As we turn off the freeway into downtown St. Paul the magic of lights twinkle before our eyes. Ben pulls into the first spot of street parking across the street from the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts and exclaims, “Rock Star parking.” Seeing the Ordway on our left and Rice Park to our right the spirit of the season fills me anew. I carefully step over a pile of ice on the curb. White lights cover the forest of trees in the park. In their midst a tree covered with blue lights “towers as tall and bright as the iconic Rockefeller Center tree in New York City.”
In 2014, Ben, Tina and I stood in front of the Rockefeller Center tree in New York City. The hundreds of people also viewing the tree and ice skating rink somewhat hampered my view. Last night the blue lights on the Rice Park tree seemed to glow only for us. One of the advantages to coming down town for a 5:30 reservation for dinner…fewer people for awhile.
We walk across the street from the Ordway to Herbie’s On The Park nestled in the history of the old Minnesota Club building. Majestic walnut beams, a glowing fireplace and white table cloths welcome us. Ben, Tina and I talk a lot when I am in Minnesota and we enjoyed a time of sharing more stories while appreciating good food.
After dinner we walk across the street to the beautiful Ordway and enjoy Irving Berlin’s delightful White Christmas. As icing on the cake, I have my favorite seat in any theatre: aisle seat, first row mezzanine. According to the program, Berlin is often referred to as the greatest song writer of American popular song. Yet surprisingly he never was able to read or write music. I hadn’t heard that and that fact makes what he created still more amazing. Berlin, awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President Eisenhower for his song, “God Bless America” lived to be 101. Music is good for the body as well as the soul.
Our next stop: the Commodore Bar and Restaurant which is “synonymous with 1920s and 1930s literary legend, gangster lore, and a who’s who of the glamorous jazz age.” My drink (don’t remember the ingredients) named after the infamous Ma Barker didn’t turn me into a gangster. But Ma Barker, “the mother of several criminals who ran the Barker gang during the public enemy era, traveled with her sons during their criminal careers.”
Since I love history, the evening added much to the fun of being with family, enjoying good food and music plus the sparkle of the Christmas season. A special time with two of my favorite people.