The actress in me

Lynn Horton is a freelance writer and editor who in another lifetime taught English and Creative Writing at McIntosh High School and later worked in the Starr’s Mill High School Media Center.

I’ve always secretly dreamed of being an actress; a young Katherine Hepburn or a pixyish Audrey Hepburn, perhaps a siren like Lana Turner or Marilyn Monroe. I started my career in the side room off the porch of my Grandma’s house where she had stored all sorts of wonderful “costumes,” actually dresses and fur pieces, gloves and bags to match that my aunt sent her from Seattle, Washington. She could never wear those things to a church supper, a quilting bee, or a tent revival, now could she? So they ended up in the “dress up” trunk and I teetered about on fancy high heels which often got caught between the floorboards of the old farm house. I loved that room and that magic trunk. My momma took me to a lot of those old black and white post – WWII movies which sparked my appetite and my imagination for play acting, as we called it. Yes, I dreamed of being on the stage from the time I was four, and Lucille, our housekeeper/babysitter, fed that dream. She said to me almost daily, “Lordy Child, Miss Linda, you so pretty you going to be a movie star!” I loved ‘Cille, and I believed that whatever she said would come true.
I began to realize my dream when I was cast as the piano teacher, an older woman with a foreign accent, in our Junior Play at Jackson High School in Jackson, South Carolina, a tiny little town near the giant Savannah River Plant, a nuclear plant where my dad was stationed with a small Army detachment. There were few scouts from Hollywood in Jackson, so it was not until the Senior Play at New Albany High School in New Albany, Mississippi that I got another chance to shine. This time I was again cast as a foreigner—a Swedish maid in the home of a wealthy Southern cotton merchant (I don’t know what the father of the “star” did—I just made that bit up); she was a Southern Belle and I was again, an underling. Sigh. But, in both plays, I was the first character to appear on stage, and I made the most of it.
Anyway, to get to the meat of this piece, I have, after a dry spell of about 50 years, been cast in a delightful play called “Murder at the Tractor Pull.” Now, it wasn’t exactly what I thought my debut as a “mature actress” would be like, but, as any struggling actor knows, “You takes what you gets!” And that is true for us more senior thespians. So, here I am, this time playing the matriarch of the Deere family. This play has it all. A Hatfield and McCoy-like feud between rival families vying for the trophy at the annual Tractor Pull. A Romeo and Juliet story adds romance when Charlene Deere falls for Billy Bob Ford and of course the families refuse to accept their love for one another, and the two are in danger of becoming the Star-Crossed Lovers of a Shakespearean drama. There is a Parade with horses and tractors; Fords, John Deere, Farmall and even a foreign Alabama-made Kabuto tractor. There is also the Turnip Queen, Charlene Deere of course, a beauty with a crown the size of a Giant Pizza from Matt’s.
And, did I forget to tell you? This is a Musical!! Yes, this play has it ALL. A singing Romeo (Billy Bob Ford), a Quartet, and a singing Doc named Mel who stutters but can belt out a diagnoses without any trouble at all if he can just “Sing it!”
What I have described above is the comedy written especially for the Sharpsburg Baptist Church Players who will perform this epic in August 2019 at a Dessert Theatre. Or maybe, just a Snack Theatre, it depends on the seating and how much room there is for plates on tables. We’re kidding, folks. Things are still in the early stages of planning and we will let you know later whether your ticket will include Key Lime Pie, Banana Pudding, or a Popsicle.
Mother’s Day this year was also quite a production all its own! My oldest daughter had sent a small package not to be opened until Sunday! She called before we went to church and I was able to open the gift and thank her via phone conversation. The silver bracelet read “I Love You, Kim” and was in her own distinctive handwriting. Lovely! Then I opened the gift my sweet, sweet friend Lauren left earlier in the week and found she had given me the most beautiful tea cup and saucer in shades of pink—like the inside of a seashell. Her card brought tears to my eyes. Precious. Then, if I had not been honored enough, my younger daughter Leslie brought my two grandchildren over to be admired and enjoyed for several hours!! They are 17 and 20. Impossible. They also brought some very wonderful gifts, specific to the things I love most…reading and writing!
Finally, my dear friend Sheridan, once the local florist in Senoia, “couldn’t stand it” till she brought me some beautiful cut flowers in a bright red watering can. Her card was extra special. She was able to visit for an hour or so, and she finished off a very special day for both of us…A Mother’s Day finale…just as the sun set behind the pines.
These beautiful tributes and visits were such a blessing. After reading the lovely sentiments and accepting the sweet gifts, I was awash in tears; no acting necessary.

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