Bunny Belief

We’re at that time when I can’t be sure if the holiday magic will hold any longer, if my son will truly believe, one more time, that gifts have been magically delivered as he slept… My son is so thorough in his thinking, in his reasoning and internal deliberations, that it seems impossible to me that he can truly still believe. And yet he does. Yesterday, as we sat cuddled on the couch, I made the mistake of telling him not to get his hopes up for anything big on Easter. (My goal was to plant some doubt so that the appearance of the Easter bunny would have even more of an impact. Not a good choice.) He burst into tears and told me not to say such a thing. “I want to have hope, mommy. I’m just nine years old, don’t take away my hope!” he told me. I was instantly very sorry I’d said anything at all. I was also struck by how much his comment seemed to imply; there seemed some foreshadowing in his remark of the adult reality that lay just around the corner. He must know, I thought to myself, but he’s still holding on…

On most most holidays and school breaks Elihu stays with his father. This past year was my first Christmas here at home with Elihu, and tomorrow will only be my second Easter here with him. I had wondered about the Easter bunny’s visits to Dekalb. I want to have some consistency, and it seems that the Easter bunny keeps many different methods and traditions in different households, so as we made our weekly drive to deliver eggs yesterday I asked him about it. Seemed fairly similar to my experience growing up. There were some differences, but I was relieved to know the bunny wasn’t in the habit of delivering handsomely wrapped birthday-worthy gifts because the Greenfield bunny had made no such preparations. (The Greenfield bunny is quite satisfied with several finds; a hand-crafted, dark chocolate bunny from the local candy shop, some wooden airplane models and a small bird puppet. The eggs, on the other hand, proved challenging as Master Elihu knows his eggs by shape – each hen has her signature style – plus dying an already dark egg is tricky. I couldn’t use the few white eggs we have, as Cora’s eggs are also very distinctive. A dilemma. Ended up drawing designs with sharpie on the most generic-looking medium brown eggs I could find. Since Elihu sees no color at all this seemed a good choice.)

A little anxious that everything be in order, I arose early today and went to my secret hiding spot in the basement to do an Easter basket inventory. Because of Elihu’s vision, he’s not good at spotting things. I’m continually surprised at how quickly and easily visiting kids will see things that I’ve stashed ‘out of sight’. Because color offers Elihu no clues (bright green plastic grass for the basket, for example) and since things beyond ten feet don’t register much, my job is made much easier. As I retrieved my goodies I felt completely satisfied that it was all still perfectly secret. I was happily surprised to see that I’d saved a few more things in the months leading up to the holiday (when on a budget one must plan ahead) and was very satisfied to see that it made a tidy looking cache of loot. Pretty too. I even got myself a single hyacinth bulb and a nice new ceramic vase for it at the dollar store – just to show the bunny had something for me too. That would further support the case that I had nothing to do with it. Might be over thinking it, but it’s probably the last such time I’ll have to do so.

Yeah. He’ll be ten in a month. It’ll be over soon. At least it can’t last too much longer. So, as with Christmas this year, I approach Easter with the same emotions, the same tender nostalgia. I will savor it all. Every surprise, every laugh, every egg. And Elihu’s right, having hope is important – especially at this time of year. After all, isn’t that what Easter itself represents – apart from any religious significance? The renewed life of springtime and with it, hope… And belief, yes, that’s important too, cuz I know this Easter bunny sure is happy that one certain little boy still believes.


Elihu is home sick today. It’s where he should be, but might not sound it. He’s asthmatic and yesterday had a tummy thing. He slept a deep sleep for twelve hours last night, and this morning wasn’t quite back to health. And even while I can hear him snorting and wheezing from the next room, I also hear his intermittent narration of the things he’s doing, the things he’s thinking. He calls out to me every few minutes with a thought, an observation… If I were to take a step back and realize things won’t always be thus, I’d probably be charmed. It is sweet. But after a while… I wonder, where did he get this talking and talking thing? Then I realize. Oh. Yeah. Me.

I have a lot to do; re-certify for food stamps – for both me and my brother – get taxes done, finish the application for tuition assistance at Waldorf. All the grownup homework assignments are due now. March is the month of deadlines for me, and I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed.  There’s also an Easter basket to fill on Sunday, and I’d counted on today in which to collect its little surprises. And now that Elihu’s home I have one less day to spend nose to the grindstone and chasing chocolate bunnies.

