Monday, October 29, 2007


My father told me last night that he wished he did not have to go to Zurich on Saturday.

He does not look forward to the long flights, traveling alone, and he does not look forward to being away from home for six days by himself.

If it were possible, he would love for us to go with him. If we were to go with him, he would enjoy traveling to Zurich very much.

That’s why he asked us to travel with him to Hamburg last year. It turned a tedious three-day business trip for him into a magnificent two-week family vacation for all of us.

My father loved our vacation in London, too (all of us loved our vacation in London). He loved traveling with my mother, and he loved traveling with my middle brother and with Josh and me, and he loved the historical and cultural attractions we explored. He loved every minute of our time in London. It was one of the best vacations he ever had.

However, he is tired of traveling by himself on business. Whatever excitement business travel offers has long since disappeared for him. In fact, I think he has always detested business travel, except for those trips to the East Coast that provided him with an opportunity to visit my older brother and me while we were in school in the East.

I wish my father did not have to go to Zurich. This is his favorite time of year: he loves autumn weather, and he loves college football, and he loves getting ready for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. One week of that will be taken away from him this year.

One comfort is that he will only be gone for six days. Another comfort is that he will return on the same day that my brother from Denver arrives, and one day before my older brother and his family arrive. When he returns from Zurich, my father will be able to settle in and enjoy a two-week visit with everyone.

My father also told me last night that he and my mother have missed not seeing much of Josh and me since we returned from our Columbus Day weekend in New York.

Josh and I have only seen my parents on weekends since Columbus Day, and on one of those weekends Josh and I stayed home, catching up on things (although we did go see “The Seagull” with my parents the Friday night of that particular weekend).

Happily for my Dad, he will get to see lots of everyone, for two whole weeks, after he returns from Zurich.

He is pleased that Josh and I will stay with my mother during his absence. This will prevent him from worrying about her, and worrying about her trying to do too much before everyone arrives for the holidays. He knows that Josh and I will help her, and that we will do the difficult work, and that we will be present to look out for her.

There is one good thing about my father’s trip to Zurich: he will get to hear Humperdinck’s “Konigskinder”, a work he loves very much, under a good conductor (Ingo Metzmacher) and with an excellent cast (one of which will be Jonas Kaufmann). He bought a ticket for the evening performance of Wednesday, November 7.

Otherwise, in the evenings, he will just stay in his hotel room and read.

I am glad he will only be in Zurich five nights.


  1. Drew, I wish your father a safe and successful trip to Zurich.

    I thought of you tonight when I saw a gentlemen from Minn-e-so-ta interviewed on the BBC. He had the Minn-e-so-ta brogue, too--charming, but not quite as charming as yours.

    Your father will return quickly enough, I'm sure, and your family will have a splendid holiday together, I warrant. He won't spend any more time away from his fine boys than necessary.


  2. Calvin, I love my Dad so very, very much that I hate to see him have to go away when he really does not want to leave home.

    He has done nothing but "give, give, give" his entire life, and I hate it when he has to do something he really does not want to do.

    It's only a short trip, thankfully, and at least he will get to hear "Konigskinder", which he will like very much.

    However, all in all, I think his trip will be drudgery, more or less.

    It's too bad Josh is working at a real job now, and can't take time off, willy-nilly, whenever he wants to. Otherwise, Josh could accompany my father. Between the two of them, they could turn the Zurich trip into an interesting travel journey--spend some extra time there, and see some interesting attractions, and visit some museums.

    As it is, my father just as well be traveling to a nowhere-place like Albequerque.

    Now, THAT's a dump to avoid at all costs!

  3. Drew, I've never been to Albequerque and never plan to go. I know its reputation well.

    Tell your father that "Konigskinder" just opened to stunning reviews. He should enjoy it very much. Kaufmann was indisposed on opening night, but went on anyway. There is talk in Zurich that Metzmacher will succeed Welser-Most after Welser-Most moves on to Vienna.

    Congratulations on winning the "Eugene Onegin" contest!


  4. And I'm off now to Covent Garden to see The Royal Ballet's "Romeo And Juliet", which I've seen a hundred times before.

    I love it, but I know how much you hate MacMillan!

  5. Calvin, I hope you enjoyed the MacMillan.

    I am confident that my father will enjoy the Humperdinck opera. He has loved the EMI recording for years. This will be his first opportunity to attend a live performance.

  6. You have a fantastic blog, really first class in every way. The great James Jordan linked you this week. That's how I discovered you. I have been reading you and Joshua since Wednesday. It is such a privilege to read a blog that is so civilized. Every new blog I come across is written by someone downwardly mobile, with a grudge against the world. Long ago I concluded that most bloggers were unintelligent, stuck in low-paying jobs, without friends, and in need of a forum to express their petty grudges and rages against the world. You and Joshua do not suffer from any of those faults. I'll be back. And it's great that you appreciate my local orchestra, the great Cleveland Orchestra. It is the world's best. Robert

  7. Robert:

    Thank you very much for your kind remarks.

    We will do our very best to be as civilized as possible!

    Thank you again for your kind words.