What a difference a few miles make

If you’ve ever lived in the DFW area, there are a few “truths” you take for granted. The first is that Dallas is more “cosmopolitan” than Fort Worth. The second is that there are some folks who absolutely will not cross county lines. There are more, but it basically comes down to a difference in the “feel” of the two cities. That’s something that was brought home to me yesterday.

You see, yesterday marked a return to normalcy for my household. Since Mom fell and broke her femur just below her hip, we haven’t done many things we used to do. One of the is going to the symphony. Before she fell–and it’s been almost a year and a half–we regularly went to the Dallas Symphony or the Dallas Pops with friends of ours. But afterwards, we had to worry about her rehab first and foremost. Then little things we once took for granted came into play: how far would she have to walk from where we parked (even if we valeted) to the symphony hall? Which would be better for her to take: wheelchair or walker or rollator? How long would she be able to comfortably sit? Then rinse and repeat as we try to get from our seats back to the car? Oh and that other little thing of going to the bathroom during intermission–would there be enough time for her to manipulate her walker/wheelchair through the crowds and get back on time?

We finally decided it was time to try it. But, because of offerings between Dallas and Fort Worth, our first outing to the symphony this time was to Fort Worth. After consulting with our friends, we chose for this new reality of ours a tribute concert to John Williams at Bass Hall. The short version is it was a wonderful concert and Mom was able to deal with all our concerns with minimal problems. So yesterday was a victory on many levels.

The more involved description starts with our entrance to Bass Hall. Since we haven’t really done anything like this since, well, Covid lockdowns, it surprised me to have to be wanded and have my purse searched as we entered. Not that I’m complaining. They had it down to a science and were quick, professional and nice about it. Score one for the Bass.

The hall itself is gorgeous. It’s a bit smaller than its Dallas counterpart, but that’s not a negative. The only negative about the hall is that its acoustics aren’t quite as good as Dallas. Again, not a deal breaker because they were still good.

When we reached our seats, two ushers were there to not only help make sure Mom got settled all right but to take her rollator so we didn’t have to worry about it. Just before intermission, one of them returned it to us and they held traffic to give Mom a chance to stand, get in place with the rollator and start up the aisle.

And no one groused, complained or said anything about it. This is business as usual for the Bass.

But where my jaw hit the floor was when the conductor came onstage. The concert master had already tuned the orchestra. As a long-time patron of the Dallas Symphony, I expected the program to begin when the conductor took to the podium. Instead, he lifted his baton and on the downbeat the orchestra played the opening notes of the National Anthem. The audience stood, hands went over hearts, and everyone faced the flag on one side of the stage.

And they sang.

They sang proudly.

Years ago, when I used to go regularly to the Fort Worth Symphony, they did the same thing. Color me jaded, but I had no idea they still did it and I can’t tell you how it moved me yesterday.

Once again, no one complained, no one mocked. They stood tall and proud and I wish we saw more of this.

The concert itself was great. Music, all from movies John Williams scored, ran the gamut from Peter Pan to Lincoln, from Raiders of the Lost Ark to ET, from Harry Potter to Star Wars. It was played with love and finesse and the conductor was personable and knowledgeable as he spoke about many of the pieces as well as Williams’ long professional relationship with Stephen Spielberg.

After the concert, we spoke about the experience with our friends who went with us. We came to the conclusion that Fort Worth is still more relaxed than Dallas. But it was more than that. The staff at the Bass was more customer oriented, more attentive about the little things than their counterparts in many of the Dallas venues. It all combined to make for a wonderful day out. One that proved to Mom (and to me) that with a little planning, we can return to this bit of normality in our lives.

Hope you guys had a wonderful weekend. Don’t forget to check out my Substack later today for another snippet (and I do mean later. I forgot to get one scheduled. So I need to do that but it has to wait until I run some errands this morning.)

Until later!

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