Being 12 years old (approximately), I decided to write a skit instead of speech for my brother, sister-in-law and our kids to perform.
The play started with my mom, played by me, telling tall tales to warn us against things like falling asleep in the sun. Then we did a scene where she/I drove off with the groceries on the top of the car, which made for a funny story at the party she was having that night.
People couldn't hear us, so my sister-in-law Erin, the narrator, had to echo everything we said over the microphone.
As we quietly performed family stories in the noisy backyard for people sitting too close to politely ignore us, I got that oops/we should have rehearsed this/I'm not an actor but I thought I was when I wrote this feeling.
In short, I had a flashback to when my friend Matt Hall and I sang "Together at Last" from Annie for our seventh grade talent show. I was Annie and he was Daddy Warbucks. I had had this song memorized for eight years. Annie was my favorite musical, and I thought that a boy-girl duet would go over better than an all-girl or all-boy group song, which most people did. Somehow, I talked Matt, a pretty shy guy, into getting on stage with me. We practiced and came up with a dance routine. Well, I'm sure I made up the dance and was bossy enough that he didn't argue about it. I remembered during the third line: "I don't need sunshine now to turn my life around..." one crucial factor. I can't sing. I mean, everyone says that and then they get up to sing karaoke and sound like Carly Simon or Frank Sinatra. But I really can't sing. People were looking at me like, "Honey, singing in the talent show isn't a graduation requirement. And if it was, you should have dropped out of school."
So anyway, that would be fine except that I continued to try to sing on stage even after that. Most notably, when I ran for class office in high school and sang Mary Chapin Carpenter's "I Feel Lucky." The feeling was deceptive. People watched as if viewing one of those televised surgeries. Then I lost.
And that was the last time I sang on stage. Oh wait. No, I sang karaoke this Christmas with my husband's friend Brian. Good lord. What is wrong with me?
But the skit picked up when it was time for the part my brother Luke came up with.
My mom and dad and us kids (played by Luke and I and our kids) stopped at a hotel on our way home from New Jersey. The man at the hotel said that since they didn't call ahead and it was so late, we'd have to sleep in the wing that was getting a new roof in the morning.
That night it rained. (My brother Josh poured a generous amount of water on Luke's head) Not only did we get wet, the lightbulbs got wet and exploded. (Erin clanged pot lids together, and because no one could hear her, said into the mike, "That loud clang was the sound of lightbulbs exploding."
The next morning, my mom asked the man (played by my dad) for a discount. He declined, citing the fair warning he gave us the night before.
Meanwhile, he had carefully arranged all the hotel's keys by number in front of him. My mom sweeped her arm across the table and knocked them on the floor, then she hopped in our car and we took off like we had just robbed a bank.
The point of the play was that whether my mom was telling the truth or stretching the truth, having fun or having her say, she did it with love. And that she turned thorny situations into sweet memories. Then we gave her roses.
And though I realized that night (for the 17th time) that I don't have the stage voice needed to perform for a crowd, it's funny to think about now. Just like the groceries falling off the car.