On Saturday, my husband, Clif, and I went to Brunswick to see a Center Stage Players production at the Theater Project. According to the Theater Project’s blurb on their website, the Center Stage Players “is a group of Mid Coast Maine seniors who create and perform original and classic pieces that are performed ‘readers theater’ style twice a year.” Our friend Sybil Baker is part of this group, and we came to see her perform and also to see her short piece, “The Church of the Divine Potluck.” (The title came about as the result of a conversation Clif and I had with Sybil a while back. Sybil was complaining about the preponderance of potlucks in the church she went to. Clif jokingly came up with the title “The Church of the Divine Potluck,” and Sybil took off with it.)
The Center Stage Players spring production was LOL, and laugh out loud we did over the various pieces and skits. Our favorite, of course, was Sybil’s “Church of the Divine Potluck,” but there was also a beautiful little fable about birds, written by James Thurber. And a funny but poignant piece about two women talking about finding companionship after the death of a husband. To paraphrase one of the women, “When you get to be our age, no one’s going to look at us.”
After the performances, which lasted about an hour, we headed to Maine Street to Little Tokyo for an early dinner. Sybil had been to Little Tokyo for Mother’s Day, and she described it as having “lovely food.” Sybil wasn’t joking—the food was exquisite—and the prices were lovely, too. Sybil and I both had the fish soup—fish, shrimp, vegetables, and mushrooms in a clear broth that was both smoky and delicate. We ate until there was just a bit of broth at the bottom of our bowls, and Sybil said, “My grandson, who’s been to Japan, says it’s perfectly acceptable to sip the last of the broth directly from the bowl.” She raised her bowl to her lips, and I quickly raised my bowl to my lips. I didn’t want to waste even a smidgen of that delectable broth.
Clif had deep-fried scallops in panko crumbs. Again, there was the combination of hearty yet delicate. Along with scallops came rice, vegetables, a salad, and miso soup, all first rate. (I had little bites and sips of what he ordered.) The bill came to $27 for the three of us, and I think it’s safe to say that I have never had such good food at that price. We’ll be back, that’s for sure. In fact, we’ll be plotting for excuses to go to Brunswick—about 45 minutes from where we live—so that we can eat at Little Tokyo.
As luck would have it, right next door to Little Tokyo is Gelato Fiasco. The day was warm and sunny, allowing us to have gelato on the tables outside on the sidewalk. Sybil, Clif, and I chatted about family, books, movies, the Theater Project, trains, and bikes. As we talked, people from other tables chimed in. We admired one woman’s bike, and she told us that her husband bought it at a yard sale for $50. From another woman, we learned that there is a substantial senior citizen discount for the train from Portland to Boston. (Clif almost qualifies.)
“Let’s take the train to Boston!” Sybil suggested. “We can go for the day, and you can spend the night in my apartment.”
“We could go to the aquarium and eat in the North End,” I said.
“What fun!” Sybil said. “Let’s do it.”
And so the seed has been planted for a Boston trip. In September, perhaps, to celebrate Clif’s and my birthday.
If I am lucky enough to live into my 80s, I want to be just like Sybil. She’s devoted to her daughter and family, who live not far away, but she is independent, too, leading a very creative life. Truly, she is an inspiration.