Day 2, Thursday, November 9, 2017
Thursday morning, I went over to Chick and Ruth’s Delly (yes, I spelled that the way they do) for breakfast. I learned what scrapple is, and honestly it didn’t sound very appealing… In case you don’t know, it is a Pennsylvania Dutch creation; a mush of pork scraps and other trimmings combined with cornmeal, wheat flour and spices. It is formed into a loaf, then sliced and fried. So, I guess it is kind of like spam, which when I finally did try, I liked, so maybe I should have tried scrapple, but I didn’t… I did have a delicious breakfast of eggs and sausage (without scrapple) and a fabulous mimosa for $2.99.
If you visit Chick and Ruth’s, you will undoubtedly notice that that there are bagels hanging from the ceiling… Why? Well, the answer isn’t nearly as intriguing or mysterious as you might think… According to an explanation on the wall, in the 1960s, the lights were pulled on and off using strings – but sometimes the strings would get caught up in the lights or on the pipes. They weighted the strings with the bagels. Of course, after a while, they became known for it, then throw in a scavenger hunt and pretty soon, the bagels stayed (although if you look, you will notice they aren’t actually hanging from the lights anymore)… So there you have it…
After breakfast, I wandered over to the Naval Academy to see the museum on the grounds. This is a fascinating museum!
The top floor of the museum had a whole bunch of models of historic ships, going back about 400 years. These are beautiful models!
The museum also has about two dozen models made almost entirely of bone. These models were made by French POWs who were held in England during the Napoleonic Wars; they collected the bones from the meals that they ate as prisoners. They vary in size, as well as the level of detail in each particular model – some are extremely elaborate! They are really beautiful too.
The first floor of the museum gives a fairly complete history of the Navy. There are exhibits on how the Navy was established, the activities and campaigns that Naval units have participated in, life in the service, and various significant figures in Naval history. They have artifacts that range from class rings to sabers, historic flags, items possessed by Naval officers, and pieces of significant ships throughout history. It is a really good museum, and I spent quite a while there taking it all in.
After the museum, I got a late lunch at a sushi restaurant and wandered around downtown a bit. And I took a nap!
That evening, I went to a play called 33 Variations, that was being put on by The Colonial Players, the local Annapolis community theater. The play was about a woman who was researching Beethoven for a book. The topic was the 33 variations that Beethoven wrote in response to Diabelli’s request to write a variation of his waltz. Diabelli was a well-known composer and music publisher who sent a request to several Austrian composers, asking them to each to submit a variation on the waltz he had written, which he was going to compile into a book to publish. In case you were wondering, this part is all true, historically…
The woman in the play examines the reasons why Beethoven wrote the variations, and the emotions they evoke. She becomes obsessed with the project and begins frantically working on it, even as her body is shutting down due to the effects of ALS. The play draws parallels between this woman’s frantic struggle to finish her life’s work in the face of her terminal illness, and Beethoven’s obsession with composing before total deafness takes his hearing. The parallel theme in the play is the woman’s relationship with her daughter, with whom she has a strained relationship. They both try to come to terms with their relationship as the woman’s death becomes more imminent and her body shuts down.
As with many community theaters, the set design was bare bones – they switched out the stage in the middle of the round theater several times. They did a great job with it! The play was very powerful and moving – the pianist evoked quite a bit of emotion with his playing of the variations throughout the play. I certainly had tears in my eyes a couple of times.
The play wrapped up a little after 11 and I walked down to a pub that was still open for a late dinner/snack. I had an appetizer of crab balls and a Tröeg’s Harvest Ale, a hoppy ale with hints of citrus; both were delicious! I talked to the bartender a bit about the area, as well as Washington D.C. It was a fantastic day!