The opening event was due on the same day as the opening of the 2018 Winter Olympics. My wife and I flew from Washington to Yucca Valley, California. We were greeted with nice 77-84 degree weather and a big hug from our young “Olympian” Kay.
At age 14, Kay was both excited and anxious about her dance recital that weekend. We, the grandparents, had now arrived in great expectation of the well-choreographed and practiced performance a couple days hence. I of course knew that the recital was the main event of our visit. I guess what I didn’t quite understand coming into the weekend were the details around the recital.
Our daughter Heather explained that there would actually be two shows, each 2-½ hours in length. I somehow assumed we would just arrive in time for Kay’s part and then leave…nope. Not only would that be bad form, but it also wouldn’t account for my special assignment.
My special assignment, as I learned, was to go at least 30 minutes early to stand in line in order to blast through the throng of people and get good seats for the performance. Good seats were defined as: “On the right outside isle. Close, but not too close to the stage.” What did that mean?
I was really feeling the pressure of not messing up. I had visions of either desert-hardened-leather-skinned biker types or cactus-like young moms ready to jab anyone who dared get in their way, entering the Junior High auditorium. I was ready for bloodshed under the sunny high noon desert sky! Well, as one might imagine, everyone was friendly and courteous. All of us line grabbers had no problem staking out our coveted piece of geography once inside the building.
As a psychologist, I make my living sitting all day. I frankly was not excited about sitting for some 6 hours on a hard metal chair, while on our mini-vacation. That all changed, however, in the twinkling of an eye as soon as those some 100 girls and 4 boys began to perform. The ages were pre-school through High School. I know I have neither smiled, laughed, nor tearfully snorted with than much joy in a very long time. The performances were endearing and heartwarming.
To see the little ones up on stage, frozen mid-dance in order to take the opportunity to frenetically wave to their parents was just a hoot. The older kids’ routines were superbly choreographed and executed. One 16-ish young lady was simply splendid in her ballet performance. In my humble estimation, she was already of professional quality. I am sure it will bring great pleasure for the hometown crowd to follow her career going forward.
And then, of course, there was Kay. Her group danced to a song from Beauty and the Beast. They were all of at least Off-Broadway quality. Yes, I know, I am likely biased in thinking that the beautiful girl dressed in the green costume was elegant, smooth, and energetic in her performance. But she was, Kay danced with a special flare that allowed her love of movement to shine through. Kay made my grandpa shirt-buttons pop.
The interesting thing about finishing the first 2-½ hour show was that I was just as excited to see it a second time. There were a couple hours break after the first show in which we got to eat pizza with two of Kay’s happy dance friends.
After my second slice of pizza, I heard the announcement: “Pop-Pop, it is time to get in line again”. And yes it was. What a joy to be able to go through the whole thing one more time.
While I have utmost respect for the quality of Olympic athletics, for me this hometown event was actually more fun than going to the Olympics. It was…the best of being a positive aging grandpa.
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