Today is the first day of the 57th season of The Little Theatre on the Square here in Sullivan. The theatre draws visitors to our town from all over Illinois.
The performances are top of the line. It’s not a rare event when an actor or technician works here on their way to broadway. Here at the store we celebrate the theatre season. It’s the time of year when the streets are filled with happy theatre goers bumping elbows with tomorrow’s broadway who’s who. The season means new faces in the store and visits from old friends. Today has been no exception. The shop has been filled with people. Everyone laughing and visiting and having a good time. I love the sound of people laughing the first time they pick up a bag of our Weed soap or notice a bottle of our May Baily’s Lotion for Loose Women. It makes my day. Getting a giggle means a job well done here at Astoria.
I was surprised to see an old friend wander into the shop this afternoon. By old friend I mean we have known each other for a long time not old as in she went to school with Jesus… But if his high school year book shows up on eBay, I’m almost 100% sure you would find her picture in there. Sandra McVicker is one of the funniest women on the planet. She is known around the world by many an alias. Powerful men have sought her arm since her debutant days back in Ivesdale. It’s safe to imagine that Marilyn wasn’t the first starlet to be smuggled into the White House. A visit by the notorious McVicker means two things. 1. She is up to no good or 2. She is really really up to no good. Today was no exception. It was a combination of both 1 and 2. A dangerous combination to say the least.
Sandy and I have spent years exchanging the most unusual gifts. Once while she was on summer vacation I slipped into her house and installed a Christmas tree complete with orange and yellow twinkling lights. The tree was decked out in diaphanous cellophane clusters in in the most brilliant red. I left the house with the tree all aglow hoping she would walk in and gasp at my sneaky brilliance. Before she got a chance to see the tree in all it’s glory… The neighbors woke in the middle of the night, spotted the fiery flashes from their kitchen window and knowing Sandy was traveling, promptly called the fire department. On another occasion I created and installed a life sized Egyptian mummy in her shower. I have surrounded her house with crime scene tape, an entire roll of crime scene tape. I have dumped a box full of tiny rubber ducks in her back garden. I may or may not have also placed her house unofficially on the market by borrowing a realtor sign from another home in the neighborhood. That little prank went unnoticed by her as I’m sure the realtor found the sign before Sandy returned home from visiting Betty Ford. These are just a few of the little gestures of love that we toss back and forth.
My pranks have not gone un-returned. I once walked out my front door only to turn around and find that my house had a new sign announcing an open invitation for an upcoming NRA rally to be held at my address. I also often receive mail addressed to me where she has scrawled on the back of the envelope threats that suggest she and I are ladies of the evening embroiled in some sort of turf war concerning workable corners. I am also pretty sure she is responsible for all of the unsolicited magazine subscriptions that Show up addressed to me that I have to call and cancel. Today after Sandy and her accomplice left the store John discovered that she did not skip the opportunity to retaliate against me for filling her yard with vintage foam curlers a few months ago. I had deposited the curlers on her lawn by the handful. John waited patiently in the get away car as Tyler and I made Sandy’s yard look like a beauty shop had just exploded. This afternoon those turquoise beauties showed up in my garden. They surrounded plants in pots and were stuffed in any available nook and cranny. I couldn’t stop laughing. It was like a demented Easter egg hunt. All I have to say is, if that is all that she found in her yard… She better look again.
Tonight as I sit here wrapping soap I have been remembering all of the exchanges between the two of us. I am not quite sure how we got started tormenting and teasing each other. But I adore it. Every time I go to the mailbox, I imagine what may be hiding in there. A note written on an oversized postcard for everyone at the post office to see from a fictitious company confirming my engagement to a mail order bride?
Thanks to Sandy McVicker that and more is totally possible.
Happy Opening to John and everyone at The Little Theatre on the Square! You make Sullivan a must visit destination and we love you for that. Thank you all so much for bringing the arts into the community. Happy 57th year!