It’s that time of year when all the big and small towns across our land celebrate the Christmas miracle. Back in my parents’ hometown in Kansas, the 300 residents have been celebrating for years with the Christmas Madrigal Pageant Extravaganza.
This extravaganza is a community production which strives to revive medieval song and spirit. Folks wear period costumes so that the attendees can have a true cultural experience -- or something like that.
It’s an experience worth having so I planned to visit my parents the weekend it was scheduled. Plus, given that I have had a long year of hunting and fishing across this great land, I decided that I needed a little R& R. (Trixie laughs when I tell her how tired that makes me and reminds me that it is a self-imposed torture. I do realize that but, after all, somebody has to do it, right?)
Having been born and raised in Kansas, returning there does have that certain nostalgic feel which is kind of like that feeling you get right before the flu. You feel something familiar but you are not sure if it’s good or bad yet.
The jury is still out on that one. While I was driving from Texas to Kansas, I talked to Mom about our plans for the week. She and Dad are two of the stars of the Madrigal Pageant and she asked if I would be willing to sing in a few of the group songs. I agreed as long as she could wrap the practices around a week of deer hunting, better known as R&R.
“I’ll do anything you need” was my pledge when we hung up.
That, my friends, is the wrong thing to say as you have to always remember that your mother is a woman, too.
The hunt began and I was doing well just minding my own business when suddenly I found myself also added to a madrigal extravaganza skit. Now Ol' Dutch generally knows how to roll with the punches and not wanting the community to lack for proper entertainment, I agreed to add that to my duties.
Another day or two of hunting transpired and Ol' Dutch was flying high having memorized his lines and practiced the songs enough to fake it. But sometimes the most innocuous thing can take on a life of its own and even the most experienced of us at avoiding commitments will find ourselves up to our hip boots in horse poo. Some people call that marriage but that’s for another column
The promised Friday night practice came and went without a hitch and Ol' Dutch was slipping out the side door of the church down a long hall with a sign that said “sinners.” Being somewhat familiar with that connotation I knew it meant me but then realized it said “singles” for the church class Sunday morning.
Either way I fit the description and I slid toward the exit and the football game waiting at home. But before I could cross that threshold into mortal happiness, the director caught Ol' Dutch and before I knew it I agreed to sing two additional solos for the extravaganza.
I tried to tell her that I just could not take on anymore at this time but she is a wise old biddy and knows a person just doesn’t feel right lying in the house of God. So what was I to do?
It was up to Trixie to remind me how selfish it would be for me to deny the good people of Luray, Kansas my incredible talent. That’s her trick for getting me to do something I don’t want to do. I become more handsome, smarter, talented, funnier or whatever comes to her mind in order to connive me into whatever it is planned for me at the time. She’s sly that one.
In the end, Mom was thrilled to showcase her son to the people in the town. And I learned another valuable lesson: the next time a beloved woman in your life – be in your wife, girlfriend or even mother -- asks you if you would be willing to help out be sure and qualify that “willing to do anything” with the qualifier, “almost.”