Peg and I knew the weekend was going to wear us out, but then isn't that what adventures do? This three day adventure involved a movie, a first-time visit to a deli, and in the English Music Hall tradition: a Panto. It also involved two kingdoms and a number of princesses and a couple of princes.
After meeting with radio talk-show host Terry Belieu at Denny's for breakfast near Parkland, I continued on through Puyallup to pick up three Doman grandchildren by son Patrick. On the way back to the Northend, we stopped at Safeway for donuts and groceries . . . and looked over the available DVDs for rent.
The two granddaughters and one grandson played much of the time and then created art with Peg. I cooked sausage patty sliders for dinner, which everyone enjoyed and then we headed to the movie theater to see Tangled. The Walt Disney Animation Studio film is a reworking of the classic fairy tale, Rapunzel. The story revolves around magic, monarchy, and mahem.
The film is one of the best Disney features I've seen. It was warm, funny, and the story moved along very nicely. The grandkids loved it, too. My favorite character was Maximus, the horse belonging to the captain of the guards. The animated features of "Max" were a delight. Giving inanimate and non-human creatures human qualities is something that Disney has perfected from 1928 and beyond.
Everything works out for the young princess with the long golden hair that works miracles, the thief who stole her heart, her parents, the people of her kingdom and everyone who deserves to be liked.
After watching the movie we stopped in at Safeway and rented Toy Story 3. The kids played for awhile and then went to bed to watch the video. This gives Peg and me time to regroup . . . and recoup.
The next morning I cooked a big breakfast and watched the children while Peg worked on client newsletters. We traded places just in time for me to watch the Husky football game with the Cal Bears. Our departure time to pick up the second load of grandkids was delayed until the final play of the game when the Huskies won with touchdown on their fourth and last down. We then rushed off to son Del's home to pick up three more granddaughters and introduced them to Leila's Deli. I think this was their first time at a real deli.
The rain was pouring down when we arrived at Leila's. I saw a small parking lot across the street from the deli and was about to pay $5 for my parking space. A passerby offered me his free parking spot on the street, but it meant walking another hundred feet in the rain (both ways). Five dollars didn't seem like that big a deal with the rain coming down. I thanked him and slipped my money in the pay parking stand. After crossing the street we noticed that we could have parked free in the little complex where the deli stands. Oh, well. Next time we'll know.
The deli was open a little later than normal to accommodate a sports event at the Tacoma Dome. They try to do this for each major event at the dome. This was the high school football semi-finals, which had quite a few people attending. We entered the deli door and grabbed two tables and moved them together to form one larger one for the eight of us.
Leila's owner, Lu took our orders. We ordered two pepperoni pizzas for most of the girls, a special sandwich for Bailee, a Reuben for me, a Philly Cheese for Riley, and a Bratwurst for Peg. I got out of there for just under fifty dollars (including tip) for two adults and six children aged from five to twelve. I think you'll understand what a great deal it was. The girls loved their pizza.
Once Peg saw bratwurst on the menu she pretty much made up her mind what she was going to order. It was the kind she likes (white-ish in color and made from veal), served on a good roll with decent German mustard. My Reuben was perfect and served with potato salad and thousand island dressing. I washed it down nicely with two bottles of Thomas Kemper Root Beer. Riley explained that his dad doesn't like Thomas Kemper because it contains honey, but that didn't stop him from draining his bottle as well. Lu pointed out that she serves Mexican Coca Cola made from cane sugar, which many people prefer and even told me where I could buy some at a discount. I like Lu. She's going to open up for breakfast soon. I'll have to stop in for biscuits and gravey (both made from scratch).
Riley had been a little worried when he ordered his Philly Cheese from Lu. She assured him that the peppers in the sandwich would not be too spicey for him. I think they must have been red bell peppers and like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the peppers must have been "just right." Three times he told me, "This sandwich is good." He had great designs on almost all the food. He figured he would eat half of his older sister's sandwich and a number of pieces of pizza in addition to his own sandwich and chips. In the end he took home his second half of sandwich, ate one piece of pizza, and never had the opportunity to try his sister's sandwich.
