “wha’d you do with your ock?”

Just because those days are long gone, when we multitask now it’s usually not connected to our body parts, unless, we just so happen to laugh until the tears come. Now that’s laughtear!

And we all need laughtear, it’s just how do we get some of that in our life?

So that’s where I come into the picture. I willingly sacrifice myself (and all that’s left of the respect people once might have had for me) for a good laugh. After all, I am middle-aged Mama leaping to the stage, take two. (Take one happened last November when I auditioned for Mamma Mia! with the girls for my very first stint with community theater). I’ve learned enough to be deadly with this axiom…if you want some more laughtear in your life, get on a stage. Any stage will do.

My platform just happens to be Jenkintown Music Theater where we have a dynamite director, Deb Schrager, my girls follow her where ever she directs, and the group at JMT is kind enough to take me.

But if only it were that simple. I do have to audition. And the girls make me go in there alone. They won’t do it for me (oh, payback)! Being jester doesn’t come easy to me and it’s not for the faint of heart. Even though I knew better, I tried so hard not to be nervous this time. It mattered so much that I treat this audition the way I would if I had to make dinner. I had prepared. I had played that cd so I knew every song until the girls would get in the car at pick up and say, “Not that again.” (Even though my tween isn’t accustomed to rolling her eyes just yet, she gave me the eye roll, too).

The day of the audition, it was snowing and raining at the same time ( a phenomenon we might call snaining for the sake of this post). But that was just a precursor of what was to come.

In all fairness, I only had to sing two lines. Yes. Two lines, that’s it. How hard could that be? No different than making dinner, I told myself. Plus I knew everybody at the audition. So when I walked down the firing squad, I mean the long table set up in front of the stage, I started to hug people, like the stage manager, Harvey, and Emily, the pianist and then I just gave up. My hellos were already way longer than my estimated stage time was going to be.

I got on stage and showed off my Mamma Mia! boots. The ones I wore to London. They were for old times sake. (Just to remind Deb, in case she had forgotten, that I had been on stage once before). Although she needed no reminding once the music started and I didn’t open my mouth.

How could I? Suddenly there was an introduction. It was the middle of the song! Since when does the middle of a song have a beginning? It was so simple with the cd, it always went like this, “Ladies, Ladies, Ladies.” That was my cue to sing. But without those words, I had nothing but a bunch of notes that I literally never heard before. Oh, how my meal had failed!

But there was always dessert. So Deb started singing for me. And I joined along for those last few words. Until she stopped. I had the sheet music in my hand. All I had to sing was, “Good friends laugh in derision to show you that they care.” So all I could do was hum. But even those notes were off key. I got back on track for the last word. Or did I?

It was all a bad blur. This was an epic fail. Sort of like this picture of my daughter taken right before I took the picture of her crying with her birthday hat on. She was all happy. Entertaining herself. So adorable really…

Until I put the hat on her, and bam, it was all over. The tears came forth as shown in the first picture. Just like me to come and screw everything up…

But, my laughtear moment didn’t come just then. I had to extricate myself (remove the evidence of the spoiled meal) and I did what any comic would do (and trust me I’m not trained in this, I was far from the class clown as a shy kid). I said, “That was horrible.” before I solemnly bowed with the whole arm to stomach and other arm in the air type of a thing. I was so bad, I didn’t even get a do-over.

So this is where it all comes together. I had my laughtear moment with my community theater friends. We had all been telling each other to break a leg at auditions and I came back to inform them that I really did break a leg, both legs, in fact, and I left two casts in the trophy case of the school lobby to prove it.

Everyone was telling me it couldn’t have been that bad, but that set me off to laughing. No, it was that bad. And then that’s when it came out. I said I was starting the bard arse club. So that got me laughing even harder. And then others started sharing their stories (and none of them held a candle to mine), but I wasn’t going to have bragging rights here, I just welcomed them to the club and told them they had rightfully gained admission.