He’s fine without me, but he still calls out to me every few minutes. Not so much for soothing as for a witness to his play. Or his ideas… and they’re fairly nonstop. I find it hard to listen actively to him – and I don’t want to simply ‘mm-hmm’ my responses – so I find myself getting testy. Will have to retire to my office as soon as the house is picked up and spend some time in earnest at my desk. He’ll just have to do without my audience for a while.

I listen, I wait. He’s engrossed in something now, and his one-sided conversation has stopped. Maybe this is a good time to head downstairs. I’ll make sure he’s happily engaged before I depart. He’s a good kid, with a lot of ideas swirling around in his head. I want to be there to share them, but just not right now…

I make a promise to Elihu that when I’m finished with my homework I’ll come back and listen to everything he wants to tell me. My wheezy little chatterbox of a boy.

Atkins: Seven, Eight Weeks?

It feels like a year but I don’t think it’s been two months yet. Not in a mood to check. Lost about twelve pounds, then ceased losing over the past two weeks. In Atkins language, I’m “stalling”.  Yeah, I know why. Portion control, as usual. I don’t have much latitude with this silly diet, so I admit I’ve started to go heavy on the heavy cream in my coffee as a perk in my day. The pours have gotten more generous, and coffee has begun to last the whole day, instead of just a cup first thing in the morning. That, and a couple of strawberries here and there. So goddam counter intuitive that I shouldn’t be able to eat a fucking piece of fruit, right? I don’t eat much of it, but every now and then I am so tired of sugar free jello being the only sweet thing on the menu…

I don’t mean to sound so bitchy, after all, this is my choice to do this. And I am, lest I forget, now able to wear some new pants that have been waiting in a bin in the basement unworn for the past four years. I guess some progress is better than none. I just need to step back for a minute and regroup. To help myself get back on track, I’m pouring out my day’s ration of cream ahead of time.  Same goes for cheese. Limiting myself to two eggs a day. It’s easy to go a bit overboard with Atkins, cuz it seems so forgiving. Eat fat and lose! Yay! But then you realize after a month that it’s like anything in life. Sounds novel at first. In the beginning, limits feel reasonable, easy to manage. But somewhere down the line one’s patience thins and limits are tested. So then you stall.

Back to basics. Will review a couple of Atkins sites, pump myself up with new inspiration and remember that my 50th will be here the first week in May whether I can wear my old skinny jeans and dresses or not. New clothes that cost me nothing and make me happy to wear?  That really would be a nice birthday present. Ok. I’m good. I’m back on the horse again…

Class Play

march play 2013 200Elihu’s fourth grade class has been studying Norse mythology, and so their class play this year was about the Three Trials of Thor. Tonight we went to the production they put on for the families. While it may have been an effort to get my dad to the show, I’m glad we did. We’d had to borrow Martha’s collapsible transport chair to get him there; without it he couldn’t have joined us. I felt lucky that mom, dad and even Andrew were all there for the play. It’s not often that we Conants are all together in one place. And these days I can’t help but wonder on the few times we do manage to pull it off, if this might not be the last such occasion. You never know… Elihu was beside himself all afternoon with sheer anticipation of the show itself, and when it came time to perform, it meant so much to him to have his family there. And later, surrounded by classmates and friends, with that frolicking post-show energy buzz all around, he was one extremely boisterous and joyful child.

This little production was more than charming, more than a cute class play… it was infused with love, intelligence and good humor too (and some pretty sophisticated, old-timey language!). And if I may say so, my son spoke his lines with a robust, un-hurried intentionality that is generally not too terribly characteristic of a nine year old kid. Yes, I think he was good. No, I know he was good. Others certainly were too, but Elihu, he had a certain thing… The pipes kinda run in the family. That he’s got em makes me smile to myself – but that he uses em and enjoys using his gift… that absolutely fills me with happiness and and a deep, maternal satisfaction.

I feel slightly self-conscious about posting so many photos – maybe even a little like an over-zealous stage mom, but hey, it’s part of my job, right? Surprisingly, I was the only person snapping pics of the kids as they got ready – and also as far as I know the only one sneaking a shot or two during the play. There will be professional photos and even a video of the play available at some time – but I’m not sure I’ll have the extra cash for them, and besides, if they don’t arrive for another week yet, it’ll be old news. The way our life chugs along, we’ll be onto a new adventure before long… Gotta post while the topic’s hot. !

