Ten years ago I played the role of the faith-filled Dixie Plunkett in The Christmas Post…I yearned for that part again this year. I knew the lines, knew the blocking…knew it would be easy, peasy lemon squeasy.
In August, I auditioned for the role, got a callback, and practiced the following line dozens of times: “June 17th—an act of Congress couldn’t change it.” Said that line over and over, but especially loved belting out Dixie’s song: “Don’t give up…don’t give in…when the goin’s tough, that’s just when faith kicks in.”
I wasn’t cast in the role of Dixie, and expunging her lines from memory was difficult. One day, as I sat in my hut trying to learn my new role of Hattie McGee, I heard Dixie quip, “June 17th…” Suddenly–instantly, my heart caught in my throat as I was reminded of June 17, 2016, the bright summer morning my momma died.* Each time that scene came about, I would ‘break character’ for just a moment to remember…smile before resuming my role as the hope-filled Hattie (some say I was typecast).
It was that first fluffy snow of the season, where the air is crisp and hopeful, only a few hours prior to my last performance, a small family entourage went to see the recently placed headstone. Then this snowy morning…December 17th…I went again with flowers the aunties, my Mom’s sisters, had given me for The Christmas Post.
*My brother jokes that nearly all of his childhood memories end with, “and then I got in trouble.” A few weeks ago we ascertained that most of my memories end with, “and then I cried.”