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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Monday, March 19 2001

Staged play

Yesterday an allusion was made to play being "staged" in the barn on the farm on Red Mill Road where I grew up. The best play in my childhood was staged play in the sense described there: Captain Marvel one day, The Wake of the Red Witch the next.

I remember a "season" when we played for days on end with home-made guns that were better than any of the cap guns we got. These home-made guns were blocks of wood with a stick "firing pin" rubber banded to it. Another rubber band was used as the ammunition. You would stretch the "bullet" band along the top of the block, insert the end in the tightly attached "firing pin," aim it, and when released it would fly through the air for 10 or 20 yards to really hit your target. The rubber bands were strips of inner tubes, so they could be made very tight and had lots of uses and versatility, yet no one was ever hurt by one, to my knowledge. (But of course we were always being warned, "you'll put an eye out with that thing"!) These toys were more enjoyable than most of the store-bought toys we owned, and could be employed alike for cowboys and badguys or cops and robbers.

But the real fun of such play was the stories we concocted on the fly and played out like theatrical productions, in which we were both the players and the audience. In light of such use of "play," it's not hard to understand that the theatrical productions are called plays, and scripts for movies called "screenplays" and for TV "teleplays."

And there was a direct connection between the movies we saw and our play. The Wake of the Red Witch which, it seems, a half-dozen of us kids "played" over and over again with revised "scripts," was one such movie. I think I'm the only one in the neighborhood to have seen it, but I probably had the most active imagination of the group. The next most prominent source of script ideas was the comic books we read. I don't remember enacting out radio plays, though it would seem they'd have been a natural source. (Surely, some of our cowboy play was based on Lone Ranger or Gene Autry radio shows, though I don't make a concrete connection...many of the best-loved comic books were also cowboy stories, especially of Red Rider and Hopalong Cassidy.)

In school, during recess, a classmate and I whom I seldom hung around with, would, maybe once a year, get reacquainted, and we played such a "scripted" entertainment. He was a month older than I, so he was "old man"—we pretended he was 80—I was "young man," 79. If I were to mention his name, those of you who know that name would no doubt be surprised, not only because this sounds so unlike him, but because he and I ever hung out. If our senior class had voted on who was most likely to do prison time, it would have been him, no contest (he had already had a run-in or two with the law before graduation, but so far as I know, he never has done prison time, and I saw him last summer). To me, the strangest part of it is that this was a recurring thing; I can't remember any other friendships that were short-term and recurring like that one.

Did you make your own guns when a child? How about bows and arrows?

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Comprehending Engineers-Take Eight

An architect, an artist, and an engineer were discussing whether it was better to spend time with the wife or a mistress.

The architect said he enjoyed time with his wife, building a solid foundation for an enduring relationship.

The artist said he enjoyed time with his mistress, because of the passion and mystery he found there.

The engineer said, "I like both."

"Both?"

Engineer: "Yeah. If you have a wife and a mistress, they will each assume you're spending time with the other, and you can go out and have a few beers."

Sent by Trudy Myers

Lenten prayer

Almighty God, who in your providence chose your servant Patrick to be the apostle of the Irish people, to bring those who were wandering in darkness and error to the true light and knowledge of you: Grant us so to walk in that light, that we may come at last to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever.

By or in commemoration of St. Patrick, c. 385-461

Lenten thoughts (i.e., pertaining to repentance and spiritual growth, from any faith-community perspective) are solicited from readers.

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