I’m not sure when there was that tipping point where my laughter turned into crying and my crying turned into laughter, but there it was. My laughtear break! Now that was worth the admission price!

A Muse 4 You: when was the last time you had that epic laughtear moment?

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Click Away Negative Thoughts

This is my latest fashion statement. Whenever I wear my clicker, someone will comment how cool my ring is. And then the conversation goes like this:

Interested MOS (Man on the Street, leftover from my TV days): What is it?

Me: I use it to count my bad habit.

Interested MOS: What’s your bad habit?

Me: “Negative thoughts. WIth this I can just click them away.”

Interested MOS: “Where can I get one?”

In all fairness I didn’t come up with the idea to track my negative thoughts. It came from David Burns, author of Feeling Good. This is by no means a new book, it was first published in June 1980, but the idea of buying my clicker, well, that came from Amazon.com. So the fashion secret is out!

And, just in case you’re wondering, why not just use worry beads? They’ve been around. The Greeks use them. I dare you. Get you some worry beads and tell me if people stop you in the street wondering where to get them.

If there is any doubt about how special this tracker ring is, I have a story for you. I just lost my clicker. It fell off the strap. (In all fairness I was banging it about trying to get my luggage through the insanely narrow aisle). I had just left the airplane and a woman came running frantically to catch up with me to tell me I lost my ring. I had just enough time to look that indeed I only had the plastic left on my finger when I saw another woman waving my ring in the air, “Here’s your ring. You dropped it.” You would have thought it was a diamond. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I have others (four come in the packet plus a counter bracelet on velcro), though, I would have had to use the white or the black and I really do like my pink one.

But I already knew how special this “ring” was when it went through the washer and dryer and it still came out clicking. Talk about putting it through the “ringer” just to make sure it really is a workable piece of jewelry!

And the best part of it all–it’s fun to have negative thoughts now, just to be able to click them away. Not unlike the Calgon, Take Me Away commerical I have buzzing around my head right now. On that note, let’s end with a bit of nostalgia.

Just imagine if they had clickers back then! She might not have even needed the Calgon bath. A Muse 4 You: What might you click away?

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Goodbye Mommyhood but Daddy is still Daddy

photo courtesy of John Gray

Goodbye Mommy. Goodbye Daddy (somehow he still gets to be called Daddy. For the record, that’s so not fair). Goodbye little kids.

Leaving behind all that made life cute: the days of make believe and unicorns, cool crafts, matching outfits (that I bought. I had good taste back then), oh, those photo opps, Disney princesses, dare I go on, and on? Now the road that is set before me is the truth of my parenting mistakes, school projects, the girls must go shopping with me, or else, they wouldn’t be caught dead in anything I pick out (and btw, all those matching outfits were so ugly). Oh, and now every photo that we take ends with, “Let me see that. No. You’re not using that. Oh my gosh, we’re deleting that.” Thank goodness there’s community theater. Our days of dress up are not over yet!

But I’m just fooling myself if I believe that this is going to keep on going. There’s a death here. Our family unit isn’t want it used to be. And given time, that too, will change. Although somehow Daddy will always get to be Daddy. My Mom called my Grandpa that until he died, and still, she refers to him with that special badge of honor.

But I’m digressing. No one prepared me for this. There was just such magic when the kids were younger, they were our constant source of entertainment, pleasure and concern. I really did believe we could live in our bubble forever. And I was so busy that there wasn’t anyone to argue with me.

And I wasn’t stupid enough to actually beleive those parents of tweens and teens who tried to scare us with the tales of how things would change. It seemed blaspehmous to hear that the kids wouldn’t bother to talk in the car rides. It seemed there would never be a day I’d ask “how was your day?” or that I could say “Good morning” and I’d be talking to myself. (I have learned to make the most of these conversations).

There was no way I was going to even think about all that was going to befall my daughters in order for them to have to grow up.

