By Susannah Wollman
I spent the day making canoes. Well, I guess to be more accurate, I’d have to say half-canoes. And while that might seem a bit confusing, it’s only because you’ve never met my friend Angie.
Angie is a mom like most other moms. She loves her kids and tries to make them happy. On their birthdays, just like other moms, she wants things to be special, different… unique. But while most moms will buy (or make) a special cake, and rent a jump house, or arrange to have a magician pull rabbits out of hats to entertain the umpteen kids who just have to be invited, Angie builds the Millennium Falcon.
Let me back up. Our church has an online community linked to the church’s website. In the community, we have a list of Groups. Groups are, well, just that; members of the church family who have special interests they’d like to share with other members. I have started four myself, and joined about eight or ten others (I’m kind of a community junkie). So when Angie started a group for people interested in making props and backgrounds for our various children’s programs, I wanted in!
Angie is one of the most resourceful people I’ve ever met. She looks at an object, say a car, for instance, and then tries to think of what materials she can use to make a facsimile of a car. Cardboard is her life’s blood in making stuff, but she uses other materials, too. Lots of different kinds of insulation, to illustrate. In addition to making canoes, I also helped paint the backdrops for the stages. We have two church campuses, so everything has to be done twice, but in slightly different formats, since the stages aren’t quite the same at both locations. This time, the backdrops consisted of 8-foot by 4-foot sheets of insulation (the kind with the pink foam interior, covered by flexible outer boards of something I don’t know the name of). It took six of those for one theater. Then we turned them sideways for a long strip 48-feet long for the other stage. We painted the sky, mountains, lots, and lots of trees, lakes, roads, and meadows.
Last week, we used rowboats in the productions, so Angie took some of the kind of insulation-foam that you squeeze from a tube and made wave shapes on the sides of the boats and then painted the waves blue. Genius!
I guess the most amazing set though, was for the Easter program. It was simply astounding! Angie and a very small group of people made caves (and they really, really looked like caves!) and round “stones” to cover the openings. These all had to be “reality-show” real, and by golly, they were. Those stones rolled away to present the empty tomb, and the kids were mesmerized! They knew Jesus had been placed in the tomb, and the stone covered the mouth of it. Then the stone was rolled away, and lo! And behold! Jesus wasn’t there. That production was exhilarating, and the expressions on the faces of the kids were priceless. And that’s what Angie does this for.
At 5:30, I said to Angie, “I can come back and work on Wednesday, if you’d like”. To which she replied, “Today’s the only day I can work on these this week. I’m going out of town for a few days. But right now I have to get home for a birthday party, and I’m not quite ready. I have to make the Millennium Falcon!”