The Roast


The Roast

Mary Morrison was Mom’s right hand, reliable, amiable and ‘absolutely vital’ in the smooth organization of the front of house and finances for all the pantos: all the things that were not Mom’s strengths.  Mary would trundle the pram with first one baby and then the next to all rehearsals, meetings and prop workshops.  There was always a bevy of little girls in the cast eager to baby sit.

The Roast

The Morrison’s lived just outside of town, on a large plot of land.  Their place was not like ours on the Globe and Phoenix Mine with spreading lawns bordered by flower beds and jacaranda trees, a Wendy House and a paddling pool at the bottom of the garden.

Their house was in the bush amongst the masasa trees and boulders.  Mr. Morrison was a mechanic.  They didn’t have much of a garden.  Around the house were old cars and car tires.  Spare parts sat in and outside the lean-to garage.  It would have been a great place to play hide and seek but Mom seldom took us there.

However, Mom and Mary would often meet at Mary’s house to discuss the business side of the pantos or plan a joint Cub and Brownie event.  Mary was Akela and Mom Brown Owl.  They were soul mates and discussed matters over endless cups of tea.

They’d forget time.  “Here are the figures,” Mary would say, laying the balance sheet in front of Mom.  But Mom really wanted to have black (ultraviolet) lighting for skeletons in one show or another.  Every show had to at least break even.  There were so many worthy causes ‘crying out for funds’. From the very beginning, they decided never to thank people with expensive bouquets or gifts at the grand finale.  It could so easily get out of hand.

Noticing the sun setting, they’d leap up.  Their homes had to be in order and dinner made before their husbands came home. The husbands shared a dim view of their Scouting, Guiding and ‘play-acting’: family life sacrificed for these obsessive causes.  They tried to confine their activities to before the ‘menfolk’ came home.  Mom had a lot more flexibility.  Dad’s homecoming was erratic, usually later than sooner.

After many years and many shows, Mom called Mr. Morrison to the stage at the grand finale.  She presented him with a roast chicken wrapped in cellophane with a big red bow.  “Dinner is on the house!” Mom announced.