WOSTER: Grandkids, relatives, friends make for a full weekendLast Friday, Nancy and I left town in time to take in the Brookings High School’s production of “M*A*S*H.” We’re big theater fans, sure, but our primary reason for traveling 200 miles to see a high school play was because our sophomore granddaughter played Lt. Janice Fury in the BHS production.
By: Terry Woster, The Daily Republic
I used to really enjoy watching the old television series “M*A*S*H,” and I liked the original movie quite a lot, even if it took me a while to understand that some of what was going on was commentary on the whole Vietnam Era.
Last Friday, Nancy and I left town in time to take in the Brookings High School’s production of “M*A*S*H.” We’re big theater fans, sure, but our primary reason for traveling 200 miles to see a high school play was because our sophomore granddaughter played Lt. Janice Fury in the BHS production.
This isn’t a critic’s review. Let me just say it was wise of the director to give Lt. Fury’s character a considerable amount of stage time and quite a few speaking lines. She was excellent in the part, says an unbiased playgoer. For grandparents, any production — play, vocal concert, band performance or ballet recital — is much more appealing if their grandchild spends a lot of time in the spotlight.
I’ll always remember how Nancy’s dad used to grumble as he sat beside me on hard, metal folding chairs in the old Pierre City Auditorium, waiting through dance number after dance number for the one that included his granddaughter. In high school plays, I’ve discovered, it’s pretty easy to sit through the rest of the scenes, just as long as you know your special one will be coming back on before the final curtain.
We stayed overnight, and in the morning, we watched a couple of “M*A*S*H” reruns with our granddaughter. I was thinking I should engage her in some deep conversation over what meaning she took from the play she’d just spent weeks rehearsing, and I had every intention of doing that. But the episode we started watching included a young Korean War soldier played — to my surprise and enjoyment — by a very young Patrick Swayze, and I simply had to watch as he developed the character through a plot line that included the soldier learning he had leukemia as he tried to give blood for a wounded buddy. I know a lot of Patrick Swayze shows, but I hadn’t known he ever appeared in this one.
After a couple of episodes, we had to hit the road for Chamberlain to be around the house as our senior granddaughter prepared for the Chamberlain High School prom. This young woman surely was the loveliest of the bunch at the prom, and she smiled through picture after picture after picture. By the time she and her date left the house, the digital cameras must have recorded the equivalent of a month’s worth of film, for those of us who remember when cameras used film.
While the granddaughter and her date were dining, my son and I drove over to Reliance and caught a little bit of the Greater Lyman Foundation’s fundraising event. My cousin Red McManus was one of the key organizers, and my big brother helped get Mogen’s Heroes to show up to play music after the meal.
(Ahem) I mention that because John Mogen graciously invited me on stage to do a song. Brother Jim did several songs, but he’s a regular with those guys on the fair circuit, so that wasn’t unusual. I was a newcomer to the show. John asked what I’d like to sing, and I told him “Runaway” by the late, great Del Shannon.
“In the original key, I suppose?” he asked.
“Ummm, yeah, sure,” I said, semi-confidently, as if I had a clue what the original key might have been.
This isn’t a critic’s review, but I thought the song didn’t go as badly as it could have. The band was solid, at least, and Del Shannon’s reputation isn’t in danger of being eclipsed by anything I did.
Well, then. Finally, Nancy went to a Sunday afternoon shower for our college-senior granddaughter, whose wedding is late in June. After that, we hit the road for home, driving through a miserable rain and wind storm from Chamberlain all the way to the Vivian turn. Nancy’s Prius is a low-profile little thing, but the wind still threatened to tear the steering wheel from my hands now and then.
I’m lucky I have a steady job. I don’t know how many weekends like that I have left in me.