Neither Either


less faking it

Urgency Day 177

500 Things Items 322-23: Fake Foliage

  • History: Bought to “liven” up the decor
  • Value: More dusty than delightful
  • Parting Pain: <cough cough> None!
  • Un-possessing: Donations

How many school ceremonies have you had to endure gotten to enjoy?

  • Back to School nights
  • Orchestra/band/choir concerts
  • Plays and talent shows
  • Holiday celebrations
  • Awards—deserved and invented
  • Graduations and Movings-on

Since I have only the one child, you may think I’ve gotten off easy. In fact, I probably have. But I also have two almost-children, nieces, and I invited myself along to every one of their events I reasonably (and possibly unreasonably) could.

Most especially to their ballet recitals.

Oh how I loved Miss Ginny’s annual ballet recitals! The Self-Contained Unit’s chosen activities of soccer and music did not allow me to become a ballet mom. You’ll have to ask my girls if I was a ballet aunt.

No. I haven’t seen “Black Swan.”

On February 23rd, I fondly remember one school ceremony in particular from decades ago. It was for my older niece Laura when she was in fourth-ish grade. Her mom, my sister, wasn’t able to attend, so her dad and I went to hoot and holler for our girl. I don’t have a clue what, why, how many or how good the thing was that she did and for which she was getting an award. Here’s what I do remember.

At a certain point in the ceremony, gifts were being brought forward for a few of the teachers. An adorable little girl was the first to make her way to the front, proudly carrying some truly wretched tribute—think dying plant or dead flowers, and you get the idea. My brother-in-law Jim and I could barely restrain our giggles, watching the look of doe-in-the-headlights horror cross the intended recipient’s face as she realized she was about to receive this “gift.”

Just before the child could reach her mark, however, the principal frantically gestured for the child to STOP! Obviously some mistake had been made. She then motioned for another child to come forward with her gift instead. A flash of relief barely had time to wash over the teacher’s face, when she saw that the alternate gift was equally if not more horrible– think bigger deader flowers.

And with impeccable timing, Jim and I turned to each other and simultaneously whispered the Stephen Sondheim lyric:

“I don’t want the other either!”

(Sunday in the Park with George)

Fortunately, our perverse mirth was drowned out, and we quickly joined the gentle giggles and commiserating applause from the other dads, moms and, I am confident, besotted aunts.

For my darling bro:

Happy February 23rd.

Happy Birthday.


3 Responses to “Neither Either”

  1. Donna Says:

    If you don’t know the lyric, then the old cliche “you had to be there” truly applies. Happily, I was. It’s a treasured memory to this day.

    Shared memories are family glue.

  2. sthibeault Says:

    I knew I was risking a “you had to be there” reaction. But this memory still makes me smile. Worth trying to share!

  3. melanie Says:

    Could the dust on the Fake Foliage be counted as another complete entity unto itself? Item #324?

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