There are two holidays that define the fall for me: Thanksgiving and Homecoming.
As a kid, Halloween was one of my favorite holidays because any legitimate excuse to wear a costume was to be celebrated. And since I spend the summers working at Colorado Renaissance Festival, one could argue that I still feel that way. But I digress. Homecoming has replaced Halloween for me.
This year was my 8th year as an Alumnus of Sterling College. I chose Sterling primarily because of their Theatre department, and I majored in Theatre. I know there’s a Big Football game, and a parade, and banquets, and other fun things. But, probably because I was always in the show and therefore exhausted during the day, Homecoming has always been about the Musical to me. I’ve been “home” every year since graduation, making this my 12th straight SC homecoming musical.
I love to follow the ‘college careers’ of the actors and theatre majors that have come after me. This year the new Theatre professors produced a fantastic version of my favorite show, ‘Godspell’. I saw it twice. One time I snorted during a quiet, but funny, moment. (That’s what I do.) Last night I took my 12 year old nephew to see the show. We had a wonderful time!
Of course, part of going to the show is catching up with old friends. At my 5th reunion a few years ago, we class of ’04 grads all sat together at the show. We were thrilled to discover that our tradition of placing ‘Skippy’ the taxidermied squirrel on stage had been continued on. He’d been hung from the flies because there was no set to hide him in. Many times I’ve sat next to my dear friend Kate so we can whisper to each other (and giggle to each other) our observations. I can’t count the times we’ve turned and said the same thing at the same time. Last year My old roommate, Stacy, arrived at my house a few hours before the show, and we flung ourselves into each other and shouted “your Hair!” We’d both had dramatic cuts that day and nothing more needed to be said.
More of my close friends came “home” in the first few years when we were not so widely scattered in location and life. (I myself have lived within 3 blocks of the college for 6 of the last 8 years.) But I can always count on seeing my fellow Homecoming Junkie, Meaghan. She’s a brilliant teacher and actress in the Topeka area, but she’s always, ALWAYS there. And so am I. We’re part of the fabric of the night.
As I looked around during Intermission last night, I saw more unfamiliar faces than ever before. But I had the familiar, pleasant feeling that I knew these people. Everyone there was there for the same reason, everyone was in a happy mood. All around me I saw old friends greeting one another and new friends getting acquainted. Adam commented that that’s the way Heaven will be.
It may sound a little cheezey, but he’s right. Heaven will be our great Homecoming, and we can take all the time we want to catch up with friends old and new. (And we can also feast, which is a lot like Thanksgiving.)