Big Toothy Grins By Steven Gallagher

Amanda asked me to choose my favorite photograph. I thought, “Does she mean pictures of me in a show?” “Pictures of my dog?” And then I thought about what songs I’ll be singing on Monday, and I knew right away what I wanted to include. One of the tunes is called Old Friends/Bookends. There there is a line at the end of the song:

“Long ago it must be
I have a photograph
Preserve your memories
They’re all that’s left you”

The first was taken almost forty years ago, it’s a faded polaroid, and it includes my parents, my grandmother and three of my siblings. In it, we are at the beach, all of us in bathing suits. My dad is on his hands and knees and my mom is sitting on him, like she’s riding a horse. She’s holding my youngest brother Phil in her lap. My sister Donna sits in front of my mom, and has her knees wrapped tightly around my Dad’s ears. My brother Charlie looks like he’s about ready to jump on. And he’s yelling. In the background my grandmother looks on bemusedly in sunglasses and an oversized hat. I am standing on the right of the photgraph, leaning into to my mom’s leg, looking down at my dad. I think I was laughing at him because he’s about to collapse under the weight of everyone. We are all wearing big toothy smiles, the kind you have just before everyone is about to burst into laugher. I love this picture because I think it must have been a very happy day. I have no memory of what else we did, but this picture shows how much we were loved as kids. And how we always laughed together as a family.

The second picture I’ve included is of the same group, almost, in January of this year celebrating my mom’s 70th Birthday. We (her five children) organized a big surprise party for her. Most of us live far away so most of the burden fell to my sister Lise, but we all managed to show up, I baked 50 cupcakes and froze them for the 8 hour drive! We all shouted SURPRISE to many tears and much laughter. In this picture, it’s the end of the night, my mom is sitting in the center, and all five of her kids surround her. My brother Phil, my sister Lise, my sister Donna, my brother Charlie, and me. My grandmother and father are no longer with us. But this was another fantastic day. And I think the only time we have all been together in my home town for ten years. And this time I remember the circumstances! I also see that I am ALOT older than my parents are in the first picture. All of us, (even my brother Charlie who never smiles with his teeth!) are smiling our big toothy grins. Just like we’re about to burst into laughter. All we’re missing are the bathing suits.

Come hear Steven Gallagher sing the songs of Paul Simon!
Acting UpStage’s The SOUND OF SILENCE: Thom Allison, Sara Farb, Steven Gallagher, Susan Henley, Andrew Kushnir, Amanda LeBlanc, Jeff Madden, Eliza-Jane Scott, Michael Therriault, Blythe Wilson. Arrangements and Musical Direction by Reza Jacobs.
So get on that bus, Gus! No need to be coy, Roy! 10 Canadian Musical theatre legends. One NightOnly. April 20th, 2009. 8pm.
Get to the theatre, Peter!

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