Making this switch was not for the faint of heart and it didn’t happen overnight. I can still find myself falling into old patterns of behavior based on memories. For me, 15 years seems like no time at all, so it really wasn’t that long ago that my first daughter was born. We had that introduction and we could see into one another’s soul.

I remember the relationship I had with both of my daughters and how it morphed into new realities with time. There was a time she could do nothing for herself. Either one of them, for that matter.

So now I empty the dishwasher, even though it’s their job. I have to catch myself when my oldest says she wants to be in a play and I go into research mode and look up when auditions are, when the play would be and then I look up every conflict we would have that would prevent her from being able to do it. (And then my youngest, who’s so used to the drill, she just goes and does everything herself before I even ask). I want to do these things, but Daddy, note the sarcasm in my use of this word, who’s so much wiser than I am on this (he’s not going through these growing pains the way I am), he tells me not to do for them.

But it’s more than a habit. I want to do everything I can for her, and secretly, the big secret of it all, it’s because I don’t want to do for myself. Every step I give my daughter that she may take towards her independence reminds me of every step I must take towards my own.

Nothing like Elton John at times like this. Suddenly, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is getting tossed about in my head. So if you need a station break. Here he is.

But Estefania (my alter stage persona) is here to nudge me to stop focusing on what I’m losing and to start paying attention to the road that lies ahead. FUN, remember? We had a club we used to go to in college called WFUN. So we just need a kick of that in our lives right?

But instead of leaving this on that cheery note, maybe we do need to take a pause. While we still have Elton buzzing around in our heads, maybe this is something to muse about.

A Muse 4 You: Are you feeling you’re at a crossroads in your life? Is there something or someone you’re having a hard time letting go of?

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ABBA Made Me Do It!

Mamma Mia! The Party at the O2, London/Greece

ABBA made me turn 50, that is.

And while we’re throwing blame here, ABBA made me sing and dance to the point I was dripping with gratitude for the music, too.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, and you’re that oh-so curious ABBA lover, feel free to check it out first https://www.mammamiatheparty.com/gb/en/.

And now for the play-by-play of the night that should have never ended (as you can see from the above photo, they kicked us out).

My husband and I brought new life to me turning 50 when we closed down Mamma Mia! The Party! in September. Alex humored me when I told him I wanted to go somewhere where I could dance. And though he may have been shocked, he went along with it, and so did our friends from back home (my stage husband from our local community production of Mamma Mia! and his wife).

We took a quick jaunt over the pond, enlivened the London streets in our bright 70s costumes, and rode the crowded tube. We had fun conversations with interested onlookers and then partied, dined and danced at the O2 in outlandish Mamma Mia! style.

There we were…the “brilliant Americans”. Everyone kept calling us that, in their adorable English accents that you just wanted to record and keep for prosperity.

They adored our outfits, bought on Amazon, no, as we liked to say, Am A Son. And yes, they even sold me my white boots, which are all the rage right now.

We were chartering new territory as most people, including us, had no idea what to expect. We just trusted that they’d bring Mamma Mia to life in a robust and interactive way.

From the moment we got greeted and our names were checked off of a paper print out of guests (there are no iPads and such in Greece), we knew we were in the right place. The smile on the woman’s face when she saw that we were in our “street clothes” spoke volumes.

We entered the blue barn-like doors and got whisked away into Skopelos, where we were greeted again, with such enthusiasm. “The Greeks” really do love their Americans, but we sure did love them back.

The only sign that we were still in London was the coat check. I checked my raincoat and my friend’s umbrella there, thank goodness. It had only been drizzling outside and my raincoat was so bloody hot it was shielding the rain, all right. The rain that was pouring off of me.

Inside at last. And before us in all its magnificence stood a three-level Greek taverna. We were on the top of it with all it’s twinkling lights set before us, not to outshine the Bougainvillea, Greece’s defining flower, all draped around us like curtains. There were the beautiful potted terra cotta plants. I never touched them to see if they were real or not.

