Monday, December 24, 2012

May and Joe and Curtis

(Image courtesy of Rosebud Theatre)
Saturday was the TH's annual Christmas Event. Twenty-nine of us braved nasty weather conditions to get to Rosebud Theatre for the matinee performance of May and Joe.

Here are a few glimpses of our group enjoying the meal and each other's company before the performance:

The Rosebuds who serenaded
us at lunch ...

From the Director's Note:

It's Christmas, when we dare to entertain the notion that mystical things could happen ... The story we're about to share with you is a little fiction that ponders what would happen if something entirely miraculous happened to a couple of people like you and me. What if it was possible? Dreams, miracles, and most compelling and maybe even frightening, love that enters our lives from beyond our limited understanding. Would we change? Would we wake up to our everyday with more sight, more compassion, more wonder? Would we embrace one another with more of an understanding of our mutual significance? (Morris Ertman) 

It's the story of a young man and a young woman and a pregnancy that she spoke of as a "miracle" and her fiancĂ©'s natural scepticism. He is impatient and impulsive and tender-hearted  In the middle of a fight he gets her a peppermint hot chocolate and a doughnut. She is principled and courageous and tender-hearted. She notices and mourns when he hits and kills a mouse on the road.

It is also the story of Angel, a guardian angel who had, some 2000 years ago, protected a Baby from the murderous wrath of a king but who, in the process, had not been able to protect the other male infants from being massacred. Angel had been unable to reconcile the horror with the heroics, the devastation brought on by the deliverance, and as a result he had retired from guardian duties. He meets May, who can see him because she has faith in the true meaning of Christmas; and he gets involved - almost against his will - in protecting this young couple and doing his part to make Joe (who can believe in UFOs but not angels!) see the truth and, in doing so, open his heart to the fullness of joy and love he had missed out on until he believed.

It was also Curtis's eighteenth birthday.

Curt brought his resume to me one week after he turned 14. He was shorter than I and, much like Angel, had little or no confidence in his ability to succeed. Even as he tried to spread his wings he would panic and withdraw. I remember once, early on, after he had filled three glasses of water and was preparing to carry them out to our Ladies table, he called me over and said, "I don't think I can do it."

Everything changed the day, several months later, that one of the ladies came in and said, "Erna needs some help getting out of the car."

"Can you go, Curt?" I asked. He demurred a little bit, because he didn't know how he would be able to help her; but in the end, he went out. He wrapped his arms under her arms and hoisted her out - and in that moment, two things happened. All the Oldies loved him and he became "our boy"; and he realized that, actually, he could succeed in what he tried to do.

Curt and Erna on the day that changed everything

He has never looked back. This child - as I still call him - is now 6 feet 1 1/4 inches, lean and handsome, and can run the entire dining room by himself. Our guests look forward to seeing him. Even last night, when he had taken the day off to celebrate his birthday with his family, people who had come from Drumheller asked me, "Where's our boy tonight?" Everyone reports back to me the funny, clever things he says to them and how well he has taken care of them at the table.

He can do almost everything in the kitchen as well, from carving meat to making and decorating desserts. He is a great influence on the new people as they are being trained. The words that everyone quasi dreads to hear from him, though, are "Rookie Mistake!" when there is something they slip up on. He has come through for me on special events when I have needed someone experienced to back me up.

In watching May and Joe I saw elements of Curtis in all three characters: Joe, the super cool guy who has a heart bursting with love and wants to do the right thing; May, who has a simple faith and wants to share it with the one who means the most to her; and timorous Angel, who bears the weight of those children who lost their lives, who cares more deeply than most of us can begin to imagine, who second-guesses himself - but whose wings hold strong and steady in the end. 

Curt is the person in terms of sheer calendar time who has worked the longest at the TH, not counting Brenda.

Oops: I don't think THIS was taken inside the TH!
He is the one who notices when people are having a bad day or aren't as responsive as they normally are.

He's the one who says to me when I'm fading, "Karyn, are you drinking water?" - and then goes and fills a glass for me.

He's one of the people who can get everyone working together in harmony.

I am starting to face the terrible truth that academically he's leading the pack and so there's not a very good chance that he'll fail Grade 12 four times, like I keep hoping. I'm starting to try to picture a TH without Curtis looking after "his" ladies or the President and Mrs Long or Pastor Ironside, or the Komorowskis or Ed and Ted or the Wiebes or the college girls or Coach and Mrs Coach.

I'm going to miss overhearing him talking with great kindness to the little boys who come in and look up at him in awe. He's discussed field trips and shinny and soccer and how hard grade one math is and which is the cooler teapot - Global Warming or the Pirate one.

I'll never be able to forget the occasions he has come to me with a burden on his heart for one of his friends. I want to be able to forget the pain I have glimpsed on his face when someone has hurt him - and I'll always remember that he never whines or complains; rather, he seeks to find a reason for the person who is being less than a friend.

After the play we went to the Rosebud Country Inn, where our friend BJ Janzen had pie, hot drinks and birthday cake for us to fete Curtis.

BJ with Alyssia (L, one of the TH's old girls!)
 and sweet Amy (R)

BJ bringing out the cake
Happy Birthday, Curtis!

With three of the five people who mean
the most to him (Karla and Barry at
another celebration)

Opening presents from the TH
in anticipation of college life

As our celebration came to an end and we pulled on coats and mitts and nerve enough to get us home on those slippery, snowy roads, my heart overflowed with gratitude for Curt's Oma, who got the ball rolling when she called about a job for Brent, who in turn has had the biggest influence in his little brother's life (and yes, Curt, I use the term "little" only in relation to age, not height!). I am thankful for his parents: the old-world gallantry and gentility of Oswaldo, the new-world determination and drive of Jackie, the unconditional, sacrificial love and careful direction each of them has bestowed on all three of their children.

And most of all, I am thankful this day for Curtis. He is self-effacing and funny (for example, after he had opened all his red kitchen appliances, someone asked him if my red handbag was really his. He reached over and took it, commenting without missing a beat, "Yes, but I prefer to call it a satchel ..."); kind-hearted and loyal; quick on his feet but slow to anger.

I am so proud of his many accomplishments and of the privilege of observing his maturity into manhood. 

As we left the theatre, hanging above the door was the little mouse. He had earned his wings. He was soaring!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you,Karyn
    It was wonderful and thank you, Karyn, for all you have done for my children. You are truly an angel in their lives and are loved.


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