But for now this is the adventure still dancing in our heads, and the songs that the children sang (beautiful rounds and three-part recorder pieces) will be ringing in our ears for a few more days yet…

march play 2013 148costumes going on…

march play 2013 151and more preparations backstage…

march play 2013 164as the audience members read their own individual programs, each one was drawn by the family’s child

march play 2013 226Ben (Thor), Sawyer and Elihu before the show

march play 2013 224meet Utgartsloki, the King of the Giants

march play 2013 173Abigail Reid welcomes everybody and introduces the play

march play 2013 251Nora plays the recorder and sets a beautiful mood

march play 2013 184Utgartsloki challenges Thor to Three Trials

march play 2013 185the cast, at the end, singing their final song

march play 2013 192a happy post-show visit with grandma and grandpa

This was one lovely night we shall never forget.

Mo Sno Photo

What fun we had today! Haven’t heard Elihu giggle and laugh like that in ages. And the best packing snow I remember in a long time… yay! Here’s a mini album of our afternoon outdoors. (The way I’m making such a big deal about it you’d think we don’t play outdoors much. Yes, sadly, that’s actually true. !) I’ve included a few extra shots in order to give folks a more complete vision of our property. In an unintentional nod to ‘Where’s Waldo?’ our goose Maximus makes a cameo in more than a few shots.

march snow day 2013 012the view of the sledding hill from our piano

march snow day 2013 018a closer look

march snow day 2013 024Elihu, fittingly, is using a goose quill in place of a plastic stylus with his DS

march snow day 2013 033the sledding hill is just beyond the pine trees to the SE

march snow day 2013 068here’s our grand Beech tree

march snow day 2013 072 and here’s the king of the hill

march snow day 2013 079and who’s this?

march snow day 2013 083he can’t be all bad, he’s wearing red sunglasses and an aviator’s cap

march snow day 2013 087smiley fellow

march snow day 2013 093the run has been made, now to enjoy

march snow day 2013 095movin now

march snow day 2013 101picking up speed

march snow day 2013 112and it’s a fine finish just shy of the pricker bushes!

march snow day 2013 120it’s a long, long walk back up

march snow day 2013 122the most enjoyable exercise I’ve had in years

march snow day 2013 135going in now

march snow day 2013 139coming around the South side of the house

march snow day 2013 142beech tree to left

march snow day 2013 143around the corner now on the West side of the house

march snow day 2013 152on the front porch (facing North now), eating snow

march snow day 2013 153the view from the kitchen window, our tiny bridge visible at the far left.

We love our little corner of Greenfield. And it’s just so pretty in the snow.

Mo Sno

march snow 2013 151

Seriously? Yesterday the talk was all about the big storm headed our way. As I looked out over the barren, dry-mudded schoolyard from my new post as recess monitor, it just didn’t seem likely. Things were looking so hopeful, so almost spring. I scoured the perimeter of the fence looking for tiny pips of new growth to back up my case. Nothing yet. But still… I couldn’t bear to think of starting over. My son and his pals had even managed to chip away at the huge mound of surviving winter ice until it was a mere blip on the blacktop. Things were just now getting so close

I checked the live radar images last thing before getting into bed. It showed us to be already covered in a great swath of front – but outside there was still nothing. I held out a tiny bit of hope. But I remembered that one of the teachers at school hadn’t taken soup orders for the next day as he was that convinced we’d have a snow day. And apparently this guy always knows. Hey, I myself understand that we’re not out of the woods. I know we’re fair game for snow here til the end of April at least. But I went to bed hoping against it anyway. I really do love the beauty of snow, and I think it’s kinda silly when folks who live here find such entertainment in grousing endlessly about how much they hate it, but just the same…

Up in the middle of the night, all I had to do was glance outside to see the expanse of garage and coop roofs glowing white in the dark to know it had come. And this morning, after a quick 6 a.m. check online to confirm the homebound day for myself – I went easily back to sleep and didn’t wake for another two hours until I heard the engine of Mike’s plow truck shoveling its way down our driveway. I got up and donned my apron, tall boots and farm jacket in time to wave him a thank you before going out to open the coop and shovel some ground space out for the birds. It is pretty, I think to myself as I look around. May as well enjoy it.

