Few of us have thought much about Sebring, Florida. Perhaps some knew of a famous road race held there, but not much else. So little attention was paid when the news flashes reported the killings of five people in a Sebring bank. Of course, similar occurrences happen frequently in this land of the free. Sebring is a backwater so there’s no reason to give these particular murders much note. I, however, did pay attention. I have spent many hours in Sebring. The parents lived there, and the spouse and I owned their residence situated in a quiet and friendly little neighborhood. I wondered if the parents had ever gone to the bank where the shootings had happened and what their reactions would have been if they still lived there. But then my attention was diverted. Almost simultaneously with the slaughter, the president was promoting a new slogan, “Build a Wall and Crime Will Fall.” The Sebring shooter, reports indicate, had moved to central Florida from Indiana, and I wondered if the president was going to propose the building of a wall along the Ohio River, the Hoosier State’s southern border.

 

Many sources reported that China landed a rocket on the dark side of the moon. Of course, this was wrong. One side of the moon does always face away from earth, and we terrestrial-bound humans never see it, but that side of the moon is not in perpetual darkness. It gets sunlight as much as the side of the moon we can see. I am glad to say that while many sources had it wrong, many more correctly said that the rocket landed on the far side of the moon.

 

I saw Carol Channing, the Broadway legend who died recently, live but once. It was on Broadway, but she was not in a play. She was in a play’s audience, as were the spouse and I. It was the commedia del arte play Scapino with the effervescent Jim Dale. The production was at the Circle in the Square Theater, where the audience sits on three sides of the stage and the audience members can see each other. Miss Channing was in the section off to our right, and she sat, as Carol Channing ought, with wide eyes and an open mouth during the entire performance. A bevy (that doesn’t seem like the right word; perhaps a “handsome”) of young, good-looking men sat with her. She looked as if she enjoyed the play. I know that the spouse and I did, partly because the performance contained a special moment. A running gag throughout this romp of a play was that any character exiting the stage would bid his fellows “Ciao!” Then everyone on stage, seriatim, would say “Ciao!” As intended, this chorus of six to ten “Ciaos” started to get laughs. The magical moment came after this was done for the dozenth time. After the litany of “Ciao,” a sweet, quiet, but confident “Ciao” came from the front row of the audience. An adorable six-year-old, beaming boy had called it out to the exiting player. The cast could not help themselves; they struggled not to, but they broke up in laughter, and we in the audience broke up, too, laughing a prolonged and uproarious thank-you to the entire enterprise. During the curtain calls, Jim Dale remarked on the special audience, special performance, special afternoon. And we shared this unique moment with Carol Channing!

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