It didn’t matter. Everything was real. We stood in the midst of a 3D experience. a slice of the O2, which my second husband kept calling Oxygen, he’s known for his cheesy jokes, as is my own husband, for that matter, so no wonder they get along so well.

Had the night just ended there, soaking it all in, we would have been just as giddy and enamored as we were at the party’s end.

We went to the bar, with real glasses of sparkling wine and cassis lined up for us to take one. But how to decide? Some were pinker than others, some were more filled than others.

Imagine that! A bartender that doesn’t measure how much he pours. We really were in Greece.

We got escorted down the first set of stairs, past the middle level, and the bottom. It was a grand courtyard with tables spread about in various shapes and sizes with their blue and white checked table cloths.

We strode across the floor and passed the mostly empty tables still awaiting their guests (who were in a long queue outside waiting to get into eutopia).

There was a water fountain and a massive disco ball hovered from the five-story ceiling. Before we reached another series of steps leading to a bar that mimicked the one on the other side, we were led to our table.

Our round table tucked in the right-hand corner seated ten. Already five women of various generations were seated leaving the remaining seats for us. We had one extra seat, which served us well as we were able to spread out a bit.

We had menus. (The closest thing to a program, unless we bought a program from one of the girls walking around selling them, which I never got around to doing).

The table was already set, all of the tables were, in fact. The red tomatoes just popped off of that blue and white background like they had been on a stage of their own. There was a beautiful bowl of tomatoes and feta and cucumbers and another bowl of tomatoes and dips. Slices of bread were laid out in a bowl, along with olives, a water vessel and water glasses and separate cans of forks and knives.

The acoustics were amazing, though you couldn’t hear people unless they were next to you, you never had a sense that 500 people were there. It seems absurd to even think that that number of people would have been there that night. It seemed so intimate.

They had workers like you wouldn’t believe. One would come up right after the other. They didn’t want you to ever feel unattended. Though it was a simple dinner, we felt like royalty. I mostly talked to the staff while Alex talked to the dear women next to him.

One waitress came over and asked me how long did it take us to get to Greece? And then another came over and said, “This is great. You’re groupies.”

I made it clear that we were not groupies, as if that mattered. I said, “I just turned 50 and this is my party.” And she laughed and said, “I get you.” And I said, “I’m so glad you get me.”

“But, the big question was, if we weren’t groupies, how did Alex have on a leisure suit with tigers all over it? “He did that because of the tiger song, right? I think they might play that tonight, even.”

Of course, we played along that we knew ABBA sang a tiger song?

Here check it out for yourself for a fun ABBA moment. Here’s “I am the Tiger”: https://youtu.be/wWQ7wrPyUe0 .

We watched the seats fill up and just as we started to wonder how this night was going to play out, the “theater” part of it started.

A woman came down the stairs on the other side of the courtyard with a microphone. Her name was Kate, not Donna, but she was the woman who produced the Mamma Mia movies and she married a Greek man named Nikos and they were throwing this Mamma Mia! party for us.

She asked who had seen the movies, and we expected a great response off of that, the reviewers would have to be the only ones who hadn’t seen the movies, right? And then she asked who here didn’t? And a man a few tables away from us clapped real loud.

She loved it and went over to give him the mic and he said, “I never saw any of the movies.” They gave him a free drink and he got a lot of applause.

She then asked us to stand up and introduce ourselves to someone we didn’t know. So we met everyone we could. We had the biggest smiles on our face and at that moment we knew that we were all in this together.

The woman also introduced her daughter, who was not Sophie, who was interested in a young man, who was not Skye, but they got to sing all the great love songs as if they were.

There was Debbie, the cook, who had a bad smoking habit, so we were asked to yell, “Debbie don’t” if we saw that she was tempted. And, of course, she was tempted, hence she wound up singing the theme song, Mamma Mia, only this time about a cigarette.

And there was the big drama when the boiler broke and they wouldn’t be able to get our dinner out in time. So they called in Fernando to come and fix it, but there was no singing about him, though it kept us all wondering.

