Monday, September 03, 2007

the summer's end talent show airport race to the finish

Fiona's friend Adele returned Sunday, from spending the whole summer in Portugal with her family. Fi and her friends had been planning all summer to meet Adele and her family at the airport, as a surprise welcome to Adele, who was sad to miss the summer at home with her friends. When Fi and Shannon were invited to perform in the Parade of Champions, plans had to be changed. The remaining friends would go to the airport to surprise Adele. Shan and Fi would be at the PNE. Adele's friends would bring her to the PNE in time to be further surprised by the appearance of her friends in the talent show. All of this was arrange by emails back and forth between the girls and Adele's mom, who was also in Portugal, and negotiations with various parents here, about rides and fair gate passes and sleepovers. Banners were made, snacks bought. Everyone waited in happy anticipation.

Then on Sunday afternoon, they discovered that the flight had been delayed. It wouldn't touch down in Vancouver until the talent show had already begun. By the time Adele got baggage and cleared customs, and the girls greeted her and brought her to the PNE (about 30 minutes' drive from the airport) the show would be over. Everyone was disappointed, but still hopeful that all of the parts of the plan might still squeak into place.

The talent show began at 4pm. At 4:15, one of the girls phoned Shannon's mom. Adele and friends were in the car, driving to the fair. We knew that our girls were up last in the show, out of 10 acts, but would their friends make it on time? The fair was crowded with people, and car traffic on surrounding streets was congested and slow. I kept looking around for the airport friends but nothing. Backstage, Shannon and Fiona couldn't know what was happening but I'm sure they were hoping for the best.

The talent show was great. We saw a 7 year old magician, a precision skip-rope group, several guitarist/singers of various ages, an 11 year old salsa dancer. Finally, it was Fiona and Shannon's turn. I said a little prayer, but still, I couldn't see a sign of her friends anywhere on the crowded lawn in front of the amphitheatre. The MC introduced our girls and a big cheer went up. A group of girls jumped to their feet, screaming and cheering - the friends, they made it, just in time! Shannon and Fiona sang beautifully and my heart was filled with joy and relief that it had all worked out the way they had planned. Afterwards, you never saw such a grinning, hugging, happy group of girls. Off they went to spend the night together catching up on summer adventures and looking ahead to the delights of fall.

Another surprise, the talent show coordinator offered free ride passes to the girls, enough for all of them. So today we'll drop 6 of them off for a final visit to the PNE. What a wonderful way to finish their summer.

I'm proud of Shannon and Fiona for making it into the talent show (600 acts auditioned, 140 made it the semi-finals, 14 to finals and 11 to the Parade of Champions). I'm proud of all the girls for their creativity and thoughtfulness in engineering Adele's surprise. I'm grateful that they share this kind of friendship with one another, and constantly amazed at the shape that it takes in their lives.

question: did you ever have a race to the finish?

mompoet - marveling

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