It is a habit to watch the boats come in to port. We love to see their sails unfolded, shining a glorious white against the backdrop of the green marsh. With a gentle breeze, the ships seem to move without effort, like a dream from when the world was young. There can be no more calming, reassuring sight than that of a ship heading for home.
But the habit turns to heartbreak when a ship is witnessed leaving home for different ports; ports unknown.
I dedicate this blog to the wonderful journey of a dear friend and mentor; a joyous tutor in the things of life. She's heading for new ports, so I thought a retrospective of how she influenced my life would be a fitting tribute at this season of change.
I was 17 when I first performed in a play; some heady, Victorian comedy by Oscar Wilde. I had no idea what to expect from my first opening night; the sensation of a huge audience watching me become someone else was a totally bewildering experience. As I ambled on stage, trying my best to keep my cool, I could sense doubt emanating from some wicked, dark corner of my imagination. I questioned every move I made, but the audience seemed to eat it up. Laughter roared from every angle of the auditorium.
But from two discerning eyes came something deeper than laughter; from the faculties of Kathryn Ross issued forth "potential signals." She sensed in me a talent that needed to awake. This would impact my formative years in ways I could never have imagined. And Kathryn Ross would be behind most of the changes that lay in store.
For the next six years of my life, I would find myself graced with opportunities to participate in a number of activities that this saint of a woman would put on in her local community of Vineland. Each endeavor was a gift from God, a molding tool to shape me in His image.
Her most noted dramatic activity would have to be the numerous Melodrama's performed each summer. These quality, handcrafted scripts were tailor-made for a handful of young people, showcasing their gifts and abilities in avenues that might have otherwise been closed. For four years, I had the distinct privilege of forming life-long friendships with similar souls, all under the watchful eye of our gracious den-mother, "Miss Kathy."
Those threads in the fabric of time are admittedly small; but each has a warm glow all it's own. A vibrant feeling resonates from each moment, drawing me back to a simpler time. A time when the self-sacrifice of one talented, gracious lady made a world of difference in the lives of a dozen young people. Those days need not be remembered; the lessons learned from those four years are lights unto our daily paths.
The number of other events Miss Kathy had her hands in around Vineland is truly admirable; it sometimes seemed as if the entire cultural livelihood of this Southern New Jersey Town rested upon her shoulders: an artistic Atlas for the 21st century. The opportunities she presented to me were wonderful and character building: entertaining children at Talespin Story, dressing as a pig for a Christmas Parade, interpreting nature for third graders at Vineland's Founders Day. All these events are the building blocks of memories; to think they originated in the hearts of two dear people like Ed and Kathryn Ross only cements the value of each experience.
The ship is leaving. With a few bursts of wind, the sails bellow and aim for the cool blue ocean, leaving the comforts of the green marsh behind. Soon nothing but water surrounds; nothing but horizon lies ahead. But that's okay, the white and blue, the tested and the new, go well together. The sails flap in the breeze, sounding out the possibilities waiting to be born as the future draws near.
Things are changing for this dear lady and her literary endeavors. Gone is the Story-Time for toddlers; gone are the carefree days of Melodrama; the days of parades and dramas are slowly fading away into the dust of the past.
But that doesn't worry me. The future for Kathryn Ross is full of artistic adventures, designed to impact the lives of her disciples forever.
And I know that as I move forward with the lessons she has instilled into my being, I have her full support. I know she has a world of confidence in me, and that inspires me to sail onto horizons I've only dreamed about. With such secure backing, failure is a word long out of fashion; success is the word of the day.
And I have Kathryn to thank for that.
"The instruction of the wise is like a life-giving fountain..." Proverbs 13:13a
Kathryn Ross is a Literary Enhancement Artist in Southern New Jersey. Along with her husband Ed Ross, they seek to instill in students of all ages principles of truth and beauty. Check out her blog: The Writer's Reverie. To leave such a deep well of inspiration untouched shows a lack of appreciation for a good word, fitly spoken.
Felicitations Miss Kathy, as you sail onto new horizons. And Happy Birthday!
I am sharing this with "Brag on God" Fridays. and Simple Pleasures Thursdays.