But we were engaged in these moments when they pieced together the threads of both movies and the ABBA songs and it all came to life before us. And right before us, intermingling around our very tables Nikko made the daughter break up with the guy.

They tied in other aspects of the movies at the break when a guy came out in scuba gear, just throwing us a flashback, they didn’t actually sing Lay All Your Love On Me.

The girls sang the typical boy songs from the movies and the boys sang the traditional girl parts. Mamma Mia! was turned upside down before our very eyes.

After we broke and had dinner, they had a woman emerge from the water fountain and she did acrobatics in the air with the water dripped off of her, not unlike me taking off my raincoat.

The lighting fed off of the fantasy of it all. The daughter broke up with her boyfriend and they sang The Winner Takes it All.

Nikko’s mother, the patriarch, came to make sure they got back together again.

But as all of us Mamma Mia! lovers know, it’s not the plot that we are to be concerned with. It’s how the plot dangles before us to be the excuse for the music. It’s the wine that you drink with the meal. And with the band just a table away from us, we were intoxicated with the experience of it all.

They had warned us that our table was going to make way for the dance floor. So after dessert, we grabbed our stuff and headed up to the bar area. There was more dancing, this time to Greek music, but it was upbeat and festive. We watched as the courtyard got transformed into a catwalk.

We were then allowed to pile onto the newly created dance floor. As we were standing in the back of the line, we couldn’t get to the front. That placed us on the side of the catwalk.

I snuck in between the workers. I couldn’t tell if they were bouncers, but by the end, I realized they were there to help take the railings off of the catwalk. They were strategically placed all around where the poles were. And there I was right in the middle of all of them. The only paying customer who had gotten that close. The rest of my party were behind me, but even they couldn’t join me.

We saw the dancers in the white spandex perform and sing and dance. It was incredible. There were three of them dancing on our dinner table. And then the dancers got off the catwalk and the makeshift stage crew turned to me and said, “Do you want to go up?”

I looked at him and said, “You really mean it.” And, I was the first one up on the catwalk. Out of 500 people, I consider that to be quite a special treat, well worth the price of admission. I had three seconds of fame up there before everyone else came and join me. It was the most magical part of the evening as we danced to our beloved ABBA songs that were intermixed together by this fabulous deejay who knew just what to do to make ABBA come to life in a new way.

And indeed, this night was about the 35 ways we could sing and dance to ABBA. Indeed, Thank You For the Music!

The majority of people had left by this point. They let us dance on our catwalk, even though there were just a few of us staggering through to the end. There was the cute couple who danced together, and we were about to leave them to be the last ones on the catwalk. When we started to pass them and I said goodnight, the woman shook her head no and said, “You have to wait (there was a pause of total respect) Fernando”. Indeed, as if she had cued them up, that’s when they played Fernando. There was no way we’re going to miss that.

And then we thought our dancing days were numbered, I was drenched, once more, and we went to get some water but we saw this guy who had been dancing by himself, he was singing the words and miming them as he went. So our friend nudged me and said, “We can’t leave him by himself.” So we went up to him so he could have a dance partner. He had it hard for ABBA. He even knew all the words to Slipping Through My Fingers. So well that he could slide his fingers through the air. He was in good company. We got each other. We had the time of our lives.

Only, it was time to go and our adventure had to be put to rest, it was only 11:30, but they kept their promise. That’s when they warned us the party would be over. We were the last paying customers to walk out of Greece that night. With the voices of the Londoners still rising in our heads, “You brilliant Americans”, this night wasn’t about us at all.

If anyone was brilliant, it was ABBA for writing these songs that seep into our hearts and for this interactive experience that rekindled our spirit. ABBA lovers aside, if you are feeling like you’re too fill-in-the-blank and need to reawaken the life within you, heck, maybe you’re turning 50, then have a jaunt to London and party Mamma Mia! style.

A Muse 4 You: What means so much to you, you would go out of your way to make it happen?

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