Highland Bowl, sometime between 10:18am and 11:23am, April 21st, 2016
After having jumped a creek and had a ghostly close encounter of the Brickyard Trail kind, my beloved daughter Audrey wished to visit the Highland Bowl where she enjoyed many a childhood idyll sledding on her past trips to Rochester. This vacation she wanted to continue the tradition.
When hearing of her aim, my brother condescendingly chided: Audrey, I know you live in California and don’t experience snow. But there is no snow in the Highland Bowl in the third week of April. To which my geographically astute daughter rebutted, but there is snow in April when we go to Bear Valley. Very well then, muttering under his breath, but it’s a fool’s errand.
Not as foolish as she appeared, all day Audrey had been tracking a very odd meteorological phenomena developing in the Genesee River Valley. When we approached the crest of the Bowl, Audrey was entirely vindicated. Taking after her engineer mother, Audrey quickly built a snow person (as we say in northern California).
And Audrey made new friends amongst the other Rochestarians also tracking this rare occurrence. I might add I half expected Dear Rachel to be reporting live, but after her henchmen were routed on the Brickyard Trail, her absence was characteristic.
Yet, there were more meteorological surprises. In an instant, a snow eating Chinook [a type of foehn wind. Refers to the warm downslope wind in the Rocky Mountains that may occur after an intense cold spell when the temperature could rise by 20 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of minutes. Also known as the Snow Eater] descended upon the Bowl and the snow was turned to dust.
Audrey’s excellent adventures were just beginning. Like millions of northern Californians, Audrey had read of the collective rebuilding of the Shakespeare Players’ set last summer. And the heart breaking theft of Goethe’s bust. And the life affirming stories of the Father’s Heart in the Bowl and the healthy food stands near the Bowl.
First, Audrey regaled us with a one girl performance of All’s Well That End’s Well as she has committed every Shakespeare play to memory (with the exception of a couple of the minor tragedies). And then adding a little more light that spot in Highland Park — even if temporary — giving the forlorn headless Goethe a smile.
From there, it was the Spanish-American War Trophy Cannon. Having read my brother’s PhD thesis on the Spanish-American War turned into a screenplay (in which she has charitably overlooked its plentiful blemishes), to my dismay Audrey climbed the cannon. At first, I was envious. But ultimately, as a pacifist, I encouraged Audrey to see the cannon for what it was: an oppressive emblem of the phallo-military-industrial-complex.
Our next stop was Mt. Hope Cemetery. Audrey had read the fascinating account by James Caffrey on Adelaide Crapsey. Audrey paid homage to Adelaide. Then Audrey knelt before graves of a Spanish-American War widow and two soldiers, Bright and Schaeffer. If Audrey lives as long as Catherine S. Frenchman, she will see the 22nd century.
We then revisited the nearby site where my brother had acted as Jack the Ripper at the Rochester Candlelight Ghost Walk. Looking too gleeful and self-satisfied for my taste at the terror he had sown, my brother peered upon the scene of the crime. Audrey felt this was the time for Talker to finally be rendered mute if not moot. For all future submissions, contact Audrey B. in San Carlos, California.Next we swooped over to the University of Rochester where I had been the very evening before attending Noam Chomsky’s lecture (which only confirmed my convictions about the phallo-military-industrial-complex.)
The University was bustling and much on the rise. In California, I have heard several parents of high school age children consider the University. Audrey herself has mentioned attending the University’s Dental School later in her academic career. Of course, I would prefer she join the magazine as a cub reporter or photojournalist (regardless of salary), but I won’t stand in the way of her dreams of a lucrative occupation on the medical field.
Our last excellent was the Lower Falls. I explained to Audrey that George Payne and others are working to make the park a National Heritage Site by 2020. Audrey heartily approved and now hope to spend parts of a future summer — like WPA volunteers before her — beautifying the Lower Falls. Audrey did take a moment to rest on the seat of Forgetting and Remembering. Who can forget Audrey!
BY LESLIE FRANCES KRAMER (Author of “Visiting a Talker haunt”)
THE EXCELLENT ADVENTURE BELOW