Friday, February 19, 2010
I had a blast (That's me, above, in the pink dress!)!! Grease is a wonderfully fun ensemble show, and even though this fell during a very fragile period in my life, I must say my memories of performing that summer are beautiful and sweet, indeed!
The entire group was exceedingly talented (Fred had a LOT of connections!) including a guy named Jim who portrayed one of the male "greasers" (that's him, above, pretending to "comb" his pompadour!). To say Jim was energetic would be like stating that Buckingham Palace was a big house. Jim was a human SPARK PLUG! You know that Looney Toons cartoon that features the big, fat bulldog sauntering down the street, while a tiny, yappy, happy chihuahua circles him and jumps over him? That chihuahua was JIM!! He was in constant motion! He talked loud, sang loud, performed loud, and lived...LOUD!! He also possessed an enormous heart and was loved by ALL of his fellow cast members, we just needed to remind him to "sshhhh!" every once in a while!
Jim told one stupid joke after another that night, and Melanie sat smiling at him, hanging on his every word, throwing her head back and laughing deeply after each punch line. It was clear that she adored this crazy, loud, attention-starved boy. I remember feeling such happiness that night as I observed both of them. "See Joan," I said to myself, "there really IS someone for everyone. Maybe there is hope STILL that you will find your soulmate!"
At the end of our successful, fun-filled run, we performed our last show, gave each other reluctant hugs goodbye, and promised we'd all stay in touch. Someone told me a little while later that Jim and Melanie had just learned that they were expecting their first baby! I remember thinking, "Boy, that kid is going to be EXHAUSTED!!"
About eight months later, however, I received news of a different kind. It seems that Jim had been working two jobs to help save money for his baby. Late one night, while driving home from one of them, exhausted, Jim fell asleep at the wheel, crashed, and was killed instantly. He would never see his son.
She was sitting in a chair, and as I knelt down to speak to her, the grief I saw displayed on her face hit me like a punch to the gut. I blathered something about "calling me if she needed anything, I mean ANYTHING...day or night..blah, blah, blah," then hugged her tight and left, disgusted with myself.
During the funeral service at the church, I watched as the clergyman approached the pulpit to say a few words. He didn't do much better than I. He mentioned all the typical things; Jim's in a better place and we should grieve but still move on, yada, yada, yada. You could actually feel the grief in the room intensify with each empty word.
Mark, now laughing, told the congregation that he would never forget the image of all of them piling into the car, his poor weepy sister hopping along behind them, and driving to the local police station where "the prisoner" was finally freed!
And then, just like that, an amazing thing happened. That entire church, including Jim's grief-laden widow, was laughing. HARD!! We all chuckled deeply, hugging our sides, remembering our silly friend. Of COURSE!! THIS was EXACTLY what Jim would've wanted -- laughter!! I glanced over at Melanie, still smiling, as she wiped away her tears and sighed deeply. I wanted to run up to that pulpit and KISS Mark for what he had done for her, for all of us.
What about YOU? What would YOU like to have said at your memorial service? What story would YOU like to have told?
I hope my eulogist mentions my deep respect and love for the animal kingdom, my enormous heart for the elderly, and the amazing stupidity loyalty I possess that allows me to root for the same horrific, embarrassing, losing NFL football team year after year after year...
Thanks for Reading!!
- Anything Fits A Naked Man
- Nashville, TN, United States
- Welcome to my blog! I'm Joan, a former actress attempting to reconnect with my first love of writing. Join me as I ponder my Irish dad, sweet grandma, GPS dependency, hatred of the Hallmark channel, and other insightful topics that make you go, "Hmmm..."
- Last Trailer on the Right
- Missing Sunsets
- Compassion Meter
- Ethel the Tatooed Lady
- Cheese, Mushroom, and Saliva, Please!
- Good Grief
- Terror at Gettysburg
- Can You Say, "THREE-PEAT?!!"
- Worth the Wait
- "SNOWPOCALYPTIGEDDON" for ME!
- Homecoming Schmomecoming!!
- Postcards from the Bottom Rung
- Singing Praises
- Pink Plastic Real Estate
- ▼ February (14)