Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mystery, Mayhem and Murder

Judy comes out before the over sold out, PLUS audience with 95 people crowded together into 12 tables.  The crowd is loud and laughing and drinking.  There are children, parents, grandparents, couples, friends and strangers packed together.  Judy is dressed as if she has walked off of a dig, pith helmet and all.  She works the crowd, drawing them into the plot of the story and then she ends by saying, "Murder".  

From behind the curtain you hear the cast, 'dumdumdumdum".  Judy laughs and then yells, "Mayhem" once again from behind the curtain, 'dumdumdumdum".  And with a big gesture, Judy shouts "Mystery"  and again 'dumdumdumdum".  The audience is awake, they are intrigued and ready to be entertained and to be detectives.

"I like them hard, I like them stiff, I like them better if they are horizontal"  Is how the play first sings out as Fraulein Marlena works the crowd.  It is a song about killing her boyfriends, even though it happens whenever she is out of town.  

And then we are off and running, like the Kentucky Derby yesterday.  Swords slash through the air, the crack of a pink bull whip, constant gun fire, snakes, death, mystics, grenades, cat fights, spies, heroines and villains, jewels and artifacts, "Stellllllllllllllaaaaaa!"  Yes we rip off lines from famous movies, "I don't need no stinking map" And mayhem like a roller coaster swoops up and down and twists and turns tossing the story line this way and then that.  Racing off until the Chief of the Liechtenstein Police comes in and whips things back in shape and Virginia Jones, aka Stephanie, tells the story of how all the pieces of the puzzle finally come together resolving all the issues.  

And how much fun we have.  And each night the cast gets a little wilder, reads the audience a little better and knows just how far to push it.  And the audiences laughs and boos and participates in the play.  A room with more then 100 people come together to play.  

Play, what a wonderful word.  And after all the work, how much fun for the final product to be a play, to play, and to come back each weekend and do it again.  Oh Colin, thank you for teaching us in the stage company that is the most important thing that we bring to our audiences, play.  We miss you Colin, and some of our profits will go in your name towards a scholarship from this play.  And that gives us a smile to wear over our tears of you not being there with us.  

And we serve the food, and fill the water glasses, clear off empty drink glasses and then each courses plates and utensils.  Ms Moon was there dressed in a black skirt with a white blouse with a red apron, and Sweet Ms Jessie comes to help also.  She is dressed in a similar outfit as her mother, but with her hair braided into two braids, each resting on a shoulder she looks like she might be a waitress in Marlena's Lichtenstein Cabaret for real.  Fred and Marcy video tape the show, and then serve plates and clear tables.  Daughters of actors, friends of the Opera House and Stage Company members all volunteering to wait on our audience, with a smile, if not an occasional fork flying through the air or a plate crashing to the floor.  Judy works the crowd, Denise and I carry trays and serve plates, pick up trash and smile at the audience and try to make them realize how much we appreciate them for being at the Monticello Opera House, playing with us.  Carolyn serves every Saturday night, Gretel, the bar tender in the play has her daughter there serving.  Gretel's parents are here to watch their daughter and to celebrate their 42nd anniversary.  As we serve the "just desserts" Judy announces that their is a telegram and Gretel comes out and reads it as an announcement of the Anniversary.  Janice our beautiful and talented pianist plays a rousing number on the piano and everyone there joins together to applaud and murmur about the joyful celebration. 

People coming together in a world of fake believe.  And as they leave they are laughing and talking.  They have been entertained.  They have had a delicious meal made by Carrie Ann & Co. and served by volunteers who love this old Opera House, who give back to our community by earning money to keep our building standing and thriving, to give people from all the local communities a reason to come together for a few hours and enjoy life and the talent in our area.  How lucky we are to have this place to play.  Such a small community, about 14k in total in the county, but we have an Opera House, built in 1890.  And she is a fine strong building.  A place where anyone has the opportunity to walk across those old worn boards on the stage and sing or dance or act and after a lot of work, to be a part of a group that loves each other and feels so very grateful for the time together and for what we bring to our community.

And then once the show is over, it is a mad rush to clear the tables, wash the dishes, pile up the napkins and table cloths so Ms Georgiana can wash them for us.  Then we gather around an ever expanding circle, eating, drinking, laughing, reliving the high points of the show each night.  Celebrating the play and our parts in it.  

And next weekend we will put on two more amazing performances and on Saturday night we will be relieved that we have made it, that it is done.  And we will be sad for our time will be over.  But then it will be time to start working on the radio play, then the Poe Readings for Samhein, then the Bedroom farce.  Endings replaced by beginnings.  It never ends, a new play is always just around the corner.  The need to build sets, don costumes and memorize lines waiting for the next opportunity.  To play.  To share.  To move another person with joy or tears, laughter or puns so bad the audience can not help but yell out "Boo"!!  The theater.  

Another reason I love being a part of this joyful life is that one of my Mother's legacies to me was an amazing wardrobe.  Silk Chinese dress, authentic to the hand made frogs, the Family tartan, A hand painted Hombok (Korean dress), furs and a velvet opera swing coat, evening wear that sparkles and shines with beads and sequins.  And then I have Indian attire gifted to me by my dearest Geeta.  Last night I wore a 1960s white silk with simple white, and gold beads dress.  It is a vintage vintage dress.  In other words it is made in 1960 to look like it was made in 1920.  Where else do you wear something like that then to a play?  All part of the drama we spin as part of the evenings entertainment.  

