When school is out for the summer, there’s this slight wave of panic that wafts through the house.
What in the world am I going to do with this 13-year-old with all this time on our hands?
If left to his own devices, he’d be, well, on all his electronic devices.
When Evan was younger, I signed him up for every Bible school, Miami County Park District day camp and a smattering of various activities in between. I try really hard to keep him outside as much as possible because he’s the kid who would stay inside watching “The Andy Griffith Show” all day long.
So each summer, I try to challenge Evan to do one thing new or “outside of the box.” Last year, it was horse riding lessons.
I still have no idea where that came from. He enjoyed it and lost a few pounds from sweating in a barn for hours. All the while, I worked from an air-conditioned McDonald’s with vats of sweet tea at my disposal.
I made the grave mistake of signing him up for the hottest week in August, right before the fair. I’m a slow learner.
This spring, I begged him to go to 4-H Camp and he refused. I tried hard to sell the fun times around a campfire, swimming and all the fun of an overnight camp. He still said no. I think he could see through my ploy of trying to free up a few kid-free days this June. That’s the whole foundation of the summer camp empire, right?
While I struck out on 4-H Camp, he did, however, want to try Barn in the Park theater and golf camp a little closer to home.
Both, of course, happened to fall in the same weeks, but we made it through. I don’t know how you parents with kids in three or four activities do it.
Yet, all the world is a stage — from the golf greens to the sheep barn to the community theater stage.
Evan’s first community theater experience reminded me of one of my all-time favorite movies, “Waiting for Guffman.”
It takes place in the small town of Blaine, Missouri (pronounced Miz-er-rah) and follows the serious, yet zany community theater troupe and its eccentric director, Corky St. Clair.
I was reminded of this 20-year-old classic as I watch my son Evan take part in his first-ever theater experience, thanks to the Troy Recreation Department’s Barn in the Park program.
The fact these kids memorized lines for an hour-and-a-half play in only two weeks was amazing.
Their play was a spinoff of the movie “The Princess Bride.”
It had everything: sword fights, a princess in peril, poison, a long-lost love story and a miracle.
It was fantastic.
First off, the kids were great. I could never get up in front of people and perform like that. Ever. In fact, I was so nervous for Evan and his crew that I didn’t sleep the night before.
The day he got his part and the script, I begged Evan to let me help him with his lines. He refused and reassured me several times he had it under control. Now do you see why I didn’t sleep? But he was right. He knew his lines really well.
Yet, he only had to be prompted a few times, including the time he was ordered to finally say the line, “Tie Him Up!” in spite of the fact the prisoner had, in fact, already been tied up. The comedic timing was gold.
Princess Marigold brought tears to my eyes with her solo, “Somewhere Out There.” What is is about that song that is so sweet? I would have gotten chills, but the theater’s air conditioner was destroyed by lightning a few days before.
So as sweat rolled down my neck, I got a little choked up watching these brave kids on stage.
I would have cried, but the tears would have evaporated from my eyes before they were shed.
My family and I had a good laugh recalling all the perfect imperfections.
It was fun just to see a group of kids having a great time together — sans electronic devices.
So if you need good laugh or cry, just swing by the Barn in Park this summer and check out the best show in town. Be sure to silence your cell phones.
Follow Melanie Yingst on Twitter @Troydailynews