Friday, October 16, 2009
On Friday evening, after I arrived by train in New York from Connecticut and settled in at my hotel, I headed back to Grand Central Station to meet Tobias and his partner, James, near the big clock in the center of the main floor. As Tobias said, there were so many people gathered around, it was like Grand Central Station. We met and headed for the bar section of The Oyster Bar until our table was ready.
I saw James and Tobias in Anaheim, but I didn't spend much time with James. I suppose that he was very busy, as he has an important job at 815, from which he will soon be retired due to belt-tightening by the national church. Tobias was, to be sure, quite busy, too, but we ran into each other twice in the cafeteria and had lunch together. James and Tobias are charming company. What could be better than an evening of drinks, excellent company, sparkling conversation, and good food?
We shared calamari as an appetizer. For the next course, Tobias had oysters on the half shell, and James and I had a spicey clam chowder. I tasted one of Tobias' oysters, which was good, but Louisiana oysters are better. I have not yet found oysters anywhere that are as delicious as those from Louisiana. Since the appetizer and soup pretty well filled me up, I was glad that I had ordered a crab salad. The big chunks of blue crab meat mixed with fresh greens, tomatoes, and a nice dressing, made for a heavenly salad. I can't tell you what the others ate, because I was swept away by my delicious crab salad.
I told Tobias and James the story of FDR's visit to New Orleans during Robert Maestri's term as mayor of the city. Maestri, who had only a third grade education, threw a dinner for FDR, which included oysters in the menu. As they were eating, Maestri leaned over to FDR and asked, "How ya like dem erstuhs?" Oh, the horror! What did FDR, with his patrician manner of speaking, think of that?
Tobias took the picture below without being able to see what he was snapping, but he got us centered on the second try. He looks to have gained about 10 pounds during the meal. If you've seen other pictures of Tobias, you'll know that he is quite slender.
Tobias, James, and me
Altogether a lovely evening.
And as a special treat, below is a picture of Tobias in another life, his life as an actor. Yes, that's Julie Harris in the picture. Tobias played Tad Lincoln in James Prideaux's "The Last of Mrs. Lincoln", with Julie Harris as Mrs. Lincoln, at the Kennedy Center Opera House and the ANTA Theater on Broadway (1972-3). How about that? More than two years ago, before I knew Tobias at all well, I boldly posted on his life in the theater after a bit of snooping around and internet stalking. Here's the post from June of 2007. Be sure to read the comments.
Julie Harris and Tobias Haller