If I were Garrison Keillor I could not start my column with, “It was a quiet week in my hometown.” It was anything but quiet this past week. Let’s take a look at the highlights.
There is mist and a bit of rain in the air as I hop on my bike to take a ride down to the new T. Furth Center for the Performing Arts. It is the open house, and I can’t miss it. I park my bike down at the steps wondering if there will perhaps be a bike rack somewhere for folks like me, and begin the walk up the outside staircase.
I walk through the door and I am transformed to Chicago or Indianapolis or somewhere besides my hometown. Statues of the greats line the entrance and hallways … Haydn, Beethoven, Bach. Folks are excited and talk of the arts circles around the marble foyer and into the Ryan Concert Hall. After talking with dozens of folks and still in a bit of a daze, I take my seat.
Donors and trustees of the university and of this facility take center stage. We meet each one of them as they are presented at the podium. Tomas Furth is also there. I want to go up and shake his hand, look him in the eye and thank him for his generous spirit. Mr. Furth is the reason Virginia came to finish her schooling here and then live with me. He gave her a chance to come to the United States and it is here where she plans to make her home. We, who know Virginia, are better off having her in our lives.
A short film featuring parts of the restoration with a short speech by Tom Tierney is next. I am moved to tears watching and listening to him speak.
Short speeches continue but I am lost in the theater world and my imagination takes over. I see Hamlet entering stage left. Ophelia is on the right and I know that I will go home and pull out my ancient script and read it again. The ceremony is over and I come back to reality. Everyone hugs one another or shakes hands. We are in a glorious mood knowing that this gift of the arts has been given to those of us who are the recipients.
Within a few days I am transported to the open house at the chamber of commerce. Kathy and I drive over in the late afternoon and take the tour of the facility. We fill our plates in each room as Bon Appetit scrambles to keep the food trays filled … crab cakes, rib roast, spare ribs and so much more. We go upstairs and find Jan Wilson tending the bar. We sit and chat for a while before I am whisked away.
By early dusk we leave. It is good to know what goes on in our town. How is it we have it all in such a tiny little place in the Universe?
In between both events I worked the polls. When my alarm went off at 4 a.m. on Tuesday, I began to reconsider; but I know it is my duty and my responsibility to help out when and where I can.
My polling location was not in town, but in a small church in the country. After the oath was taken and all was ready for voters, we became friends and spent the whole day talking when folks weren’t there voting.
Later I heard wonderful stories from folks voting. One was of a World War II veteran who actually came twice. He had to go home to get his identification card. He had difficulty walking so the poll workers took the ballot out to his car. This man understands.
So, the week in review … working the polls in my county, and yes, Hamlet. I see Hamlet in the T. Furth Center. All in all, my friends, not a quiet week in my hometown.
LOU ANN HOMAN-SAYLOR lives in Angola at the White Picket Gardens where you can find her gardening or writing late into the night under the light of her frayed scarlet lamp. She is a storyteller, teacher, writer, actress and a collector of front porch stories.