Apr 01, 2024 by Rose O'Keefe

The plainness of rural settings in Iowa and Georgia in the late 1950s were lessened by Lynn, the oldest girl, teaching Katie, her baby sister, “kira-kira” as her first word: glittering, as they lay on an empty country road looking up at the stars. The sea, the sky and people’s eyes are all kira-kira. Wonderful details, characters and painful plot twists.

I had the pleasure of seeing a performance of The Rivals by Irish playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan, performed by Rochester Community Players at the MUCCC. There’s a reason this play from 1775 is one of the few 18th-century plays that is still performed. The costumes and setting were adapted for the 1920s, but the script was largely true to the original. The cast was terrific, the plot twists kept me guessing, and the jokes were fun. Despite the laughs, it blew me away that the setting in the 1920s was a hundred years ago and the script was over two hundred years old!

One of the books I read on the way to letting it go was Feasts and Frolics: Special Stories for Special Days, (1949) selected by Phyllis R. Fenner, that had six reprintings! The premise was to share a story for festive occasions, mostly national holidays like the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving, but also Halloween, April Fool’s Day, Easter, Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, and Lincoln’s Birthday. Some of them were corny, but not “The Truce of the Wolf” (1931) for every day of the year, about how the townspeople of Gubbio asked Frances of Assisi to help them deal with a vicious wolf. In the final one, a folksy and fun, “Henry’s Lincoln,” (1945) a farm boy went alone to the Lincoln-Douglass debate in Illinois, and had to decide which candidate he supported. Despite the country-style humor, the issues were serious and still timely. #KiraKira; #CynthiaKadohata; #NewberyAward;  #TheRivals; #RichardBrinsleySheridan; #FeastsandFrolics; #PhyllisRFenner; #AprilFoolsDay; #LincolnDouglassDebates;