I'm sure everyone is most likely familiar with the old line given to folks when you want to wish them well - to do a good job. Yesterday, when my stepgranddaughter left the house to go up to the school for their dress rehearsal and special performance of the school's play for the year, that's what I wished her.
The look on her face at first was one of surprise and I asked her if she knew what I meant when I said that. Then she realized what I'd really said and how I meant it and she smiled, said "OK."
And tonight, her dad, my daughter and I attended the kid's performance of West Side Story and I am really happy to say a whole bunch of kids all apparently had wishes like that behind them.
These kids, from a relatively small, rural school district did a superb job on this musical!
And my stepgranddaughter, who had some lines - although not a real "leading role", it was an important one - lots of dancing she had to learn too though, and she came through as a very believable character in the part of "Anybody's Girl!"
For our school district, this marks the sixth year now that they have selected a play - musical - and those kids have worked their collective fannies off for the past three months now learning music, lines, building scenery, props and such and have each year turned in one great performace after another too.
My next-door neighbor, who teaches special ed at our school, has been the director/drama coach for these productions and deserves many, many kudos for a job truly well done. Her son, Daniel, now a freshman at Penn State University, had leading roles in the three productions prior to this one.
The first one of the plays that I was able to attend was four years ago this March when they did "Annie" and Daniel (the neighbor's son) played the part of "Daddy Long Legs" - a role that really seemed to be one meant for him as he is grown to be a tall young man and when he shaved his head for that part - well, he really looked like "Daddy Long Legs."
The funny thing with Dan's shaved head though was that the production that year was the weekend right after my initial diagnosis with colo-rectal cancer and my son had come home that weekend to visit me, to give me moral support, etc. And, although I hadn't begun getting any chemo or radiation treatments yet at that time, as a means of further giving me moral support - in my son's eyes - he had shaved his head.
The following week when I went in to see the doctor who would be doing the surgery on me when the time arrived for that cracked up laughing when I told him what my son had done. As he explained to me, in three months, after I completed the chemo and radiation treatments, because of the type of chemo I was to receive, I would NOT lose any of my hair but my son would probably still be dealing with the issues of having shaved his head.
OK - that's venturing a bit off-course from the play today but everytime I think of any of the plays these kids have put on and that I have been fortunate enough to see, I always think back on that one!
Watching the presentation tonight though, I found myself getting a little teary-eyed occasionally from some of the scenes and the music - I happen to love the music from West Side Story - but also from watching so many of the kids in this production and realizing how old it also made me feel.
My neighbor's daughter, Alina, and another young girl from our church, Leah, were making their final performance as a member of the school drama club since both of them will be graduating in May. And a young man, Spencer, still has I think a year left in school before he will be moving on to college too and who knows where after that. And I think it was seeing Spencer performing that really hit me about my age because you see, his mother and dad were, of course, in the audience and I've known his dad all my life and used to babysit him and his siblings way back when I was about the age that young Spencer is now! Teasing his dad after the end of the play that it made me feel really old to see his son there on the stage and thinking back to when I babysat his dad, even taught the kindergarten Sunday School class when his dad was about 5 years old, Spencer's dad, Tom, reminded me that he understood fully what I meant because he and his wife, Leesa, are about to become grandparents about a month from now of the second grandchild!
Sheesh! Were did those years go anyway!???
Seeing this play and knowing how hard those kids and the others who had all pulled together to make this enjoyable evening possible also made me think of what great training it has to be for the kids in the Drama Club too. What a great way for them to learn even a smidgen of self-confidence in their abilities. What a great way for them to have that to think back on too for all the memories they have to have acquired and the camaraderie it will foster in them that the will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
It just makes me very proud to see how many kids did "break a leg" today! And here's hoping the performance tomorrow night and Sunday are every bit as successful as was this one tonight!
Congratulations to the West Branch Drama Club for having shown their audience an excellent presentation of "West Side Story" and for showing what great skill, talent, creativity lie within them, just waiting for someone to bring them together, work with them and make them all shine like the stars they are!
And of course, the Bushism for Friday, March 30th as well as the weekend Bushism for Saturday, March 31st and Sunday, April 1st. Here they are, folks.
"There's no question that the minute I got elected, the storm clouds on the horizon were getting nearly directly overhead." - Washington, D.C.; May 11, 2001.
"It's going to require numerous IRA agents." - On Gore's tax plan; Greensboro, North Carolina; October 10, 2000.