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Sunday, March 3, 2013

"Sweetheart" Fun - Guest Post by Himself

One of the things I like to do is ‘compare cultures’ concerning things here in the U.S. verses pick-a-country.  Mostly I ask about normal things like home scenarios and local customs.  Other times I ask about give/take situations concerning senior/junior members of a family, or perhaps about bosses/subordinates.   And sometimes I just ask about fun issues.   Or things we could consider entertainment.   But in a good way.
Take a look at the below picture I got from somewhere.   It is college kids in some sort of ‘mud football game’.    Well, I sent this picture to one of my Chinese friends I had met on the ship who used to write to me.    Below are our words about it…
Himself:  “This was probably a ‘mud bath’ that the kids played in for some silly event—perhaps at a football game.” 
My Chinese friend:   “Mud bath?  I never heard about it.  We are not allowed to do this at school and we wont do that too.” 
I must admit – I’m not sure if I would want to do the above either, but who knows – at their ages perhaps it would have been fun…(as long as a shower was close by – what parent will let you into their car looking like this!)  But such are the silly items that I occasionally bring up just from a curiosity point of view – ‘what people will do’…  
As one gets older, I suspect ‘what one will do’ becomes more…tame.   I know that it is that way for me.  One, things requiring speed just aren’t gonna happen anymore.  You lose control of a speed event (even trying to dodge a tackle for touch football) and you can slip and ‘pert-near kill yourself’ as they say in the South.   Who wants to be limping around for a week for something you used to be able to shrug off in a day?! 
‘Shrug off’…
Some things are easier to shrug off than others.  In a way, it depends on ‘how cool you go about it’.   You could trip and almost fall…but if you ‘do it looking cool’ you can at least save SOME face!   And the few that still snicker, you can look at them, shrug, and say, “Hey…it happens to everyone.”   Cool. 
But what happens when you deliberately try to look UN-cool?   To the point of looking ridicules?   That is remembered.   And sometimes that is the point -- remembering.   Such was what recently happened in our church with the senior Sunday school class of which Teri and I are a part.   What they did was throw a ‘Sweetheart Banquet’ for the young couples in our church.  Our class would provide the meal, the babysitting for their kids, and the entertainment.   The young couples?   Enjoy.   And laugh.   
I originally didn’t know about the ‘laugh’ part.   I was volunteered to provide the evening dinner music via keyboard.   Not something I normally do, I was kinda nervous.  That is, until I heard what the other entertainment was to be.  Mine was nothing compared to that!  
What some of the senior class did was dress in period-costumes and, well…act silly.  In front of everyone!  With 60’s and 70’s music playing some sang like the ones who originally sang it.   For instance, our very formal Sunday School teacher and his wife dressed as Sonny & Cher and sang the 1965 classic, ‘I got you, Babe!’ – complete with the body language they used on that show.  (Teri, who had worked with community theater years before, helped with the animated movements they were supposed to do.)  Other bouncy songs with bouncy seniors were sung and danced to also – in ways that made their kids/grandkids wonder what got into them!   And in CHURCH! 
(What was sad is that many of the young people didn’t even recognize the songs.  I suddenly felt old…) 
The tops to this was the ‘Ugly Woman’ skit – by two of the older guys in our class who, well…did quite well in that part.  Dressed in drag, they pulled a trick on the pastor of the church who, uh…said something he should have perhaps kept quiet about.   In a sermon, he mentioned ‘being kissed by a young lady’…who eventually became Miss Tennessee (they were in elementary school when this happened.)   Realizing he said something that was raising people’s eyebrows, he went on to say that when someone asked him, “Do you ever think about the fact that you could have been married to Miss Tennessee?” he answered (as people’s eyebrows were going higher and higher listening to this), “Now WHY would I want to be married to Miss Tennessee when I can be married to Miss Heavenly?!     His own wife blushed at that statement while shaking her head…
Playing off of that statement (which had happened weeks ago), the two older men in drag called themselves ‘The Mann Sisters’ – with the first names of ‘Iwanta’ Mann and ‘Ineeda’ Mann.  And across their chests were sashes that said, “Miss Tennessee…and Miss Heavenly. 
Pictures tell the rest…
Part of the banquet on the gym floor.  I’m in the background playing keyboard.
The ladies preparing food – at this point, desserts…
The men, serving -- carrying food, seating, helping out.   And looking quite dapper in the process!
I just looked on when not playing keyboard.  
Others took pictures.   Recall, the people doing this were their parents, and in some cases, their grandparents.   But so far, they weren’t too embarrassed seeing them up there on stage…
(Here are 60+ Ronnie & Russell – both retired and dressed up as the Mann Sisters.  They were ‘dressed to kill’ from their tiaras and a lovely smile…)
…down to their polished toenails, ‘tats’.…and ‘cute shoes’.
Strutting their stuff in the crowd.   But as they ‘worked the crowd’, they slowly made their way over to a certain man who, upon seeing Miss Tennessee and Miss Heavenly sashes across their chest, knew he was in trouble…
Here is Pastor Mike watching…getting more red faced by the moment.  His wife Pam is seeing what is about to happen…
…and slid her chair out away from him.   She soon reached over and grabbed her own cell phone to take pictures of the spectacle as ‘Miss Tennessee’ approached.   And in addition to saying things like, “My dear Mikey, do you remember the time…we got together… just the two of us…?” (and this and that)  Ronnie went on about ‘all the wonderful nostalgia’ they had ‘way back then’.   
And then Miss Tennessee paused…   
…and 60-something Miss Tennessee Ronnie planted a lip-stick kiss ‘right on the top of his bald head’ as he stated he would when we were practicing this event.   Pastor Mike is taking it in stride, but look at his body-language.   I would say that he rued the day he made such a statement in front of the congregation!
Others joined in too with other skits, songs, and whatever.  Here Sunday School leader Mike and his wife Judy dressed like their interpretation of Sonny & Cher singing ‘I got you Babe’. 
And so it went, with people laughing, singing along, dancing (sorta), and I don’t know what all.   
The point of all this?   To get together, be served, enjoy a meal, and to just…have…fun.   And to show some of the younger crowd that ‘life – even at church, doesn’t ever have to get boring or stuffy’.    That you can be real.   That God Himself has a sense of humor and that it is OK to laugh.   At ourselves.   At each other.  At…Life.   And along with the above mentioned scenarios was food, the gift of serving, the gift of prayer, a devotion, and people reaching out to others saying, “You are important.   You count.  
And we care…”
(PS:  But I would probably have to agree with my Chinese friend – I won’t do that…   Or would I?)    

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