Happy to report, first of all, that both my husband and I are now healthy - and busy with all the myriad projects this Season brings. I'm happy to be back at the keyboard, and want to share three unique ways the Holiday spirit has been infused in me for this year.
The first is the result of our hosting a small group of people last Saturday night that had us up into the wee hours. We didn't mind the days we spent getting the house decorated, both inside and out, to prepare for this early December festivity because we both look forward to this magical time of year and all it allows us to share. We were rewarded with the best gifts of all; the fun, caring and respect of people whose love and friendships we cherish. As we were cleaning up in the early morning, we talked about all the special conversations we'd shared throughout the evening, the delicious foods brought to the buffet table, and, best of all, the camaraderie and laughter of all present that sparked our Christmas spirit.
Secondly, last night we both were onstage rehearsing for It's A Wonderful Life - The Radio Play with the Wheaton Drama theatre company. (I am playing Ma Bailey and R.J. is doing all the sound effects with fellow actor, Peter Lemongelli. Oh, yes, and our son is the director.) Even if you are a theatre veteran, not many have been involved in a production of a re-created radio show. It is set in the 1940's - we will be costumed appropriately and all the technical aspects are done so the audience is immersed in that period - which adds to the overall fun of being part of it. The most fun, though, is working with a group of experienced thespians and singers who know how to present a polished performance to an audience. Better still, these are special friends that can create a journey to opening night a memory in itself.
We worked until late in the evening because we had to infuse all the technical aspects and background music with at-the-mike readings. That involved lots of stopping and re-doing, which can be tedious. But no one openly voiced irritation or grumbled about the hour. Instead, we laughed and kibitzed and made it through, and, as we drove home in the bone-chilling night, we were warmed by knowing we're a part of a talented something that adds to our Christmas mood.
Lastly, as I read Facebook posts this morning, there was one from my former Entertainment boss at Walt Disney World in which he shared videos of another unique moment from my past (1991). Watching these short films brought tears to my eyes, and lots of reminder images to my brain.
Each year, at the Florida Magic Kingdom, the Cast Members (as employees of Disney are tagged) would experience a special night just for them and their families. While they enjoyed this private party, management people would work in special capacities to allow the employees to have their Christmas fun in the Kingdom. Those of us in Entertainment spent that night sharing our talents. I went back into a character costume, and my boss and his co-working buddies, many of whom were celebrated musicians in their own right, became the Exec Band.
It's been almost twenty years since I left my Disney career, but those videos had me feeling like I was there again. Sadly, one of the members - also one of my Entertainment bosses - passed away this year, and that made my viewing even more touching. What struck me was how it evoked so many other recollections of what it meant to be a part of that Christmas fantasy world, and to create memories for others who took the Christmas spirit home with them because of those efforts.
With all three experiences captured within a week, how could I not be completely absorbed in this Season of Love, Joy and Peace? Especially when it all came to me as the result of so many friends.