Our administrative assistant Sarah Stone reflects on her experience driving the Schieffers to and from Staunton for the 2017 American Shakespeare Center Annual Gala.
The plan was to get there fifteen minutes before I needed to be there, but I pulled up to their building five minutes late. The whole way to DC in my little grey car, I could hear my dad’s voice in my head reminding me to be focused and calm when operating a vehicle, but sometimes it takes a lot of energy to heed that advice he gave me so many years ago.
Today, I was stressed about the heavy traffic and the timing kerfuffle, but the cobblestone drive, the circular fountain, and the uniformed doorman calmed me down. “I’m here to pick up Bob and Pat Schieffer,” I told him. “I’ll just use my cell to call them to let them know I’m here.” He nodded and stepped back into the lobby while I waited for their voicemail greeting to finish. Then, as if he had taken my initial words as a request, the doorman presented The Schieffers and their luggage. We loaded up – Bob in the front and Pat in the back – and started the journey to Staunton, VA.
You know who knows how to get around DC during crazy events? People who live there. Amid roadblocks and half-naked runners, I would have been lost if Bob and Pat hadn’t steered me beyond where my iPhone was telling me to go.
Once we got out of DC, the conversation flipped from frustrations about DC traffic to excitement about the ASC Gala, college life, various productions of Hamlet, and books (those we’ve read and those Bob has written). As I-66 turned into I-81, we discussed the beauty of Virginia, the delight of Staunton, and any imaginable opportunities that lie ahead. And dogs. We chatted about our dogs.
“What kind of dogs do you have?”
“Two mutts, both about 30 lbs, which makes them great apartment dogs. What kind of dogs do you have?”
They’ve always had beagles, but they haven’t had dogs for 13 years.
We’re nearing Staunton, but amid roadblocks and witches and wizards, I wasn’t worried about getting to the Blackfriars Playhouse to drop the Schieffers off for the Gala rehearsal. Because you know who knows how to get around Staunton during the Magic and Mischief weekend? People who live here.
I dropped Bob and Pat off at the entrance to the Playhouse and waved goodbye. I saw them briefly at the Gala, but between conversations and pictures (and a starring role in the Gala performance for Bob), they were in high demand.
After brunch the next day, I picked Bob and Pat up from their hotel. After we pried Bob away from a few conversations, we three loaded into my little grey car and started back for DC.
“I’m relying on you two to be my GPS,” I said. “Is that OK?”
Pat smiled. “We’re just going back to our house? Oh, yes, we can get you there.” Good.
Our conversation started with my hopes that they’d had a good time at the Gala, which was greeted with enthusiastic (but exhausted) comments about what an enjoyable evening it was. We reviewed the people they met, the things they learned about the theatre, and the possibility of coming back to see Hamlet at the ASC after the New Year. As I-81 turned into I-66, we discussed the various unions associated with the performing arts, Pat’s newly acquired producer credit, professional next steps, and coffee.
Traffic started to bottleneck as we reached DC; there were fewer roadblocks, but just as many delays as there were the day before. With the turn of the wheel, the car entered the serene environment of Bob and Pat’s driveway. As we got out of the car, the doorman greeted us: “Same girl!”
“Yep! Same girl as yesterday!”
Bob and Pat got out of the car and collected their belongings. We hugged, and I agreed to call them next time I’m in town for any length of time.
“You were a good driver,” Pat said as they turned to go into the building.
“Thanks. My dad would be very pleased to hear that.”
I waved goodbye, got in my little grey car, and quietly drove back to my two 30lb mutts in Staunton.
Sarah Stone is from Cleveland, OH and lives with her husband and two dogs in Staunton, VA. She likes to talk about food, classics, and rules that are bendable.