The Actress Named Jane

To Jane:

I guess being articulate runs in our family. Do you remember I won district in high school debate two years and was in speech and drama? I could always think on my feet and speak without notes. It is something I do naturally. That skill was something I used as a grownup, too, when giving training classes to clients or status presentations to angry or idiotic executives. Sometimes, to intelligent and kind “big wheels,” who do exist. I digress again.

Like me, you had the proverbial “gift of gab” and used that talent on stage when you were in high school—like father, like daughter.

As does any actor or actress, you had major and minor roles. In the British styled, comedic farce, The Murder Room, you were one of the leads named Susan Hollister. I think that play was the one your class did the dinner theater thing with—the food was okay too as I remember.

As far as your lesser roles went, you were the little kangaroo, Roo, in Winnie the Pooh and hopped about the stage with the other characters in “Poohstumes,” shall we say. The floppy ears you wore were most noticeable. Perhaps the more memorable minor role was your character in Sweeney Todd, getting killed off ostensibly to make English-style meat pies. I’ve made meat pies before, but not using people as the filler.

Regardless of the role, MeeMaw, Stephanie, and I would drive over and watch the plots unfold on Colony High School’s auditorium stage. We would go in, see you before the play, get our program, and have a seat. The play would be announced, and “the show would go on.”

Afterwards, we would talk to you—and Roger, too—out in the hall and sometimes take pictures of you in your thespian garb. Finally, we would say our good-byes, give you a hug, and drive back to Cowtown with the memories of the play still in our heads.

You played more than one part in all of those plays, some big and some small. You had to act out different characters and situations for the audience at hand. You did it well, I might add.

Life is like that, too. Over time, you will be a student, a young adult, a parent of young kids, and later a middle-aged parent watching your own kids act in their own life’s theater.

In that way, life, like the theater, has many stages to act on until your final curtain call will fall. So play your parts well, so the ultimate review written by The Great Theater Critic In The Sky will be “well done” and remembered fondly by those still acting down on Earth in life’s dramatic and eternal theater.

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