Since then, in these 53 years, I have done it hundreds of times in many places. Schools, churches, parties, rest homes, hospitals, assisted living groups, and many others. About 30 years ago, Judith at Calvary Lutheran Church where I attended here in Omaha, and had done the Grinch often, made a costume for me. A cape that was brown, junky-looking cloth on one side, and Santa-y on the other side. And an ugly brown hat at the beginning of the Grinch and changing to a Santa hat when flipping the cape. Have had it all these years and worn it every time. Even took it to Uganda in case there would be a chance to do it there... and, yep, did it.
It has been a real blessing for me.
THEN, when my daughter was 5, so that would put me in the 38-years-ago range of time, a book was dropped into my lap about Christmas and our Lord's birth. It is called "The Innkeeper's Daughter." I loved it. One of the main reasons it hit me is because the girl's attitude towards life was just like ME, and her way of looking and behaving was much as I did. WELL, when Renae was in 3rd grade, and I was going to do the Grinch in her class, it was worked out that I could read/share this other story. I did.
In the next year or so, I memorized it and began to do it with the Grinch. Grinch first, Innkeeper's Daughter second... and that way I would leave the room with the seed of God planted in the hearts of kids. And then I also began doing it any time, anywhere I did the Grinch. I didn't offer an option; just said these were my stories.
Seed-planting was my goal.
One huge blessing: in 1980, I was asked to do it at a classroom. The teacher is someone I had met when I was in real estate. So, I went to the elementary school. In her class, I did both. Now, in those days, it was still considered OK, and I'd done it several times, in various schools, BUT the principal could become upset and, basically, kick me out and nail the teacher. I was a little nervous about that this particular time, but the teacher insisted and I went ahead with it. WELL, the principal showed up just as I finished, and, basically, asked about it. We told her. She immediately contacted the school teachers and broke the afternoon into 2 full assembly meetings, 300 kids each, and I performed both stories. It so blessed my heart to do it; I've never forgotten that afternoon.
This was a newspaper article in 1981 when I was doing it at a hospital for kids. Pretty cool, huh?
Know you couldn't read it, but the title and photo are cool.
NOW, after 53 years, I think I'm done. My memorization doesn't work quite as well as it used to. I struggle a bit. Even after all these years of knowing both of them perfectly, I get stuck. Dave, or someone, is there with the words, and will help, but if it happens more than once for each one, I'm annoyed. I don't want to have the listeners side-tracked while I'm suddenly losing my words.
Does it make me happy to stop? Uh, Uh!!! BUT, do I know I've blessed and made many laugh at my acting as the Grinch? YEP!! And, do I know the Lord used me to plant lots and lots of "seed" in the hearts of hundreds and hundreds of people, from pre-school kids to folks in their 80s and 90s?
And that gives me hope.