I’ve suggested to Elihu that we make use of our hill for some sledding. Can it really be two years since we’ve gone down the hill? Seems a bit much, but it’s true; Elihu doesn’t really like being out in the brightness, and I sure can’t blame him. So this is a major detractor from enjoying outdoor play in the snow. In fact, my best memories of playing in the snow are of at night, long after sundown. It’s only then that Elihu can finally relax and just enjoy himself. But tonight is a school night, and his school play dress rehearsal is tomorrow, so there’ll be no late night snow play today. I’m going to find his oversized wraparound sunglasses (broken though they are) and insist on going out. We’ve got a great swath of lawn that is so much fun to sled down, only problem is the patch of pricker bushes at the bottom (another ‘problem’ is that mom must first ‘carve’ out the path – a grueling job that can take a good sweaty and panting half hour. !). We call the run our ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ hill. You gotta bail just when you get to the bottom. It’s kind of a pain in the butt, but the comic element is strong and (almost) makes up for the inconvenience.

As I write this, Elihu is uncharacteristically engrossed in his recently rediscovered (as in a half an hour ago) Nintendo DS. He’d been so nonplussed with it this past year he agreed to trade it with a friend for his erector set. Fareed intervened, and there was a tiny bit of drama as the mother of the friend (who’d already surrendered his aforementioned erector set but had not yet received the DS ) got a bit upset with me. As she’s a friend, it was upsetting to me too. I’d just wanted to hand over the DS and be done with it. But Fareed insisted we keep it. Now I’m kinda glad he did. It’s a cute and fun little game. My son is not the type to succumb to a video game addiction (no, he’s already addicted to flight) so I don’t worry at this. In fact, it makes me happy to see him happy. Cute little soundtrack too. (It’s still new to me, might not be so cute in a month.)

So the snow day begins. By now, on a usual day, breakfast would be long over, the dishes would be washed and put away, the eggs cleaned and sorted, and I’d be at my desk busily knocking items off the never-ending to-do list. For some reason snow days just throw me completely off and I’m hard pressed to get anything done at all. So I’m letting myself off the hook today and I’m just gonna go with it. All the way down the hill.

march snow 2013 111

Fiddling Around

It’s been a fine weekend here at the Hillhouse. On Friday we enjoyed a visit from the girl twins with whom Elihu had grown so close months ago. Their moving away this past fall broke Elihu’s heart (see the post “Heartsick” from November 2012) and being able to spend an afternoon with them gave my son joy as he hadn’t known in a good long while. The following day we were still coasting on that great feeling, and we celebrated with a bountiful breakfast of fruit-filled crepes, oh-so-good bacon, and deviled eggs. Elihu requested the deviled eggs, and in that we have no shortage of eggs around here, and no one to justify it to, I made a good dozen of em. (Strangely, my Atkins diet even allowed me to enjoy some, albeit in moderation). We were both enormously contented and sated after our decadent brunch. So I began the clean-up with a happy and light heart, as Elihu retired to the living room and began to play his violin.

Usually, Elihu will choose to play his recorder when he’s in the mood for something aside from the piano or the drums. And he’s actually gotten quite good at it; he can play chromatically as well as play a handful of different scales. He began to learn the chromatic stuff in an effort to duplicate a blues scale. It was a good motivation; now he’s off and running. He hasn’t played the violin so much lately, so this is nice. I hear him go through his modest beginner’s repertoire; just a bit beyond Twinkle Twinkle, he’s off into the territory of Cripple Creek and Old Joe Clark. (I smile to myself as I recall my brief stint with banjo lessons years ago. I remember learning the iconic Boil Them Cabbage Down – as taught by the equally iconic Bob Gand at the Village Music Store in Deerfield, Illinois). What a sweet time this is, I think to myself. I know my son is growing up, but I also know he’s still a young boy. Sometimes he’s so smart, insightful and articulate that it’s often a bit difficult to realize that he is still so young. But he is still little. Still not ten. Still believes… And while the world is becoming more real to him each day, there is still some magic present in his experience which only belongs to the very young. He’s not quite there, but change is underway. This too will be a memory before long. I try to focus on this moment. I breathe in, I pause, I try to suspend time as best I can…

As I stood at the sink, my hands in the warm, soapy water, I looked out over the lovely pastoral view outside my window. I listened to Elihu making up sweet little variations on his violin, and I sank as deeply into the moment as I could. We were two happy people with nothing much to do, except just to be… A perfect day just to fiddle around.

