Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Yes, You've Got to Know

When I was in elementary school I was blown away by the stories my sister told me about a night at the theater she had with my mother. Not only was I blown away by how she described the evening, I was also jealous. She had gotten all dressed up in clothes that were normally reserved for Sunday church service, got to stay out late on a school night and got a new album. I listened to her record over and over. It was the cast recording of Mama, I Want to Sing.

Months later the traveling show returned to Cleveland and this time my mother made it a night for nearly the whole family. It was the only time other than going to a movie or dinner that I can recall really going out with my mother, sister, brother, aunt and grandmother. I was so young and everything about the theater seemed so big. It was exciting and one of my first real tastes of a stage production.

My little body gyrated to every song. I was mesmerized by the music and moves of everyone that stepped foot on stage. That night I went home singing every lyric I could remember and reciting every line that would come back to me. Art is life.

I realize this now as I sit here typing and in my head I hear the words to one of the songs I fell in love with that night and wore out on my sisters record. Know When to Leave the Party. All relationships have meaning and purpose. They all offer experiences, good and bad and their processes sometimes can be a party. But one must know when to leave – before the lights go dim, before the spirits run low and while your spirit is still high. You Gotta Know When to Leave the Party.

I’m walking toward the host. I must tell him goodnight.