Never Too Late For A Dream

So, Peter Pan.

I wrote about Oldest Junior Hall and his dream to see Peter Pan, a dream he’d had since he was just a little Peter Pan himself. And lucky him, the show came to The Fox Theater in Atlanta, and luckier him, his mother (that’s me) took him (and his sister) to the show. Childhood dream happily, wonderfully realized. Yay!

But that is not the story here. The story here is Cathy Rigby (who plays Peter Pan).

Honestly, when I saw that Cathy Rigby was playing Peter Pan, I was a little wary. I mean, I’m all for stamping out ageism, and keeping fit, but Cathy Rigby? How old is Cathy Rigby, anyway? I watched her do her gymnastics thing in the Olympics years ago. (I was but a wee, wee child.)

So I looked it up. She’s 59. FIFTY-NINE. Which by itself is no big deal. I know plenty of 59 year olds. But I don’t know any 59 year olds who can walk on their hands, do splits and cartwheels, flip into dozens of somersaults while FLYING, and sing at the same time.

I sat up there in my seat absolutely amazed. The fact that she could remember all her lines was pretty stupendous, but that she still had moves like Gabby Douglas was…I don’t even have a word for it. Inconceivable. That’s what it was: inconceivable. Even Oldest Junior Hall remarked upon it.

Now, Cathy Rigby didn’t leave gymnastics and immediately take up theater. Nope. She taught gymnastics and enjoyed a long career as a sports commentator, embarked on a seven-year stint in intensive theater and voice training, and then hit the boards as Peter Pan in 1990.  Talk about someone going after a dream.

So I watched Cathy and thought how in the world does that woman have the energy to hop all over that stage (and never once fall on her butt)? But I also thought it’s never too late to go after what you want.

What do you want in your writing career? It’s not too late to achieve your dreams–and you don’t need fairy dust, either. Just focus on what you want and the steps that will get you there. Then do it.

 (But I wouldn’t mind a sip of whatever Cathy Rigby’s drinking before those Peter Pan shows.)

If Only All Dreams Were That Easy

Oldest Junior Hall called me this evening to ask about Peter Pan. Specifically, the question was, “Don’t you want to go to Peter Pan with me?”

Which is kid code for “Hey Mom? Will you buy the expensive tickets because I want to go but I’m just a poor working kid?”

Now, honestly, the kid had me at Peter Pan. Because I love musical theater and will go see any musical, any time, pretty much at any venue. I have sat through many an off-key song, in lots of uncomfortable chairs, all for the sake of musical verse.

But I won’t go alone. And the Beneficent Mr. Hall is very picky about the musical theater he’ll attend. (Les Miserables, yes. Peter Pan, not so much.) So naturally, I was excited about a willing offer to see Peter Pan. Even though I knew I’d have to add another expensive ticket to the bunch for Juniorette Hall.

You see, Peter Pan is not just a musical. It’s the musical I taped one evening when the kids had gone to bed because it came on at 9:00. But the next day, at nap time, when Juniorette Hall was (sorta) sleeping, I popped in Peter Pan for Oldest Junior Hall to watch, thinking he’d love those pirates. And boy, did he ever!

He loved the pirates, he loved Peter Pan, he loved the flying and the Indians and Tiger Lily and the drums. He thought Mary Martin was the coolest boy ever. And Captain Hook? Ho, ho! I can’t tell you how many pirate books I read to that boy.

And before long, Juniorette quit the naps in favor of watching Peter Pan, too. I’d doze on the couch about the time Mrs. Darling started singing, “Tender Shepherd.” But I’d be wide awake at the last act, when Peter asked Wendy to go back to Neverland.

Oh, that last scene always tugged at my heart. Because I knew that one day, those kids would outgrow Peter Pan. Of course, that sort of thing never happens when you’re watching. You’re busy cheering at baseball games, helping with homework, looking for retainers, getting learner’s permits…and suddenly, those little kids are all grown up and out the door.

But then one day, your all-grown son asks if you want to go to the Fox Theater and see Peter Pan, live on the stage. And then he adds a throwaway line:It’s been a dream of mine,” he says, “since I was a little kid.”

So, yeah. I clicked on the tab for three expensive tickets– because how often do you get a chance to make a a little boy’s dream come true?

(P.S. If you’ve never read J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, you can read it here, in its entirety, thanks to the Literature Project. In fact, you can find all kinds of classics, poems, plays, for FREE, at the Literature Project. How clever is that?)