A few years ago, I was dragooned (tricked!) into participating in a theater production of the “Mama Monologues,” an evening of dramatic readings and performances by assorted creative folks on Maui that was put together by a friend of mine, Pat Masumoto.
Pat, who was a force of nature, strong-armed all of her friends to participate in this annual production that she organized and produced at the ‘Iao Theater in old Wailuku town. It was actually a part of a national effort and she managed to keep pulling it off with the help of her loyal crew of fans and friends for a number of years.
The “Mama Monologues” thing was one of the ways Pat dealt with being the primary caregiver for her mom, Florence, who was another force of nature. Florence was a feisty, sharp cookie who was pushing on 100 years old and still going strong at the time this took place.
Talk about “Living Out Loud”! Pat was one of those who literally made productions out of all of her issues!
There was a poem I had written about my own grandmother who raised me and about our running argument that lasted until she died. (That argument still continues in my head.)
Pat liked it and she spent weeks wearing down my resistance to the whole scary concept of standing up on a stage in front of a for-real theater full of people and reading a poem to them.
We did it! It was good.
Pat died about a year ago, a few months after her mother’s death at 104. I still miss the ladies.
Here’s the poem:
MAMA USED TO TELL ME
Mama used to always tell me
“If you want the rainbows,
You gotta put up with the rain.”
“To get to the glory,” she said,
“You slog through the pain.”
Me, I’m just a silly git,
But I’m not at all sure
Mama had the right of it.
I’ve been thinking:
Rainbows also need the beaming sun,
And glory may be the price we pay
For this goofy race we run.
Smiles are frowns turned right-side-up…
Then, laughter bubbles over…
Foaming from a too-full soda cup.
It occurs to me:
In this illusory world of mists and dreams,
Nothing is really all it seems.
So…come on now…let’s go!
We’ll dance through all the changes – ho!
I just remembered something:
Mama sure did like dancing and prancing.
The music grabs your feet and pulls you out of bed
And, always, there’s the magic
That tingles in your head.
Smart woman, my Mama.
By Netta Kanoho
Picture credit: ‘Iao Theater, Wailuku by 293 xx.xxx.xx (own work) via Wikimedia Commons [Public Domain]
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