Then exhausted we trudge out to our cars, hug these dear beloved friends and head to our homes to finally lay down and to rest.  And for me Friday night I had a phone call with my Vicki so  sleep came with peace.  And then last night another phone call, this one from the imaginary boyfriend and I feel asleep with a smile on my lips and in my heart.  Joyful and happy after an evening of play.  How can you not be grateful to have this life.

I had a woman last night make a comment about my dress and somehow it turned on me saying about my lung cancer.  She took my hands and told me she believed in miracles and that everything would be fine.  I squeezed her hands and told her the miracle was being blessed with the disease and that thank you very much, I was not going to worry about what will or will not happen, I am just grateful for the moment to be in a white silk beaded dress, clearing a table of Bavarian cream bowls surrounded by people I love, and people who had come to see our play  with people they loved, and how much more of a miracle would anyone want.

I almost feel protective of my cancer.  People want it to go away.  I can't think that way, because it is like wishing you had a smaller nose or bigger breasts.  You can go to a doctor and they can fake believe a change, but you have changed something unique about yourself.  Maybe for the better in cases in that you feel better about yourself, but not always better.  Stage 4 Lung cancer is controllable for some, but once it has become this much of you, it will never go completely away.  And I just want to live with what I have.  I just want the cancer to continue reminding me how lucky, how blessed, how gifted I am.  I want to live long enough.  I have no idea what that is at the moment.  Not forever, just long enough.  I just want enough life to play and garden and read and love and nurture those I love and laugh with my friends until I make that snorting noise.  I want to taste my favorite foods and look out at a glorious day.  I want adventure and surprises and knowledge and work and to feel that my life is worthwhile.

And my life has been worthwhile.  I have made small differences here and there.  I have tried not to tear down, but to build up, to give to make better.  I live with peace near my heart and as much as I realize that for my cancer to disappear it would be a bigger miracle then peace in the middle east.  I still whisper hopeful prayers to the universe that everything will be what it should be.  And peace can be obtained by working together and believing.  And once that has happened in my world, then I will whisper a small prayer to let me live long enough to enjoy it.  And to be grateful that I have already seen peace come about in small and special pieces of this puzzle of life.  But until everyone finds peace, the world will not have peace.  

I am doing my part each day, remembering to find peace, and share that peace whenever I can. So I made a pasta spring salad for Garden Circle and zen cookies.  And I will go to garden circle and share joy and laughter and happiness with my friends there, and we will eat and drink and look into each others eyes and make plans for the next week and the next year and I am so grateful that I am one of them.

Then I shall celebrate Mother's day with ms Moon and those of her family who can come out to the Casa Luna this evening.  Surrounded by sweet dear love ones.  And tears will be held back, voices will be choked as we wish Sweet Ms Jessie a safe journey to Asheville to her Vergil.  But she will be back.  I know that girl will come back at some point and bring her babies to her momma and daddy.  And Vergil will understand and he loves Jessie so, they will find away to stretch out their arms and hold both sides of their new family together and close to their hearts.

Just like Susan and Jim are with Annie as she walked across that stage this weekend and earned her degree.  And Annie and her brother Jim will smile and laugh and be close.  As close as you hope your children could be.  To love and respect each other.

I will pot plants and sing songs and dance and then lay down in my huge bed with my "kids"  Bob will sleep protectively by my side all night.  Harry will need help getting his 112 pounds of dog on the bed, and I will lift him up, for the hour of so that he will sleep with me before getting down and finding a place where he is not crowded.  A king size bed with more then one person in it is just too small for Harry.  

And I will hang my bells and put pictures on the next post so you can see these lovely pieces of art, gifted to me in a random act of kindness.  Next weekend P and J will come to the play.  P is having a little trouble with his chemo.  So am I.  That is just part of cancer.  It is not all sick or all well.  You are constantly go back and forth.  Hopeful one moment, scared the next.  But I have no need for fear.  I am surrounded by love and joy and everything I could ever hope for.  Well, maybe a few more people to share all of these gifts with would be nice.  And that will happen too.  And my world continues to expand with such gifts and love.  Stage 4 Lung cancer, with a mutation to be special.  That is one piece of my puzzle and a piece that has given me so much to be grateful for.  How can you be mad or angry when you have been given so many more gifts then what the disease could ever take away from me.  Yes, even my life.  For when my life is done, it will be time.  And I will have so much to go with me.  Such love and bright white shining energy for a life lived and appreciated.


  1. And you were the epitome of bright and white shining beautiful light last night.

  2. Everyone should have this perspective of appreciation and affirmation, because every moment of life is precious and none of us knows when our end will come, or how. So it is all too easy to become careless and waste one's life. Thank you for being so generous.

  3. It is difficult to accept the well-meaning comments of people about illness and death. You have come to a place of acceptance and have a strong desire to live your life fully. That is a great place to be. I love your strength and joy.