Volume 3 Book 5 Part 6 of
Living in the Bonus Round
(The Big Voice Chronicles)

A private home near Rochester NY.

[ Book 3-4 ] -- [ Pt 1 ] [ Pt 2 ] [ Pt 3 ] [ Pt 4 ] [ Pt 5 ]
[ Pt 6 ] [ Pt 7 ] [ Pt 8 ] [ Pt 9 ] [Pt 10 ]
[ 11 ] [ 12 ] [ 13 ]
June 4, 2003.
A Castle in New York.
Imagine for a moment that you're 12 years old and you have an idea for not just a house, but a castle. And at this age of 12, you design the entire house. Then you spend the rest of your life building that very house. Well, that's what happened to the man (and wife) we had dinner with tonight. The entrance to the driveway which was at the end of a longer driveway leading from the country highway.

With scary lions out front:

You design the walls so that they are self-supporting... that you can have a huge fireplace and central family room.

You dream that those walls would be made solely of stones found on the farms around you. Stones that you will collect yourself.

Then at age 15, you find a way to collect these stones, one a time in exchange for doing heavy backhoe work.

You wake up every morning and work. You go to school. After school you work throught the night digging up huge rocks. The farmers are thrilled to get the rocks off their property.

You decide that all the woodwork in the central living room will be made from a single oak tree on the property. Over the years, you become an engineer. You are also, with your wife, building the house. Not only is she beautiful, but she's smart and you both believe in each other.

I think Sue Fink looks like Joanne Woodward.

Dick and Sue instantly make you feel at home (I've met them several times before.) The warm roaring fireplace warms the chest so richly here in this unusually cold, wet spring. Dick is standing next to me in the above pic. That beaming childlike smile of his is ever-present. Sue is in the middle and that's Ann Marie from the Downstairs Cabaret hugging Jimmy.

I liked getting a chance to just hang with Chris & Ann Marie away from their work. They're so busy. Producing a small theatre with three stages in a depressed downtown -- to bring light to a darkened thoroughfare -- takes all your time, all your energy.

Chris Kawolsky, Producing Artistic Director of
Downstairs Cabaret Theatre. Rochester, NY.

Steve Schalchlin and dragon gargoyle.

Chris and Ann Marie out front.

We also had a quintessential Dick Fink moment. See, he has this great mind. It's the kind of mind that, if given a puzzle -- no matter how crazy -- he will sit and cogitate the problem until he comes up with the answer. Sue said their son, Richard IV (an accomplished musician, composer and singer in its own right) constantly drives his dad crazy by asking him, for instance, how many moons would it take to fill Jupiter. And sure enough, out of the blue, no matter how long it takes, he'll just cite a number. (It's kinda mean but in a good-natured way. The love between father and son and mom is palpable.)

Inadvertently, Jimmy precipitated the Dick Fink Moments. He was admiring the house and hearing all the stories about the stones and the walls, when Jimmy remarked, "How many stones are there in this house?" Dick said he didn't know.

I said, "No! Don't ask him a question like that." I heard Sue laughing behind me. But it was too late. We could see the cogs turning in Dick's head. He mumbled, "Let's see if there are 20 rocks per..." I didn't get the rest. Anyway, we went into the house, had appetizers and cheese, talking about the house, about the theatre, about stuff in general.

Then we finally went to dinner, got almost all the way through dinner when Dick suddenly snapped up, got this light in his eye and said, "Approximately 7 thousand, 8 hundred!"

To which Jimmy replied, "I don't want an approximation. I demand to know the exact number!"

On Tuesday morning, I recorded an interview on AIDSJourneys (, an Internet radio program hosted by Rev. Bob Weiter, a pastor in St. Louis who is, like me, living with AIDS. It was supposed to be an hour but we got on so well, and had so much  to talk about, that we ended up talking for two hours. So, he's going to cut together two one-hour interviews and include music from the Bonus Round Sessions and Beyond The Light CDs.

I believe he said the first installment should run this coming Monday. Bob wrote that the program also runs on other radio networks:

One World Radio site is: .  The "One World AIDS Radio" network site is:

You'll note that we've had several "Editor's Picks" both on the One World Network and The One World AIDS Radio Network -- Some displayed on the first pages, others with the Achieve link.  You can find some of our past programs by searching under member "Aidsjourneys Radio/ShalomCare".  We're listed as a "member" rather than a network.  Only the programs that  are distributed to either of the One World Networks are accessible from their site.

We also carry programs produced and distributed by other agencies and stations.  Please pass the word in your groups.

So there you have it. I think it will be a good interview. It's been awhile since I've had a chance to just sit back and think of all the adventures detailed this diary (and so many that weren't).

[ Book 3-4 ] -- [ Pt 1 ] [ Pt 2 ] [ Pt 3 ] [ Pt 4 ] [ Pt 5 ]
[ Pt 6 ] [ Pt 7 ] [ Pt 8 ] [ Pt 9 ] [ Pt 10 ]

© 1996-2003 by Steve Schalchlin.
You have permission to print from this diary and distribute for use in support groups, schools, or to just give to a friend. You do not have permission to sell it.