Fiddler on the Roof is one of my favorite musicals of all time. The very best Tevye of all times was played with sensitivity, humor, and joyeux de vivre by my beloved husband Nyle. I always wanted the chance to portray Golda to his Tevya...sigh, I'm certain that in Heaven we'll finally get our chance.
This last week I went to a production of Fiddler by a group of talented teenagers. Oh trust me, Tevye was no NYLE SMITH, but he did a terrific job for a teenage boy. It was strange for me to have an all teenage cast sing the poignant song, "Sunrise, Sunset." I mean in our teens how do any of us comprehend that someday we actually WILL be old? It seems impossible at that stage of life to comprehend that we will ever be older than 21.
Today we went to an Open House for one of our beloved friends who just returned from a two year LDS Mission in Brazil. I first met this young man when he was about three years old. He was a red headed dynamo. He was particularly talented at getting involved in mischief. Just about the time that Wes would get on my last nerve he would do something so incredibly adorable that I knew that I would love him forever and beyond!
One night our oldest daughter was babysitting for Wes and several of his siblings. Wes simply refused to stay in bed, and since he shared his bedroom he was keeping his sisters awake as well. Our girl was just beginning her babysitting career. She called me almost in tears asking for my help. I went over with my superior parental authority (at least I thought I had this power, I have since learned that I was delusional in this regard).
I pretty much wrestled Wes into bed. I then began to sing him lullabies. I have perfected the ability over the years of singing such soothing songs that I can lull the most fractious and rambunctious of children to sleep.
After singing a couple of songs to Wes he said, "May I sing MY favorite song to you?" I figured he would sing some nursery rhyme, something elegant and refined such as "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." Imagine my surprise when he began to sing in clear little boy tones, "When you walk through a storm keep your head up high, and don't be afraid of the dark..." This amazing song is from the musical "Carousel." I have never before or since heard it performed word perfect by a small boy.
In the years since I've come to understand that Wes got into mischief generally because he's quite brilliant. When he would get bored, the trouble would begin. If that brilliant mind, and need for activity could be channeled he was a joy to be with.
Wes grew into a loving young man. One example is a warm spring afternoon when I drove around a corner and there he was with a group of his high school buddies. He literally waved at me to stop my car. He ran across the road to hug me with one of his all engulfing hugs. When Wes hugs you, you know you've been good and properly hugged! No sissy stilted hugs from this dear boy!
Somehow today seeing twenty-one year old Wes felt unreal, as though he should still be that brilliant, red-headed little boy of my dreams in his clear, sincerely sweet voice singing, "Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart, and you'll never walk alone..." Yet even though he's now handsome, and grown up I will always keep that precious boy that he used to be alive and close to my heart.