The Birds Are Back In Town

march mid 2013 050

Ok. So maybe not in this picture. (I didn’t want to feel the past half hour spent waiting for the aforementioned birds to have been in vain, so I felt I had to include a photo of some sort. ) But this is the table feeder where we do see em when they visit. And there most definitely were some long-awaited, newly-arrived avian subjects visiting quite recently. (In fact there were a few milling about just a few moments before I pulled out the camera.) Yesterday, in a delightfully Spring-like teaser of a day, with sunshine and temperatures in the low fifties, there was an impressive reunion of birds at our feeder all day long. But today, nearly imperceptible flakes of snow swirl about in the air, and the world is winter-cold again. We all know it won’t last, but it’s a bit disappointing nonetheless. I’m less inspired to do my outdoor chores, and it seems the birds themselves are no more inclined to move about unnecessarily than I.

While Elihu usually hears the new arrivals long before I do, it’s obviously me who’s the one most likely to spot them first. It’s not often that Elihu actually sees a bird in the wild – and not on our kitchen window feeder. Such a small object at such a distance just doesn’t register in his limited vision. But this year – just two days ago – we were able to share a Spring first. My heart was so full of joy that Elihu finally, for the first time ever, in fact, truly saw a Red Winged Blackbird with his own eyes. We had pulled the car over to spend some time watching our neighborhood juvenile Red Tailed Hawk, and were taking turns with the binoculars, when we heard it. That shrill, unmistakeable trilling sound. Instantly a feeling of mid summer washed over us – I almost couldn’t believe my own ears and asked Elihu for confirmation. Yes! That was a Red Winged Blackbird – so he must be very close… I looked to the hedges that ringed the close-by field, and sure enough, there he was, atop a young tree, like a perfectly placed Christmas tree ornament. “I see it!” Elihu exclaimed. So many times Elihu claims to see a bird because he doesn’t want to admit he can’t – but this time there was no mistaking it. I knew he saw it. And I could hear it in his voice. What a glorious moment. Hallelujah, Spring is almost here!

And then there are the Cowbirds. My mother may not feel such warmth for them (they have a nasty practice of laying their oversized eggs in other’s nests, thereby ensuring the success of their offspring and a result, the demise of the hosts’ little ones) but no matter, we are thrilled to see them return each year. The males arrive first and begin to practice their courtship dances. Sometimes we’ll see five males on the feeder at once, all trying to outdo each other. Watching their dances is like watching a piece of hard-won nature footage on a PBS program… We can never quite believe we’re seeing this in real life. They puff up the ruffs around their heads, spread their wings out and appear to grow in size by a good 30%. Then they emit this ultra-high pitched warble which sounds like a computer-generated sound from a video game. They strut about, taking a few steps toward the object of their dance, which may be the competing males or a possible mate. The display lasts all of a few seconds, but they’ll often repeat it a half dozen times in a single trip to the feeder. Absolutely fascinating to watch. We don’t like to think of the predatory way in which they keep the species going, but hey. As Elihu would say, they’re just doing what God made em to do.

I can’t imagine living in a climate where the resident birds never changed. We here at the Hillhouse feel the march of time so much more intimately by seeing the birds that stop by our kitchen window. Spring is a time of both passers-by and return residents; some species stay only a day or two, some stay for a few weeks before leaving again, and sometimes seasonal residents just disappear altogether almost overnight. Lastly, there are those who return to take up permanent residence for the warmer months. All in all, there is a lot of renewed activity on our feeder from March through May.

There are the roadside appearances too. Besides the Red Winged Blackbird, just this week I’ve spotted some newly returned Robins poking around in the short, winter-weary grass. And although I haven’t seen a Bluebird yet, I wouldn’t be surprised to see one swoop past over my car as I wind down the steep hill at the top of Braim Road. And of course, there’s the return of the Hummingbirds sometime around the first week in May near my birthday, and usually the week before – the week of Elihu’s birthday – we begin to hear that unmistakeable buzzing chirp of the male Woodcock from the middle of the big field as he searches for his mate.

Yup, the birds are back in town, and this thin Lizzy (almost, still workin on it) is most certainly happier for it. Ahh, finally. Spring is nigh…

Household Help

It can’t just be me. Each morning, after I’ve been washing dishes for about a half an hour and remember the laundry that still waits after the dishes are done, I wonder. Am I being grumpier about this than I ought? Course I know the answer; most likely. I know that I ought to be joyful as I go about my daily domestic work. That would be the good, Godly way in which to behave. But crap, it just seems like I spend an awful lot of time doing, well, just plain stuff. Not stuff that adds in any quantifiable way to the quality of my life, not stuff that makes me better fit, smarter or necessarily happier. I’m just doing crap that needs to get done – just so that I can exist. Some days this really pisses me off. But although I might get crabby about it, I’m not ignorant; I realize that I do not have it bad by any stretch of the imagination.

