Granny's Notes - the writing of Sue Gerard

Old-fashioned fun still alive and well

At the stroke of 7, 20 women came stampeding out of the dressing rooms. Singing and yelling and waving, they marched right off the stage into the audience. These ladies were artists, real estate agents, computer specialists, mothers, grandmothers, highway engineers, business women, wives of professionals and others. But Sunday afternoon, they were trapeze artists, knife throwers, snake charmers, lions, bearded ladies, tight-rope walkers, clowns and other circus characters. Breathless, they returned to the stage, singing "Alexander’s Ragtime Band" in the four-part, a cappella barbershop style. They were having fun, and so were we.

The Heart of Missouri Sweet Adelines chorus and quartets were putting on their annual show. They chose the theme, wrote the script and made their own costumes and stage settings. It was hard work, and they loved it. Some of those women live 50 miles away, and drive, in almost any weather, to sing together in Jefferson City on Monday nights. They’re "real people" the rest of the week.

Sweet Adelines are no different from people who participate in other leisure activities. All are having fun and many share their fun with the rest of us as Sweet Adelines and the men’s barbershoppers do.

When I taught a class called recreational leadership, I enjoyed discussing this with college students. "What do you do for fun?" I asked. They mentioned various sports, crafts, clubs, parties and hobbies. Then we tried to answer the question, "Why is that fun?"

Two thought-provoking examples of "fun for fun’s sake" have stayed in my memory these 27 years:

One girl said, "This sounds really weird, but one time I decided to tan a rat’s hide." She told how she did it and then said, "It was a wall hanging for my room."

The other student said, "One day my boyfriend and I decided to polish every pair of shoes in the house and we gathered them up and did it. It was really fun."

My own special fun has been to create different ways to swim, moving through water forward or backward on front, side and back. That makes swimming for exercise less monotonous.

The tanned hide, the tight-rope walking on stage, the polished shoes and my weird swimming strokes are fun things that get all five senses working together in synchronization. Perhaps that’s what fun really is.

Sometimes, the planning, re-hearsal, or "getting in shape" for an event is as exciting as the event itself. It was that way with the Sweet Adelines’ circus. It’s that way for those who get in shape for the 100 mile bicycle ride or plan a Civil War encampment.

In fishing, hiking and bird watching, it’s not necessary to share the joy by telling about the big one that got away.

Fun for fun’s sake is satisfying, enriching and can boost one’s self esteem. Nobody needs to know how many skips a small flat stone made on quiet water when you slung it just right. You did it for fun.

If the fun of transforming yourself with gaudy makeup and a frilly costume and singing with a gang of happy people appeals to you, there’s always a need for one more baritone, tenor, lead or bass in the Heart of Missouri Chorus and in the men’s group, "Boonslick Chordbusters."

The women will repeat "The Little Circus That Could!" at 7 p.m. Saturday in Jefferson City at Trinity Lutheran School on Swift’s Highway.

The Chordbusters will present "The Heritage of Harmony" at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 at the Missouri Theatre. For information, call Nancy Russell at 442-2809 or Chuck Bay at 445-0665.

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