Kansas Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - April 29, 2016

Getting what we need

I had a conference in Kansas City last Friday and Saturday, so when Sunday morning rolled around, I would have been just as happy if it had been a stay-at-home day. But daughter Katie and I had tickets for the Moscow Festival Ballet with a scheduled 4 p.m. performance time at McCain Auditorium on the Kansas State University campus. We also had received a postcard from Janie, Katie's high school choir teacher, that the Flint Hills Children's Choir was performing in the All Faiths Chapel on the K-State campus at 7 p.m.

I had just about wrapped my head around the fact that my wished-for lazy day was going to be anything but, when Katie texted us. Susan, Katie's boyfriend's mother was in town and Katie wondered if we could we get together for supper between the two shows? When it rains, it pours! Why couldn't these good things have been spread out a bit more so they could be better enjoyed?

Then an e-mail arrived from McCain Auditorium. In addition to the advertised "Carmen," the ballet company would also be performing "Romeo and Juliet." I was being inundated with riches.

Of course, if I had been rested, all of these things would have been looked on with happy anticipation. But for an introvert like me who had to get up and speak before the conference attendees on Friday, I was in need of some quiet alone time.

Having another out-of-town conference later in the week also meant I had less time than normal to work on my column. With the time before the ballet being the only "free" time I could see in the coming week, I decided I'd just buckle down and "get 'er done."

The hardest part some weeks is coming up with a topic, but this week one just fell in my lap. Arbor Day and Earth Day are only a week apart. Perhaps it would be fun to research them and do a piece on both.

But Sunday morning Art decided to sit on the couch opposite my chair and work on his laptop. Every now and then he'd have some question or comment about this or that ... just enough chatter that my column was a whole one-sentence long as noon approached.

I thought I would get more done after he decided to take care of some things at his work. But by that time, I felt the need to get ready for the show.

But as sometimes happens, things played out in an unexpected fashion. Katie and I enjoyed the ballet. We also learned that dinner had fallen through. I really wanted to see Susan, but I also needed a breather. It was probably best for Katie as well because she had some things to prepare for a job interview the next day. So by the time Art and I met up again to grab a bite at McDonald's, I was starting to look forward to the choir performance.

There had been a forecast of possible severe weather for the evening and as we approached the campus, dark clouds were building in the west. Art checked his phone, but concluded there was a good chance it could slip past us to the northwest.

A nice crowd was already inside when we arrived. We chose the row behind Janie's parents who were sitting with Janie's husband Cole. Soon, Cole's parents joined them.

When 7 p.m. arrived, the youngsters marched onto the risers and positioned themselves. The organization's president said a few words and then the music began.

Now often a group of youngsters singing is entertaining only when you are a parent of one of them or because their attempts are amusing in the way they fall short. But such was not the case. Unlike with many choirs, the timing was crisp and you could clearly understand every word.

Everything moved on smoothly and was great fun ... until it was suddenly called to a halt. The weather alert sirens were sounding. We were all directed to the basement of McCain Auditorium. The choir filed out quickly with the audience close behind.

At first there was a sense of concerned urgency. But as we reached our destination shelter in the lowest level of the building, we could hear the choir ahead of us. They had reassembled in one of the rooms and had picked up their performance where they had left off. Cookies and lemonade were retrieved from the planned reception area upstairs. Quickly, the formal concert took on the feel of a county fair with some people listening to the music while others munched cookies and yet others chatted and joked.

Later, Art went outside and texted that it was remarkably beautiful as the dark gray and black clouds skimmed the northwest edge of the city while white fluffy ones in a blue sky passed by to the southeast.

He returned after the storm drifted eastward and soon we could hear the hail landing on the roof with such an intensity that the individual impacts eventually blended into a steady roar.

But around 9 p.m. it let up and we headed home. An evening that I had really wished could have been postponed to a later date turned out to be a good one, complete with an invigorating adventure. I had expected to come home exhausted, but instead felt rejuvenated. I guess sometimes we get what we need by not getting what we want.

Now, if I could just make some progress on a column!

Left: Kansas State University's Anderson Hall as the storm closes in; right: youngsters in white shirts from the choir mix with children from the audience, K-State music students and parents in the McCain Auditorium courtyard during the storm watch.

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