Key to My Past


past keys; locked locks

Urgency Day 179

500 Things Items 315-321: Locks and Keys

  • History: Opened, locked, secured
  • Value: Adequate until can no longer identify
  • Parting Pain: None
  • Un-possessing: Metal scrap at dump

“Can’t sing. Can’t act. Can dance a little.”

( The assessment of Fred Astaire at his screen test.)

This quote popped into my head this weekend while I was giving a demonstration at a charitable event. I am sure the very same evaluation could have been made of me, but without the irony.

On Saturday, I got the chance to perform. I really haven’t been on stage in years– unless you count soggy toasts or homemade birthday videos. But what we did on Saturday very nearly counts as theater.

The Naperville group I work with and have promoted on this blog, Families Helping Families, presented a nutrition/cooking-class event for our clients and their teenaged children. Our program’s wonderful registered dietician gave a fantastic presentation on the many benefits of healthy eating; we gave away enough cooking-related gifts to rival Oprah’s Favorite Things; and our clients got to assemble and take home four delicious and balanced meals for their families—sort of like the “Dream Dinners” concept. And I, well, I didn’t sing, I didn’t dance (much), but oh I hammed it up big time.

Well, maybe not “hammed.” Maybe “turkeyed” it up—heart-healthy style.

How often do we get to resurrect some earlier version of ourselves?

I used to perform. For years, it was an essential part of how I defined myself. And I had no idea the last time I got on stage would be the last time. Performing simply vanished from my life.

You can probably fill in your own blank: I used to ___________. If you had the chance, would you reclaim that part of yourself?

Our group has a generous grant to hold four more of these events. The goal is to promote healthy eating through home cooking for our hardworking parents, people who are short on both time and money. (Whose life doesn’t fit that description?) And so, I will get four more chances to get on stage and ham it up in the name of good nutrition. I can’t wait.

Maybe the relevant quote I should have conjured was the one about Fred’s partner, Ginger Rogers:

“She does everything he does,

only backwards and in high heels.”

And she cooks a little.


3 Responses to “Key to My Past”

  1. Donna Says:

    Oooo! I have a disease that keeps me from throwing old keys away. I think I caught it when I “inherited” Grandmom’s old brown zipper pouch of keys from the fountain, the apartments, and who knows what else. If you would like to have the men of Deffenbaugh bring your collection with them when they come, I’m sure the keys would enjoy this final resting place much more than the dump. (I know this is ultimately counterproductive. Sigh!)

  2. sthibeault Says:

    Of course, I will donate my keys to your kingdom– as you say, a more satisfying resting place. However, I am a bit conflicted about this “contribution.” I am much more comfortable about sending the Legos, Playmobil, sci fi stuff, family items… oh heck. I’ll make my peace with giving you a few keys.

  3. melanie Says:

    I’m sure you were a fabulous presenter. Congratulations on getting the first class under your belt. I’m also sure that the guests were shouting “Encore!” for you.

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