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My Early Experience with Directing Skits

As a baby boomer, Denise and millions of others are becoming senior citizens. She explores what it means to be over 60 today.

My mother's infectious laugh.

My mother's infectious laugh.

Make Them Laugh

My sister, Sherry, was the funny one. She could make my father laugh like no one else. How I envied her ability. I wanted to make my father proud, to make him happy, to make him laugh. But I was the shy, reserved one. I didn’t have that outgoing ability. What I didn’t know was that all the most famous comedians were also shy and reserved in real life: Bob Denver, Bill Murray, Steve Martin, etc.

Once when I was just 13, I volunteered to be a counselor at a camp and found out able little funny skits the kids did around the campfire. What a terrific idea! And they were funny. That’s when I purposed to put on some skits for my father.

The person who can bring the spirit of laughter into a room is indeed blessed.

— Bennett Cerf

My dad

My dad

Back Home

It is good to have 3 siblings when you want to put on a dramatic presentation and your resources are few. I gathered them and got them to agree to put on a performance for the folks. We rehearsed and were soon ready.

The Important Paper

The Important Paper

The Important Paper

Our first skit was The Important Paper. I sat my baby brother in a tall chair with a paper crown on his head and a red towel around his shoulders.

“Bring me THE IMPORTANT PAPER,” he ordered.

My sister ran out and came back with a document we had affixed a seal and red ribbon at the bottom to look like a land deed.

“Here it is,” she panted, “the important paper!”

“That’s not the important paper,” the king bellowed tossing it to the floor. “Bring me THE IMPORTANT PAPER!”

So I ran out and came back into the room with colored paper for writing letters and an ink pen.

“Here it is,” I bowed, “the important paper!”

“That’s not the important paper,” the king frowned throwing them to the floor. “Bring me THE IMPORTANT PAPER!”

Next my littlest sister ran out and came back in with a roll of toilet paper, the unrolled paper streaming behind her.

“Here it is,” I bowed, “the important paper!”

“Ahhhh,” the king sighed embracing the toilet paper. “At last. THE IMPORTANT PAPER.”

And we all bowed as the king marched out to the restroom.

My dad loved it and applauded.

But we weren’t finished.

My Drama Troupe.  I'm the tallest and the Lovely Daughter.

My Drama Troupe. I'm the tallest and the Lovely Daughter.

Laughter is the closest distance between two people.

— Victor Borge

The Mortgage on The Cow

This skit took the longest to prepare for because we had to be synchronized. It is a sing-song type of skit where the whole cast must bounce up and down by bending at the knee and then straightening up. By the time it is done, it has been quite a workout. At each couple of words, we all bounce together. I hope you can picture it as you read it.

I had to modify this one to work for my family. The original had a Ma and a Pa but I only have 3 siblings so Pa is gone in my version.

Disclaimer: While this was very funny 45 years ago because it was so ludicrous, it may not strike people as funny now with so many killings being commonplace. I apologize in advance.

Enter the mother and lovely daughter played by my sister, age 11, and myself at 13, bouncing.

Mother: Sob, sob, sob-sob-sob. I say sob, sob, sob-sob-sob. (while dabbing at her eyes with a

Handkerchief and bouncing)

Daughter: What’s the matter, Ma? What’s the matter, Ma? I say, what’s the matter, Ma? What’s the matter, Ma?

Mother: We ain’t got the money for the mortgage on the cow. I say, we ain’t got the money for the mortgage on the cow.

Both in unison: Sob, sob, sob-sob-sob. I say sob, sob, sob-sob-sob. (while dabbing at eyes with handkerchief and bouncing)

Enter the bad guy, played by my youngest sister, age 7, with a fake mustache and hat, bouncing.

Bad Guy: I’ve come for the money for the mortgage on the cow. I say, I’ve come for the money for the mortgage on the cow.

Mother and Daughter: But we ain’t got the money for the mortgage on the cow. I say, we ain’t got the money for the mortgage on the cow.

Bad Guy: Then I’ll take your lovely daughter for the mortgage on the cow. I say, I’ll take your lovely daughter for the mortgage on the cow. (Bad guy grabs the lovely daughter and pulls her next to him)

Mother and Daughter: Sob, sob, sob-sob-sob. I say sob, sob, sob-sob-sob. (while dabbing at eyes with handkerchief and bouncing)

Enter the good guy, played by my baby brother who was about 6 years old at the time. He enters dramatically and suddenly, bouncing.

Good Guy: I’ve got the means for the mortgage on the cow. I say, I’ve got the means for the mortgage on the cow.

The good guy pulls his finger out of his pocket and points it at the bad guy and says:

Good Guy: Bang, bang, bang-bang-bang. I say, bang, bang, bang-bang-bang.

Bad Guy looks surprised and grabs his chest.

Bad Guy: Uh, uh, uh-uh-uh. I say, uh, uh, uh-uh-uh. (He falls to the ground twitching)

The End

Thunderous applause and laughter!