I remember visiting my family by marriage in Pakistan – middle class folks by their standards – and witnessing how some two dozen people lived in a four room house devoid of anything aside from the basic necessities and who were, in their experience, all quite happy. I also saw how the women worked tirelessly both day and night to keep the brood in clean clothes and fed (their kitchen was hardly six by ten feet, and they only had two burners!). I’m not so sure those women were themselves too crazy about their never-ending workload, but sadly, in that culture they weren’t exactly in a position to question it. At least I can pause for reflection. Yeah. I know that folks all around the globe work a hell of a lot harder than I do, and they have less to work with too. I get it. But still…

I wonder to myself, do other people really spend an hour or more a day just dealing with the silly dishes? Really? It kinda feels like I’m the only one. It feels like I’m always cleaning up or putting things away. It seems like it takes me so much more time and effort to feed just two people than it should. Am I being incredibly inefficient here? Am I missing something? I can’t help but feel like I am. But I know it’s an illusion born of my isolation. I really do know I can’t be the only one putting in the time. I know it. At least intellectually. Just doesn’t feel like it. Living in such a way as we privileged Westerners do, each of is our own island and it’s easy to feel like we’re each on our own, unique treadmill. That we are each one of us alone in our toil. That’s certainly how I feel most days after Elihu’s at school and our days begin in earnest. It takes me a good two hours – if not more – just to get the laundry done, the dishes done, the house picked up, the birds fed, the eggs collected, washed and put away… And God help me that I might need to actually clean – as in wipe away the little boy smell around the toilet, or maybe vacuum the forgotten corners… there goes another hour. Was it always thus?

No, not always. For many years I had help. I, like my mother in ‘her day’, had a cleaning lady. At first it seemed a crazy-pretentious thing to do, but I acclimated without too much trouble. Not hard to get used to someone helping you, especially if it’s well within your budget and you’re faced with a lot of house. Sometimes I like to joke that I went from having a cleaning lady to being one. Not really a joke. I have cleaned a few houses for cash since moving here. A bit humbling, yes. But then again, I was never the kind of gal to sit idly by as my cleaning lady was working; nay, I worked right alongside Marianna as she helped to keep my fine Evanston home looking fine. I never took her for granted. Nope. And now, as I face the task of keeping on top of it all (ok, so there is a lot less indoor real estate now) I look back with even still more gratitude. Oh, to have Marianna’s help now.

Thankfully, my son is getting older and much more able to help. I’ve probably let him off the hook more than most moms would. But then again, having only one child – one baby – and knowing there will never be another one coming along, I think that’s contributed to my going soft on Elihu til now. But I’ve relaxed lately. It’s good for him to do things for himself. And also – it’s good for me. I’m happy to have the help. (I can see why folks used to have so many kids! Built-in work force and life insurance. !) No longer do I tell my son that I’ll put the water on for tea, that I’ll empty the dryer…  And if I ask him, he generally jumps with enthusiasm to help. Thankfully, I have a child who very much appreciates the work it takes to keep a household. And thankfully, he is beginning to participate in its upkeep. And no longer do I feel badly – or guilty – about that. Instead, I feel good. Elihu is feeling empowered, and finally, once again, I have a little help around the house.

Missoula Time

Each spring around this time (hmm, did I say spring? Not so sure about that today; currently writing on time borrowed from a two hour snow delay…) I play piano for a production of the Missoula Children’s Theatre at my son’s former school, Greenfield Elementary. I offered myself up for the job because I was absolutely fascinated to see exactly how this touring company of two managed to get some 50 kids rehearsed and ready for a full-blown musical theater production in just four days. Yup. You heard right. Even after having played for four such productions and seen much of the prep myself, it still seems like magic to me.

Look on YouTube for the documentary on “The Little Red Truck” and I think you might well be crying before long. What this company does is not only extraordinary just in terms of the logistics alone – but it brings children throughout the county an opportunity for personal self-discovery and confidence-building as nothing else can. Truly, the Missoula Children’s Theatre is something not to be missed if your school is presented with the chance to participate.

Here are some pics from last year’s production…

(This year’s show is later tonight and tomorrow)

march 2012 105

My post for the show

march 2012 108

The Missoula folks go over production details with the kids

march 2012 109


march 2012 113

That famous “Little Red Truck”. All the scenery, costumes, script and score – plus the two actors who lead the whole shebang – all of it fits perfectly into the back. Wow. Talk about economy! Truly, this whole production is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen.