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Wednesday, January 23 , 2019, 10:36 am | Fair 60º


Tell Me Mo’: Courtesy Calls During the Christmas Season

Lessons from the road useful to know. But if you're looking for a holiday diversion, 'Humbug' is for you.

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas filled with the love of family and friends. Less than a week before Christmas Day and I wish I had all those elves Santa has to help get me through all of the activities and duties of the season … sheesh.

Mo McFadden
But I digress. I want to share a story and a habit I hope you’ll consider adopting.

It was 1980, my first Christmas away from home, when I learned the power of what you wish for. My soon-to-be husband, Martyn, was a truck driver for the Stevie Wonder Hotter Than July tour. We left NYC on Nov. 2 and, heading north on the New York Thruway to the first date in Hartford, I really couldn’t believe I was riding in the passenger seat of a 44-foot semi with a man I was madly in love with, on a tour with one of my all-time favorite artists. How did I get this lucky??? Plus, we would end the tour on the West Coast — the destination I was seeking. Seeing a Greyhound bus pass us on the road with New York City on its destination banner, I thought to myself, it’ll be a long time until I’m back in the city.

Moaning about the cold weather, oil heating bills, ice, snow and slush in the streets, I wished to myself several times as we traversed the highways, “I hope I’m someplace warm for the holidays.” Are you ready? I ended up in Las Cruces, N.M., on Christmas morning. Waking up to the sights of the desert, big jack rabbits (it’s true everything is bigger West of the Rockies) and 80-degree temperatures. Yep, I was sweating when I woke up and I realized my wish had come true. Hmmmmm, have to be more specific on the requests from here on in, I thought. Someplace warm to me would have included civilization, indoor plumbing, pretty decorations and a western theme I would not have experienced growing up on the East Coast. You know, cowboys, palm trees and Santa in shorts.

Las Cruces was not all that, but it did indeed have a beauty of its own. The vistas, the big bunnies … I’d never seen those back home. It was one I’ll never forget. Another memorable happening on the road at Christmas was a highway patrol car that pulled up next to our truck as we sped down I-10 on Christmas Eve. We held a collective breath but the officer just motioned to us to slow down. He also got on the CB and wished us “Merry Christmas.” Love the spirit of the road warriors.

And it’s that spirit and courtesy I wanted to share as a Christmas gift to you. Of course, the CB radio is key in communicating for truckers, and it doesn’t come as standard equipment in autos, but there are light signals for passing that I really like. Say you’re approaching a car in the middle or fast lane and want to pass. Here’s how the professionals do it: just a quick flash of lights off and on will signal the driver in front of your intentions. Moving over to the right so the car behind you can pass on the left — that’s legal and safe. Truckers use this method all the time, as the truck would pass our cab with its back end, we’d flash the lights on and off to indicate the truck has passed our cab and could safely move back in front. Inevitably the truckers would flash their lights back in a “thanks.” How cool, I thought — tacit communication. Truckers are good people. We could learn from them.

But, hey, if it’s a “Humbug” experience you’re seeking in the middle of all those bloody “Nutcrackers,” then Lit Moon Theatre Company has your ticket! Humbug! A Lit Moon Christmas Carol will play for only three dates at Center Stage Theater in Paseo Nuevo this weekend, at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday with a 2 p.m. Saturday show for good measure. Great idea to stop in and get a respite from the shopping and running around Paseo Nuevo.

John Blondell, leader of the Lit Moon pack, directs and adapted the story; Jim Connelly did the original music and his son, Jaco, made the puppets; Blondell’s wife, Victoria Finlayson, is in the cast to make it a real family affair. Five performers play 20+ roles — Finlayson, Erin Brehm, Jim Connolly, Stanley Hoffman and Kate Louise Paulsen. Ted Dolas is doing the lighting design and Olivia Warner designed the costumes.

Always a delightful diversion, I suggest Lit Moon’s Humbug for a night out. Call Center Stage at 805.963.0408 or go online to www.centerstagetheater.org or www.litmoon.com.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Mo McFadden’s Tell Me Mo’ column is published every other week on Noozhawk.

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