My Dad, The Hunter

Improvement

I never found a way to improve on this dramatic presentation. Nothing else I ever did give my dad as big a laugh and me as much pleasure. I danced for him. He wasn’t impressed. I played the piano for him. It put him to sleep. I cooked for him, and he enjoyed that, but cooking is no laughing matter. I don’t know if he was ever proud of me. He never said. He wasn’t the kind of guy who could say the words so I’m not sure. But I know he loved me, and I guess that will have to be enough. I do know my siblings enjoyed being in these little productions and so that is something. We bonded.

We ain't got the money for the mortgage on the cow.  I say...

We ain't got the money for the mortgage on the cow. I say...

A day without laughter is a day wasted.

— Charlie Chaplin

Final Thoughts

Have you ever put on a show for your parents? Did it go as well as you wanted it to? Did making your father laugh mean as much to you as it did to me? I’d love to read your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

Comments

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 16, 2021:

Peggy,

I have had a lot of joy from looking back at these old video clips of the past. I never realized what a pleasure all that old footage would be to me as I got older. Now I know. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 16, 2021:

Mary,

I wish I could have seen some of the things you put on for your elders. It must have been fun for you. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 30, 2021:

The important paper skit was a funny one. I am sure your parents enjoyed those skits. The hunting trip video was a fun one to watch. You have a lovely voice, by the way. It is fun looking back at earlier times.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on August 30, 2021:

Hi, Denise. We did put on shows but we did it for the older members of our family and they always appreciated it which made our parents proud of us

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 30, 2021:

MariaMontgomery,

You are so right. My husband said something very similar about his father. He had no idea his dad even knew he could draw until his brother overheard him bragging to one of his aunts that his son was very talented. I know my father loved me by all the little things he would do for me. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 30, 2021:

Chitrangada Sharan,

That is so kind of you to say. I wish I looked more like my mother. She is so beautiful to me. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 30, 2021:

Umesh Chandra Bhatt,

I'm glad you found it interesting. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 30, 2021:

Rosina S Khan,

Thank you for reminding me of this moment with your article about the performance you and your friends put on. I enjoyed that so much. It was a fun time for me. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 30, 2021:

Pamela Oglesby,

You are right about the times. My dad was a very quiet man. He didn't give out false praise and so he kept a lot to himself. He told me he loved me all of three times that I can remember. Once when he was preparing to walk me down the aisle. But when he knew he was dying he told me every time he saw me. So often that I almost didn't know what to do with that. It was so unlike him and meant he knew he was not going to see me much anymore. One thing about a man like that, you treasured every time he said something meaningful like that. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 30, 2021:

Liz Westwood,

I must agree. These days kids are missing the opportunity to try imagination and performance because their devices do it all for them. I like YouTube for that reason. Kids on YouTube have to create a background and "put on a show" for the camera and that brings out some thought and creativity. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 30, 2021:

Bill,

I know The Important Paper is real high-brow, sophisticated bathroom humor and gets most people right where they live. I don't know why I always loved The Mortgage on the Cow best. It shows I have a bit of a dark humor side to me. I think I always wanted to make my parents laugh because I couldn't. My sister was the funny one and wit just oozed out of her. Whereas in a battle of wits, I came unarmed. Making dad laugh was a real cool deal for me that day. More memorable for me I bet than for them. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 30, 2021:

From Bill Holland:

I couldn't find your article in the HP feed, so I'm left to comment this way. I loved the "Important Paper" skit. I actually laughed out loud over it. As for performing for my parents, I was forced to take organ lessons for five years, so many a Sunday I had to play for my parents and other adults. I hated it, but they loved it, so there you go.

Blessings always

MariaMontgomery from Coastal Alabama, USA on August 29, 2021:

it's fun to read about how we were growing up. I enjoyed reading your story, and the little comedies/dramas. Too many parents, especially those of our parents' generation didn't show affection very well, and didn't seem to realize how much kids need to hear they are loved, and that the parent is proud of the kid. My dad never said he was proud of me, either. I would know he was if my daughter hadn't overheard him telling his brother how proud he was of me after I get my master's and was teaching part-time at UNC-Greensboro. I cherish that memory. They showed their love by taking care of us, and by little things they did for us.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on August 29, 2021:

An interesting article, and I found it relatable too. Those childhood memories are precious indeed. How sweet of you to share those pictures and memories with us.

Your mother’s laughter is infectious indeed. She looks so sweet, and you resemble her a lot.

Thank you for sharing. Have a wonderful day.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on August 28, 2021:

Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Rosina S Khan on August 28, 2021:

That was a fun show you performed along with your siblings for your parents, especially to make your father laugh. Very considerate of you. I am sure deep inside he was proud of you. Thanks for reviving the old, sweet memories.

Thanks for sharing, Denise.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 28, 2021:

You have a great memory for the detail of your skits. My sister and I use to put on show for our parents, and I don't remember much. I know we sang and danced. They clapped and said it was good, but I doubt that. I am not a very good singer. It was fun.

This is a interesting article, Denise. I think it is great that you were so talented. I wish your dad had said he was proud of you, but knowing he loved you it the most important thing. I think that was a different time in so many ways.

Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories.

Liz Westwood from UK on August 28, 2021:

These are fascinating reminiscences. I wonder if all the modern technology we can access these days for entertainment, stifles creativity like this in families.

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