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sherylmeI’m in the “air lock” room, waiting for everyone to get in and fill the elevator-size space. Even in dim light, I know it’s untidy, well used. A fat electrical cord stretches across the black floor.
“When I open the door,” the Director says, “follow me, watch for cords.” The next room was dark, too, but opened to a stage flooded with blue lights. In the ninety-four-year-old theater, constant current activity apparently cloaked the expected smell of antiquity. We followed the director across the stage to the opposite wings.
“You will wait here until time to enter. Remember if you can see the audience, they can see you.”
How did I end up here? My friend Sheryl, a mystery writer, and I came to see Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution. Out of my program fell a jury summons? I, along with five other audience members, would spend most of the play on stage as jurors. “These are NOT speaking parts,” the director emphasized with a smile. We would sit in the jury box the rest of the play except for a fade out when the scene would be briefly switched. We had watched the first act from comfy theater seats.
The Wayne Densch Performing Arts Theater is in downtown Sanford, Florida, a small town on Lake Monroe, and north of Orlando. Charming, cozy, comfortable and small-town friendly, it is a jewel in the historic town. We walked by art galleries, quaint shops, cozy restaurants and an open farmer’s market on the way to the theater.
My fellow jurors were great fun, improvising “non-speaking” ways to relate to the audience, but in the end, we followed the rules. We were older except for one young, high school student with a spiked, blond hairstyle. He takes acting classes, so backstage was probably not new to him. He volunteered to run back for the water bottle I left in the lobby during recess and offered me his chair backstage, winning big points for the younger generation.
Another in the young generation was the actor who played court clerk. After the play was over, bows were taken and curtains closed we exited the jury box. The clerk was there to take the hands of ladies and help us down. Perhaps he’s a method actor who really gets into his parts, but I think he was just a well-bred young gentleman.
The actors were lined on both sides as we left the theater, happy to shake our hands and talk.
Did I forget the play? Not intentionally. It’s just that my “role” added such a dimension to the experience. The actors were all local and amazing, so much so that it was easy to forget they weren’t real as they pleaded with the jurors.
The Director asked us after the play if we figured the murderer out. I did. But I missed one clever clue Miss Christi slipped in. He also told us she added to the ending of the play because she thought the murderer got off too lightly in her story.
Some days are absolutely magical. This was one of them.

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Blue doesn’t care that my favorite color is yellow. It boldly elbows into memorable moments in my life. Sometimes like ectoplasm it appears and makes something seemingly unimportant become memorable; other times the moment is inherently important and the color is blue. No other hue is so brash.

Blue is there in things I can’t forget:

—the Carolina blue of the football jersey my husband wore at John Marshall High School. As long as I’ve known him he’s pointed out “almost Carolina blue“—always “almost.”

— the brilliant near-turquoise blue of St. George and the Dragon at the National Museum of Art in Washington, D.C. We visited there in 1957 and though I’ll never forget the detail of Salvador Dali’s Last Supper on loan in the main gallery, it was the blue in that painting that comes first to mind when recalling that day. Things are perpetually “almost St. George Dragon blue,” too.

— the blue my husband painted the interior car lights when we were dating and car radio playing “Blue Moon”, “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Blue Velvet.”

— the blue outfit our first son was wearing the day we picked him up from the adoption agency, a perfect match for his eyes.

— Easter Sunday just passed I accidentally turned a stovetop burner on under my daughter’s casserole dish waiting to go in the oven. I quickly moved the bubbling dish to a cold burner. That is when it exploded sending cobalt blue, glass shrapnel all over the kitchen. What do you think we will all remember about Easter 2008? BLUE.

When color pops from my black and white world of memory why is it blue, inexplicably blue?

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