Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Go Go Go Joseph

My week started with my strains of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat in my brain.   I would be thinking of something else completely but would suddenly realize my thoughts were being accompanied in the background by “Jacob, Jacob, and Sons” or “Poor, poor, Joseph…” or some other memorable melodic phrase. I don’t remember experiencing this phenomenon so intensely before, but it was a pleasant two-day aftermath of a quick one-day trip to Nashville to see and hear granddaughter Leslie performing at the Larry Keeton Theater there.
Jeannie came in slightly after midnight last Thursday on her way down to Nashville for the last weekend of the show.  I had just gone to bed when I heard her quietly letting herself in the unlocked front door.  I’d gone on to bed because I had begun to be a bit nervous as she had texted me she was on her way down with stops along the way.  I knew that probably meant bike-riding stops; and being a mother, I can easily start imagining someone being assaulted or passing out on a bicycle trail somewhere. To not allow myself to worry, I decided to go to sleep and when I woke up to go to the bathroom if Jeannie wasn’t in the house, then I’d call Rick and start praying. (Actually I had already said prayers for her safety just in case she needed divine help.)   But blessedly my motherly fretting was unfounded because soon she was here and in bed, and without greeting her, I drifted into sleep.

As we breakfasted the next morning, she offered to come back to take me to the closing night of Joseph as she knew I would like to go. That seemed like a lot of driving to ask anyone, so I asked Gerald about the possibility of his taking me to Paducah to cut off a couple hours driving time for her.  He immediately sweetly assented, and that is what we did with a lovely lunch at Olive Garden before Jeannie and I repeated her trip to Music City and Gerald went back to the farm.  Gerald and I had visually feasted on the newly blooming red buds all the way to Paducah, and the spring sights intensified the further south Jeannie and I traveled.

We arrived in time for a leisurely visit with Leslie and Mike, and I was more than pleased with their new home in the city.  A large lot with a big back yard, which they had fenced for their dogs Millie and Sidney was in a neighborhood with well established beautiful trees.  The one in their side yard with ivy climbing it really took my eye.  Inside a lovely staircase and hardwood floors welcomed us.  Since they have not started work on the two upstairs bedrooms, I didn’t accept the invitation to go up, but I loved all the hard work this young couple and their friends have already accomplished on the first floor. Kitchen counters that their two fathers helped Mike install one weekend were beautiful.  The new gray couch selected for the family room with its gray tile flooring that Mike put down there and in the kitchen was quite lovely and comfy. Newly painted walls and redone furniture all spoke of hard work and good taste.  Jeannie had an errand to do and I took a little nap after Leslie calmly packed a small bag and took off for the theater.  She loves to sing and entertain, and she does so without any show of nervousness or diva self centeredness. 

The Larry Keeton dinner theater is just one of many activities located in FiftyForward Donelson Station, which as I understand it was once a school building. I think the theater is in the former gymnasium.  Now guests at the many tables are served dinner by various youth groups taking tips for their hard work. Thus, these kids are given a theatrical experience while they fund raise. I have never quite figured out the organizational structure of this Senior Center for the Arts, but it offers many educational, performing, and exhibition opportunities for not only older adults but for all ages.  Impressive volunteer efforts are apparent throughout the Center and illustrate what a community can create working together.  

Large white dogwoods in full bloom lined the front of the building as we entered to settle in for the upcoming show.  We hadn’t come for dinner, so we sat in back seats as the curtains opened for the sing-through performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s kaleidoscopic styles of music ranging from ballads to county to calypso and more.  Tim Rice’s lyrics retold the Genesis story of a boy who was Jacob’s favorite son of his favorite wife Rachel. Flaunting his favored status and his beautiful coat of many colors, Joseph so irritated his brothers that they sold him into slavery and told Jacob a wild animal had killed him. The Ishmeelites sold him down in Egypt to Potiphar.  Joseph was a successful slave until his attractiveness brought attempted seduction efforts by his owner’s wife.  Innocent Joseph was thrown into prison and it seemed his life was ruined.  But his ability to discern the meaning of dreams reached the ears of Pharaoh, who delighted us theater goers with his Elvis Presley impersonation and delighted Joseph by putting him second only to himself in the kingdom.  The predicted famine came about and brought Joseph’s brothers down from Canaan to buy grain only to find their brother was now as powerful as he had been in his childhood dreams.  Their repentance and Joseph’s forgiveness brought a reunion with Jacob, played by Larry Keeton himself.  The musical ended with the feel-good emotions reconciliation brings about.

Our feel-good emotions came from hearing our Leslie in a role she had long had on her to-do list. Narrating in song throughout the performance, she lived up to the critic who had written, “Her vocal quality is pitch-perfect, strong and simply lovely.”  After all the ending hoopla and recognitions, she and the rest of the cast were yer to strike the set and clean things up for the next upcoming production.  After hugs and goodbyes, we left to fill up with gas at the station next door to the theater, and Jeannie expertly maneuvered us through the city and onto to Highway 24 back to Illinois. We were back at Woodsong shortly after midnight, even earlier than I sometimes arrive from Katherine’s when I help out there.  When I woke up the next morning,  Jeannie had just pulled out of the driveway on her way up to visit Elijah and go to church with him.

Just as we had Friday night when we watched Georgia win 6-1, that afternoon Gerald and I ate in his office as we watched the Louisiana State University website to follow the third game in the weekend softball series. Gerald had watched Saturday night’s tie game, which we lost 5-4 while I was in Nashville. Sadly we lost again on Sunday 13-11 making us now 35-8.  Katie Brown, who had grown up just south of Baton Rouge, showed her stuff with two home-runs and so did Tina Iosefa, one a three-run homer.

Georgia will be in Atlanta tomorrow night playing a non-conference game against Georgia Tech, and it will be shown on ESPN3.     


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