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By Linda Emley
On March 22 and 23, the Ray County Community Arts Association will present “The Living Lord’s Supper” on the stage of the Farris Theater.
It’s a five-act play that tells the story of the first Easter. Since I recently joined the RCCAA, I told them I would write a story about this production and help spread the word. It seemed like an easy task, but it turned out to be a bit harder than I had planned because it brought back memories of Easter from my past.
When I was young, Easter was a magical time. We always dressed up and went to Easter sunrise service at our little country church. Sometimes I got a new dress and maybe even a new Easter hat.
I may have dreamed this one up, but I think one year I even wore new white gloves. I remember sitting in church with my family and getting to sit by my grandmother, Mildred Kell Schooler. We always had Easter eggs and many years we got special wax decorated eggs from our neighbor, Irene Tracy.
When I got older, I learned the real story of Easter, and back then Easter Sunday had a different meaning. One thing that didn’t change was I still sat by my grandmother in church Easter morning.
My grandmother and I were close and I’m very thankful we got to share 46 years together on this good Earth. Thinking about the “Living Lord’s Supper” production reminds me of one of the favorite memories I shared with my grandmother.
One day back in the early 1980s, she and I were watching TV and we saw a commercial for “The Glory of Easter” pageant that was playing at the Crystal Cathedral in sunny California. It was a live production that played every night for a month or so before Easter.
I was working for Frontier Airlines at the time, so I surprised her and ordered us tickets for the play. We jumped on a plane and headed to the John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif.
These two Ray County girls were traveling in style because I booked us a room at the Doubletree Hotel, which just happened to be right across the parking lot from the Crystal Cathedral. It was a vacation that I’ll never forget because it was full of many memories.
I had flown into the John Wayne Airport many times before because it was a yearly tradition in our family to take my boys to Disneyland for their birthday.
But on this trip we had to stop and get our picture taken in front of the John Wayne statue that stood outside the airport because my grandmother loved the “Duke.” The hotel bus picked us up and we got to our hotel in time to take a little nap before we went to the show that evening. It was like a fairy-tale adventure because the hotel bus let us out at the front door and we walked in like we were going to a Hollywood premier.
We had seats on the aisle and my grandmother got an up-close view of all the live horses and camels that walked down the aisles on the way to the stage. There was even a real lion sitting on a side of the throne of Pontius Pilate, the king. When Christ was hanging on the cross, fireworks were shot off inside the building to illustrate the lightning that filled the sky when Christ died. It was very spectacular and made us feel like we were living this part of Biblical history.
We went back to our hotel after the show. Our hotel room looked out over the parking lot and we could see the Crystal Cathedral standing tall as it gleamed with light.
There was a second show that evening and my grandmother sat by the window as she watched the crowd arrive. I was worn out so I stretched out on my bed to rest while she stayed at her post next to the window. She kept me updated on everything that was going on across the parking lot.
I was about to doze off when she told me to get up and come to the window. She told me they were about ready to shoot off the fireworks and since this Cathedral was made of glass panels, we should be able to see it light up. I will never understand how she knew, but just a few seconds after I got to the window, the whole building lit up and we heard the bang of the fireworks. It was magical and I got to share it with my grandmother, Mildred Kell Schooler.
The “Living Lord’s Supper” isn’t going to have live horses and we won’t see fireworks going off inside the Farris Theatre, but it is going to be filled with special memories. It’s the story of Christ, told in a way that you have never seen before and may never see again. Please come and bring someone special to share it with so you can make new memories and maybe even start a new family tradition.
As for me, I plan on attending the show Friday night because it’s my grandmother’s birthday. I can’t think of a better way to honor her than spending the evening at the Farris Theatre watching this play.
We spent a few special evenings together at the Farris in our time. I remember seeing “Gone With The Wind” with her when I was young. She told me she saw the same movie there with her mother when it first came out in 1939. I’m sure my mother and her baby sister were there with them also. It’s memories like this that make the Farris Theatre special.
Please come join us at the Farris Theatre Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23 at 7 p.m. as the Ray County Community Arts Association presents the “THE LIVING LORD’S SUPPER.” Tickets are $5. We need to thank the area churches that help make this event possible for the sixth year by providing volunteers and sharing the message of Easter.
May we all find the joy of Easter as we spend this holiday season with our family and friends.
Have a story to share with Linda? Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org or see her in person Friday at the Farris Theatre.