In life there are certain key events which become the most cherished of memories. These are moments which stand out above all others and help make life enjoyable. Last week I was fortunate to witness to just such an occasion happen to my daughter, Sylvia.
She was playing one of the leads in Sackville Heights Junior High’s performance of ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ (Despite what her brother Mitchell might jest, she was not the Beast.) This in itself was pretty memorable, but it’s not what she’ll treasure. It’s what happened less than an hour before the curtain rose which will forever bring a smile to my daughter’s face.
A week before the play, Lydia’s aunt called asking for the school’s address in order to deliver flowers on the big night. My wife obliged and thought nothing more of it. Aunt Joye Ann, who lives in Kitchener, had been planning to see the play in person but, within the last few months, things happened which made this seem unlikely.
First, after endless months of waiting, she had one of her knees replaced. Shortly after that her husband, Bruce underwent a successful heart operation. This was less than a month ago and meant he could not fly. Attending the play was no longer an option. Or so we believed.
The night of the performance we arrived an hour before the performance in order to get good seats; Sylvia was already at school getting ready. As we pulled into the parking lot Lydia spotted a taxi parked in front of the school. A woman emerged holding a bouquet of yellow roses. The same type of flowers her aunt had promised.
“Is that...?” Lydia sputtered, her words fading. Our car was going at a crawl. Lydia opened the passenger door and leaped out, running toward the woman.
“Did you know?” I asked Mitchell.
He looked as shocked as the rest of us. Clearly none of us had been in on the secret. Aunt Joye Ann had flown in just for the performance without telling a soul!
With visions of Sylvia catching a glimpse of Joye Ann in the audience and fainting, it was decided to let Sylvia see her well in advance - which was a good thing! Tears of pure happiness ran down my daughter’s face as soon as she saw Joye Ann. The tears continued for several minutes before subsiding. No material gift could ever have given so much pleasure.
Of course Sylvia denies shedding any tears. If that’s the case then she was suffering a serious leak which just happened to centre around her eyes!
Eventually, Sylvia’s emotions calmed down and she left us to get ready for the big night. It was a wonderful show filled with funny moments and enthusiasm. Kudos must go to all involved. But, despite the thrill of live theatre and the rousing applause, I know what Sylvia will remember for the rest of her life.
Kevin Toal is a freelance writer who does not encourage exiting a moving vehicle.