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The Old Man with the Worms (Grateful)

July 8, 2011

Today is Friday.  And on Fridays we write.  We write passionately and uninhibitedly and without editing for 5 minutes.  We don’t go back.  We only go forwards.  Lisa-Jo, The Gypsy Mama, has prompted us with the idea of: grateful.  So 5 minutes of writing without the “delete” button in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…


“Are you almost ready?”  the stage manager in black asked me.  I could already feel the heat from the stage lights coming through the thick theater curtains.

I don’t remember how old I was.  I was little though, and drowning in the glittering cape they gave me to play the part of the Old Man with the Worms in our theater’s production of James and the Giant Peach.  I was nervous.  I had a little glittering baggie around my wrist holding my precious prop – the worms.  Only they weren’t real worms, they were gummy worms, and in my angst I had practically eaten the entire bag.  I had only a few precious worms to give to the character of James at this point.

I was waiting backstage in the prop room to go on.  It was musty.  Characters’ tools and play things had been stacked in these old boxes for years, and I was now a part of the magic.  I suddenly had the urge to go to the bathroom, but it instantly left when I heard my cue.  I was about to go on.  The stage manager readied her hand to provide an opening for me between the curtains.  I tensed, but somehow managed to put two feet in front of the other.  My glittering cape dragged behind me.  My bag of almost-empty worms still clung at my side.  My first play.  My first moment of accepting, and learning to love, my differences from my family.  My first act of real bravery.  I will forever be grateful to that Old Man with the Worms.  His role changed my life.


Want to write with us?  Come on over to 5 Minute Fridays and have some fun!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 8, 2011 12:05 pm

    Wonderful. Such a huge moment in any young life!

  2. July 8, 2011 2:21 pm

    I LOVED this. I am standing backstage with you and picturing you putting one foot in front of the other. Isn’t it miraculous how theater shapes and moves us, and how much bravery it teaches us to have? I’m always awed. And the way you spin the story for us in these few minutes. It’s just beautiful. Thank you, Lauren. Visiting this blog is one of my favorite moments of the day.

  3. July 8, 2011 2:43 pm

    What a fabulous journey this prompt took you on today! LOVED reading it and loved your reflections on the experience. Thank you.

  4. July 8, 2011 6:07 pm

    agree LKP, this is a glorious sketch and yes, those defining moments…AMEN!!!

  5. July 9, 2011 12:28 am

    What a great story! It’s so fun to look back and see those moments that have been so “big” in our lives.

  6. July 9, 2011 6:01 pm

    LOVED this. Amazing the moments that stamp themselves on our memory.

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