Lu's other business is Wild Indian Fish & Fireworks in Yelm. She sells smoked and fresh salmon. Give her a call at 253-xxx-xxxx or stop in and see her at Leila's Deli by the Tacoma Dome (no longer operating). I don't think they have any problem selling their salmon inventory.
Leaving Lu, we drove in the pouring rain along Hylebos Waterway and up the winding road to Browns Point. The rain meant I had to concentrate on the road and so missed much of the beauty of Commencement Bay and the city of Tacoma at night. The CenterStage Knutzen Family Theatre is located on a bluff overlooking Puget Sound and Vashon Island by Dash Point, but carries a Federal Way address. It is a great theatre and it's obvious the community is proud of it and their productions. We try to go as often as we can . . . and bring other people along.
Our little group was among the first people to arrive for the evening's performance of Sleeping Beauty, which was done in the English Music Hall style of "Panto." Our three little girls (5,5, and 7) met up with another little princess aged 4. The four of them began dancing and playing together. They were a little exuberant, but weren't disturbing anyone. A member of staff quickly inroduced herself to the girls and had them sit on the window ledge and explained that their help was needed. In the play there would be a dragon and to protect their family they would need to "Boo" as loundly as they could when the dragon appeared. They practiced and then the staff member mentioned that after the play she would be happy to take their photographs.
Did I mention exuberant? Peg and I like to arrive early to get good seats, so the children were left with many minutes to fill. These are mostly well-behaved children, but they have their sitting still limits and at times need to be reined in. Prince Riley was having a great time with the girls. He threw his head back in mock laughed. He teases, which of course he learned from his older sister. He read the program through a couple of times and then he began looking for mischief as Peg and I tried to sit the girls down quietly in the lobby to wait.
Riley's younger sister found the mischief. She has the Doman genes. She began crawling under the chairs in the lobby. I decided that as long as she was just crawling under the chairs we were occupying it would be fine . . . besides I didn't have the energy to stop her. Plus, she was so cute. I laughed, read my program and kept a close eye on my watch praying for the doors to the theatre to open. I finally saw movement in the crowd and we gathered up coats and programs and headed into the theatre to find our seats.
We chose seats in the second and third row. The managing director Alan Bryce came over and suggested for the little girls it might be better if we moved a few rows higher. We took up one row and two empty seats on the end and another row of two seats. That way the two twelve year olds could sit together away from the little ones. Riley sat between Peg and I. Just before curtain time, Bryce returned to the theatre and explained the tradition of the English Panto, which makes good use of audience participation. We were instructed to cheer for the heroes and boo the bad people. Each time Prince Michael from Normandy Park was introduced, the men where to shout "hooray," and then the women were to shout "whoo, whoo." When the evil fairy, Vuvuzela came on stage we were to boo and if we really wanted to irritate her, we could call her by her real name, Maureen, which she hated. Of course we had great fun and there was tons of laughter. Prince Michael was played by a young woman, and Nurse Nelly was played by an older man. There were plenty of puns and comedy.
I think our group's favorite bit on stage was a scene where Nurse Nelly starts off by singing a short, short song of what she would be if she were not a nurse. As she finished she was joined by Prince Michael, who did the same, followed by six others. As each new person added their version the group in unison would sing out their versions each with it's own choreography, which tightly fit into the chorus line of actors. It was hilarious and perfectly executed.
Near the very end of the production there was a song involving not only audience participation, but volunteers to go on stage. Granddaughter Sophia marched down and joined the actors on stage. All the volunteers (young children) held up signs to help with the complicated lyrics. At the end each was rewarded with a small bag of chips from a woven basket. When it came to Sophia's turn, the basket was empty. She had a sorrowful look on her face and then one of the actors walked on stage with big bag of Tostitos. All of this received lots of applause and laughter.
After the curtain calls, the audience was treated to a reception in the lobby with the actors. The staff person whom we had met on entering the building had her camera and she gathered the girls for photographs. Riley mingled around with the crowd looking at the actors.
As we drove the first group of grandchildren home our car was filled with chattering, giggles and singing as all of the kids tried their hand at figuring out the lyrics of the chorus line song. This took about thirty minutes. As we drove the second group home, the car was filled with silence from the back of the car as the girls drifted off to sleep.
This was a successful adventure and one that our grandkids will talk about for years to come.