Stephen Evans

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Stephen is a playwright and author of The Marriage of True Minds and A Transcendental Journey.

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I don’t know how my mother came to choose the little blue house at 7 Bowie Court. But in choosing it, she changed her life, and the lives of her children.

From 1957 to 1967, we lived in that house. The Copelands were next door at 5 Bowie Court. And unlike the other houses in the court, our front doors faced each other. That access and proximity facilitated a friendship between my mother and Mrs. Copeland that lasted almost 60 years, a relationship that continued and even grew in closeness after we moved across town. As I grew up, and after, they taught me what friendship meant.

Somehow, despite (or because of?) raising seven boys between them, they seemed constant companions. This included 20 plus years or so swimming in the mornings at the Rockville Pool and 35 years of Meals in Wheels (my Mom driving, Mrs. Copeland delivering).

My mother (on the left in the photo) loved to drive and Mrs. Copeland loved to explore, and they took countless trips together, usually just afternoon drives out into the country (there was country then) or up to Westminster for tea. One very special trip they both talked about for years after: down to Asheville North Carolina and over the mountains to Gatlinburg Tennessee. It was one of the things that my mother remembered longest.

Mrs. Copeland (I never could call her Ann) loved music and the arts, and had a fine soprano voice. She would frequently accompany my parents to my performances in Annapolis or elsewhere, and was well known to my performing friends. She had a discerning ear, but was effusive with her praise. When I turned to writing, she was just as supportive. And with her generous heart and love of arts and beauty, she was a continuing inspiration.

After Mom died, Mrs. Copeland would continue to call us, always apologizing for not calling sooner, asking how we were, deflecting our questions about her health, encouraging me to write, and always with the spirit and warmth and humor we had known all our lives. We have now lost a cherished presence, and a link to our past. But for me, the memory and lessons of their friendship will not fade before I do.

Recent Comments
Rosy Cole
A wonderful tribute. Such people are woven into the fabric of our being for ever.
Friday, 24 February 2017 12:48
Stephen Evans
They were quite a pair ... Read More
Friday, 24 February 2017 21:55
Katherine Gregor
What a wonderful gift this experience gave you. Thank you for sharing it with us.
Friday, 24 February 2017 21:36
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4 Comments

A Bit of Entertainment

 

James is lying on the couch, watching a movie dubbed in Spanish. Hola Butch. Hola Sundance.

Paula sits at the kitchen table, reviewing and sorting a stack of mail. She is armed with a sterling silver letter opener with a handle cast in the image of a snake swallowing its tail, probably a wedding gift, since no one would ever buy one like that for themselves.

Paula rips open an envelope, shredding the paper with the dull not quite tarnished but slightly discolored blade, then dumps the envelope in the recycling bin next to her. She fans out a stack of coupons like a deck of cards, then chooses one.

“Here’s a coupon from that place.”

She waves the coupon in the air like a flag of truce.

James doesn’t move.

“I thought we didn’t like that place.”

“No, that's that other place. This is the place that had that good...”

“Oh, that place. That had those little...”

“Right. Anyway, I’m putting it in the coupon drawer.”

Paula sets it in one of several piles of coupons. James emits his trademark snortlaugh.

“Future generations will thank you,” he says.

Paula turns, lifting an eyebrow. After all, it is James who insists on letting his life choices be driven by random postal discounts.

“What does that mean?”

James sighs, but manages to elevate off the couch. He crosses to the coupon drawer and pulls out two handfuls of old coupons.

“In ten million years, an alien archaeologist is going to open this drawer and find coupon fossils. It will conclude that we foraged on these during the winter.”

He is suddenly curious.

He tastes one.

It's not bad.

“What do you suggest?” Paula asked.

He grabs the latest coupon from the pile.

“I suggest we use it now. I’m still hungry.”

James goes to the phone and attempts to dial while holding the coupon three inches from his face. He succeeds, having had much practice because he can’t find any of the twelve pairs of reading glasses he has placed carefully throughout the apartment.

Paula slices open another envelope, surgically extracts another coupon, and makes another contribution to the recycling bin.

