The room was filled with octogenarians and other people old enough to be their parents. Few smiles abound in the nursing home because who smiles when they are asleep?
The variety show was running 30 minutes behind schedule and when someone brought it up I said, “Where do these people have to be?” As if people in a nursing home had some pressing business – perhaps they were missing their daily episodes of Judge Judy or General Hospital, but mostly everyone just looked sedated.
Then the music began, the curtains were drawn and 6 ladies began dancing to Elvis’s classic hit Jail House Rock. Immediately people began to wake up, including me, and started cheering wildly as these women who could hardly get out of their chairs – and many of them didn’t – started entertaining us with pom poms and smiles.
Following this opening act was a stunning rendition of The Munchkin Song by an 8 year old girl who was the daughter of one of the judges. Act after act went by and no matter what the level of talent we applauded the efforts because that is what we were doing, applauding people for just getting up and trying. It didn’t matter if you were good or not, and undoubtedly some were, but what mattered was that these people, who often times are overlooked, had the opportunity to be seen and heard and to make people smile.
I got to be one of the judges and I couldn’t help but give everyone at least a 7 or above. I sat there having such a wonderful time that I couldn’t help but be thankful for the opportunity to be part of this event.
My new role at the nursing home is IT Director. I only go up to Waco a couple times a month and stay a few days and then I come back to Plano. But I do love the nursing home, the residents, the staff. It has been a blessing and such a sweet change of pace from my old cubicle life at Texas Instruments.
In the end this variety show breathed a little bit of new life not only into the residents, but also back into me.