Legends to pay forward with endless love


(PNAN-NM) – “Animals are such agreeable friends, they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms,” was said by Mary Anne Evans (1819-1880) who went by the pen name of George Eliot, was an English novelist, journalist and translator, and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. Forthcoming to the historic Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in a one-night-only gala performance on Saturday, December 4 with curtain time at 7:30 pm, “From Broadway with Love” unites legendary Hollywood and Broadway stars, Kaye Ballard, Donna McKechnie and Liliane Montevecchi. “I am thrilled to be working with these three great, legendary and uniquely gifted women in a one-of-a-kind event that will raise money for such a worthy cause,” said Richard Jay-Alexander, director of the production. 

Donna McKechnie

     “Animal Protection of New Mexico is deeply honored to benefit from this special Broadway performance with three of ‘The Great White Way’s’ most beloved stars” said Lisa Jennings, executive director of Animal Protection of New Mexico.  “We have been working to promote the humane treatment of animals since 1979 through education, public outreach and enhanced laws.  With an event such as this, we can further encourage people to make a positive difference for animals on a daily basis.  The humane treatment of all animals is a passion for Kaye, Donna and Liliane and their performance is sure to bring down the house.” 

Liliane Montevecchi

     For the first time since performing together in Stephen Sondheim’s “Follies” in 1998, Ballard, McKechnie, and Montevecchi show begins with the trio performing together with music, comedy and dance as well as individually. Tickets are available at www.TicketsSantaFe.org ,or by calling the box office at 505.988.1234.


     The Lensic Performing Arts Center is located in downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico. It opened in 1931 as a movie and vaudeville theater, operating for 69 years before closing in 2000, however in April 2001 it re-opened following an ambitious renovation funded by a capital campaign that raised $9 million. Now a world-class, state-of-the-art, 821-seat performance venue, it is a fine example of the power of community collaboration and commitment and serves as a vibrant cultural catalyst for Santa Fe and beyond, along with being a significant resource for New Mexico.


My Seductress Southern Belle

     The first time I ever saw her face, it was a gleaming bright sunny morning. The ground had been blanketed with a new fresh snow during the night. As I sat in the bay window of the kitchen clad only in my pajama bottom, cradling a hot steamy cup of coffee in my palms, the lenses of my eye glasses fogged up with every sip. I could tell the outdoors was frigid. I could feel the snow’s crispness as it glistened with an ice-like hardness. I had to put on my robe until the heat took the chill off the room. Minutes later, my body was feeling regret because my mind did not want to surrender the warmness. However, I knew I had to get ready for work and brave the assault of the external coldness.

     As I swung open the back door porch door, the wind slapped me in the face. I felt my facial skin tighten. I purged my lungs with the morning air and began to slowly pan my farthest surroundings. The outdoors gave me the feeling of purity; however that quickly changed as I stood over an open hole on the porch floor. The freezing air gushed up my slacks and I felt the goose pumps on my thighs. Simultaneously, I recall wishing I had put on my long johns when I spotted her eagerly approaching me in a cunning way.

     My immediate thoughts registered an Oh No! I was already behind schedule and I didn’t have the time to get involved. I wanted to push this misfortune animal away from me, but I could not muster up that manlike trait needed to forget about another life and to remain emotionless because I was faced with this situation twice before. I knew the domestic cat population was in the mega millions in the United States, but I could not bring myself to make an abrupt exit because only half belonged to homes. Furthermore, money was not a deterrent and another mouth to feed would not jeopardize our family financial framework.

     She had a meticulous southern-like charming style; I figured she was sort of an Artisan in the game of mating. Her passionate pleas grabbed at my heartstrings. My vision doubled and then teardrops started to stream from my face.

     Her scrawny frame was enhanced only by her haggard eyes, but her voice hummed feelings of love. It was obvious she was not getting the right amount of sleep and the ever-increasing intermittent rumbles from her abdomen were not signs of gas, but pains-of-hunger. She hovered around me like an airplane waiting to land. She weaved in and out brushing lightly up against my body. Through her thin-ragged overcoat, the touch of her softness made my heart tremble.

     I asked her what she was doing out in this brutal weather, but she did not respond. I told her to go home, but she said nothing. Then suddenly, swirling arctic wind made me rush to the garage to take cover. I summoned her to come in and she blurted out a lonely screeching cry. I attempted to comfort her by brushing her hair away from her face and told her I would return.

     As I headed back into my house, I could see her peering out of the garage door window. I felt her anticipation for food, and when I returned, she was turning in circles. She devoured the toss-together meal as if it was her last. Hurriedly, I went back into the house for more food. As she ate, I went and laid a blanket on the patio lounge. I told her she was welcome to stay until she is ready to go home. Soon after, I left for work.

     On my way home, I began to feel a great deal of empathy for the homeless female. I couldn’t get her impoverished appearance out of my mind. I kept wondering if she had made her way back to her family. Even though, I know charity starts at home, I knew from firsthand experience the reality of being used. I just didn’t want to have to endure a past of jumble of events. I knew they would conjure up deep-rooted hurt feelings from sticking my neck out helping others. I have been burned too many times and I often thought if sucker was written on my forehead in indelible ink. Nevertheless, I hoped she would still be there, nestled in the heavy blanket I left so I could finish my Good Samaritan deed.

     About four blocks from home, I prepared myself for the possibility that I would not be able to finish my goodhearted goal. I calmed my zealous confidence using the old counting to ten theory. It was working because I kept thinking how supportive the girls, Daisy Mae and Mindy Lou would be. They would humbly accept the possibility of a new baby sister.

     The car radio was tuned to Fort Wayne’s Magic 95.1. They were playing the oldies from my teen years. I heard the faint music of The Captain and Tennille. They were singing, Love Will Keep Us Together. The song’s words were doing a tug-of-war number with my emotions. I thought of switching the music to rock. With the volume at an ear-piercing loudness, it would force a hard-heartedness. It worked and I felt prepared for anything.

     Entering the driveway, I pushed the remote control to open the door. I drove in and shut down the engine. I sat a few minutes in the quiet starring stiffly forward. My mind kept repeating a line from that oldie song, “You belong to me now.” I turned the key on so the radio would make music to forestall the negative presupposition she is gone struggle.

     Nonchalantly, I started to look for her; saw nothing. Presumed gone. I swung open my door and like a shooting star, she jumped up on my lap — brushing and turning — her head against my chest; purring those feelings of love. Gleefully, I caressed my seductress southern belle in my arms and crowned her Samantha Jo. She climbed higher up around my neck and I smoothed my cheeks over her soft fur. Instantly, my mind recognized the music playing. The singer sung the line describing what I was feeling and I whispered to her those words: The Lion Sleeps Tonight.

     I am happy to report; Sammie Jo filled my life with thirteen years of happiness.

By Ben Rayman

Published by on October 2010. Filed under Archives, Art-in-Performance Section, Art-to-Art Marketplace Guide. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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