“Hey look, we either won a new Cadillac, a microwave oven, or a genuine cubic zirconium ring.”

“Oh, I hope it’s the ring,” James says while nodding his head to the on-hold rhythm. He is shocked into awareness by a voice.

“Yes hum uh hum we’d like to order yes I can hold.”

Paula deposits the coupon in an alternate yet carefully chosen pile.

“Do you think all zirconium is cubic?”

“I mean, where would we park it?”

“The ring?”

“No, the yes we’d like to order 555-2424.”

Paula rips another envelope.

“Couldn’t there be triangular zirconium?”

Paula examines the phone bill.

“Wilson, yes. How’d you know that?” James asks.

He covers the phone and whispers to Paula.

“How’d they know that?”

Paula places the phone bill in the bill pile. The envelope flutters down into the bin.

“Octagonal zirconium?”

“Yes, we’d like to order one of those good...”

She opens another one.

“Dodecahedral zirconium.”

“You knew that too?”

He covers the phone again.

“I think I called the Psychic Pizza Network.”

He uncovers the phone.

“And make sure it has lots of those little...”

She tears the envelope in half and releases it into the bin.

“You’re not listening to me.”

“I’m experiencing the miracle of modern technology.”

“Tesseractal zirconium.”

“How long?”

“When eternity just isn’t enough.”

“That’s a long time.”

She tears the picture up and tosses it in the bin.

“It is with someone who doesn’t listen.”

“No it’s fine. Thank you.”

He hangs up.

“I could make it myself in less time than that.”

She rips opens another envelope.

“But then it wouldn’t have those little...”

The envelope flutters into the bin.

“True,” he concedes.

Copyright

© Copyright Stephen Evans 2017 All Rights Reserved

Recent comment in this post
Rosy Cole
Magritte in prose! And what a fine-tuned ear for marital converse :-)
Wednesday, 25 January 2017 18:29
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1 Comment

To the New Year

Make no promise.

Fill the heart.

Fill with time

For friends and art.

Fill with hope

In place of fear.

Fill with light

by which to steer.

Recent Comments
Katherine Gregor
Amen to that. Happy New Year.
Sunday, 01 January 2017 17:19
Rosy Cole
Luminous! Limpid! Vital! Looking forward to more of these musings.. And thank you! :-)
Monday, 02 January 2017 10:23
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2 Comments

H. L Mencken on Democracy

In view of recent events, I thought I might try and explain the American electoral process for my friends in other countries. But perhaps Mr. Mencken, another scribe from just up the way in Baltimore, does it better:

"I enjoy democracy immensely. It is incomparably idiotic, and hence incomparably amusing. Does it exalt dunderheads, cowards, trimmers, frauds, cads? Then the pain of seeing them go up is balanced and obliterated by the joy of seeing them come down. Is it inordinately wasteful, extravagant, dishonest? Then so is every other form of government: all alike are enemies to laborious and virtuous men. Is rascality at the very heart of it? Well, we have borne that rascality since 1776, and continue to survive. In the long run, it may turn out that rascality is necessary to human government, and even to civilization itself - that civilization, at bottom, is nothing but a colossal swindle. I do not know: I report only that when the suckers are running well the spectacle is infinitely exhilarating. But I am, it may be, a somewhat malicious man: my sympathies, when it comes to suckers, tend to be coy. What I can't make out is how any man can believe in democracy who feels for and with them, and is pained when they are debauched and made a show of. How can any man be a democrat who is sincerely a democrat?"

(Read the entire entertaining diatribe here: http://xroads.virginia.edu/~drbr/mencken.htm)

I should add that I am not quite so cynical about democracy myself. I still hope for the better, if not the best.

 

Recent Comments
Rosy Cole
But what it all boils down to, I suppose, is the old adage: If we want to see the change, we must be the change.... Read More
Thursday, 17 November 2016 07:54
Stephen Evans
I'm not sure Mencken would see ti that way, but it sounds like a good start to me.
Thursday, 17 November 2016 19:28
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2 Comments

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