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Tuesday, Sep. 30, 2014

The stage not taken

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Just prior to Christmas, I had the opportunity to go see the Garnett grandchildren in a church program. The neat thing was that all three were going to be involved.

The oldest boy was a drummer, so he played softly in the background as the children acted out a Jamaican Christmas story. The drama queen granddaughter had a speaking part as one of the islanders. The youngest grandson, age five, was to be Joseph, and had a prominent place on the stage along with Mary and the Baby Jesus.

I met the family at the church and right away I could sense that there were some serious conversations going on. It seemed that 5-year-old Joseph had decided he did not want to play his part. First his sister tried to convince him that he needed to be on the stage since he had gone through all the practices and knew the words and the songs. Then his mother was leaning over, talking very quietly to him about how he needed to be on the stage; I could see him shaking his head no.

Shortly thereafter, he disappeared into the choir room, and at which time his mother said to his dad, "Why don't you go in and see if you can get him to do his part?" Dad said, as he looked through the window of the room, "There are already three women talking to him. I'm not sure I'll do much good at this point."

By the time the play started, Joseph was in the pew sitting by me. Only now he was thoroughly embarrassed that he didn't go on stage, so he covered his head with his coat much like an ostrich puts his head in the sand. I guess he was pretending he wasn't there.

Every once in awhile he would pull his head out from the coat, look at the tableau that was going on at the front of the church, and duck back under the safety of the jacket. Late in the production there was a musical number with all of the children singing, and I kept hearing a little hum underneath the coat; he was singing along.

We were commenting that at least according to this production, Mary was a single mother because Joseph had apparently skipped the celebration. By the end of the program he was able to emerge from the safety of the jacket and applaud along with the rest of us as the Jamaican Christmas program came to an end.

At this point, I'm not sure that a career on stage is in his plans.

Dick Hedges
Fort Scott Community College