Summer is ending; the pool is closing. Sad times. Gill and I spent many happy hours in that pool this summer…as we do every year. We shuffle across the street in our matching white terrycloth robes, me with dorky hat, oversized sunglasses and gold earrings, Gill with her professional goggles, earplugs and no-nonsense swim cap to get our daily exercise. (She even admits, despite laughing at my cringe-worthy breast stroke, that my flapping does qualify as exercise.)
It is a community pool, run by the local Homes Association. There are swimming lessons for the children, family barbecues, special events all to encourage community spirit. One of the most popular activities is Talent Night. It’s something of a misnomer since there is really very little talent (but an abundance of chutzpah) evident. It is meant for the children to spotlight their ‘talent’ but occasionally a lifeguard will step up to the mic. (We surmise it was the result of a confrontation with the kids: “If I stand up and make a fool of myself, you can too!”) Gill and I wished, after the fact, that we had taken part but we actually recognize that we have no discernible talent. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor.
Allow me to set the scene: the tennis courts were filled with proud parents in lawn chairs vying for the prime vantage point to see their kid perform. Those who weren’t foresighted enough (or forgot) to bring chairs sat on the grassy hill overlooking the court. One particularly tired father brought a comfy chair and proceeded to fall asleep even before the talent erupted. In fairness, I happen to know he’d had a very rough week.
Youngsters were practicing their ‘acts’ backstage (i.e.: behind where the curtain would be if there had actually BEEN a curtain, still seemingly oblivious to the fact that everyone could see them…a spoiler alert, as it were) and seemed nonplussed when they flubbed their song, fell off their skateboard, or dropped the deck of cards. After all, isn’t it the tradition that, if the dress rehearsal goes badly, the actual performance will be brilliant?
I always admire parents during such occasions. They support their kids no matter what. They know their kid is bad, has no talent for anything, and they know that everyone else knows they know, but still they shout, whistle, applaud when their kid performs. Fair play. I did the same with Gill, Crazy D and L’il Sis. It’s what you sign up for as a parent. Your kid must know how completely you support them in everything they do.
This brings us to the kid demonstrating how to skateboard — without an actual skateboard. It was probably better that way — we, as members of the Homes Association, wouldn’t want to be burdened with a lawsuit if he fell off an actual board and injured himself on our property at our sanctioned event. Pretending will make him stronger. Who knows? When his pretend skateboarding career crashes and burns, perhaps he’ll take up acting and win an Oscar. He’s off to a good start.
The dance number reached its usual heights (or depths). Keep in mind that the kids (mostly 7 to 9 -year-old girls)have been practicing their ‘routine’ for weeks…to little avail. The music (pop music by Katie Perry) is on so they can get the correct beat, but there appears to be little relationship between how their feet are moving and the rhythm of the tune. They are all secretly dancing to their own different drummer. Let’s just say, this motley crew will never put the N.Y. City Rockettes out of business.
But parents were proud; neighbors bonded (and tried hard not to laugh); a community came together. When the host asked if anyone in the audience wanted to perform, I had to put my hand over Gill’s mouth. I sensed she was about to volunteer– not on her own behalf, but mine! Nobody needs to see that….