Just like a lot of other people, I ingest news on a daily basis, from every possible media source. Internet, television, newspaper and radio. The ‘paper’ selling headlines are filled with death, destruction, and unthinkable crimes. The race for political office, millions of illegal aliens, mass murder, ACLU this, ACLU that.
Tonight, I went to an elementary school talent show. I’m not going to tell you the exact location of the school…just in case you work for the ACLU. I actually showered and shaved beforehand and wore a nicer pair of shorts for the big night out on the town. As I got out of my car and walked towards the school, I began to question my own personal hygiene checklist. But then it dawned on me that the odor was, in fact, recently spread chicken manure on a nearby field and not my normal bathing habits.
The gymnasium was packed. Fortunately, I had connections that had saved me a seat— front and center. Tickets for free elementary school talent shows are not easy by which to come, so I had to pull a few strings.
Much to my surprise, the talent show actually began with what was described as a ‘very abbreviated PTO meeting’. As usual, at the beginning of any big moment, I was a little bit confused. I was looking around for Jim and Tammy…and their manager, band director, MC guy with the perfect, man-bouffant, naturally grey hair. OH, P.T.O.! Well if I seemed surprised that it was a parent-teacher meeting instead of an evangelical television show, then they appeared equally surprised when I proposed two new amendments to the constitution of their organization. Not knowing me or my parent -teacher intentions, both proposals were instantly shot down.
Next is what actually spurred this urge to write.
The director of the program instructed us to ‘join together in the Pledge of Allegiance’. Faces turned towards the American flag hanging on the gymnasium wall, men took off their hats, 350 hands were placed over a heart and all the voices spoke as one. I cannot ever, at this point, help but think of all that we have which is so good, those who have fallen so that we can enjoy these benefits, and how good it is to be an American citizen.
The talent show began. It went on f.o.r.e.v.e.r…which is a good thing. You could pick out the kids who had been in the ‘spotlight’ before. The others will just be that much better with practice. Even if a kid sucked, their friends cheered them on, their teachers congratulated them, and their parents loved them. And they will be better off the next time that they try doing something VERY scary. The acts consisted of singing, dancing, the playing of musical instruments and a few comedy skits.
There was the tiny first grader, dressed as a cat, doing her wonderful little cat dance. Another small girl, who apparently specialized in Olympic-style rhythmic dance, kept dropping her streamer and balloon, but continued bouncing around in her tutu like no one was watching. An older girl sang “Amazing Grace” a Capella. There were at least five religious based songs performed this evening, but no one protested. And it seemed that no one but myself even had the thought of a possible protest pop into their mind.
There was an inconsistent flow of acts coming to the stage, but a constant flow of adults coming forward, all wearing big smiles, and carrying cameras and camcorders to record the talent for all eternity.
An earlier announcement in the evening was made to let everyone know that the bake sale in the lobby was to benefit Mr.& Mrs So & So…. the announcer explaining “well, I think that everyone knows the reason”. Everyone scurried to the bake sale during the long anticipated intermission. I felt like the only one who didn’t know ‘Why’, but I joined in line.
(Upcoming American Idol reference, which I’ve never watch) Simon, the black dude, and the Latin chick voted my niece and nephew as the greatest performers of the evening. Well… maybe that was just my own biased voting. But if those three judges had been there, they’d have been treated with grace, dignity, and about forty-two other wonderful qualities that are found every day in the Shenandoah Valley.