Sunday, July 6, a lovely day.
We had a visit from friends Don and Sharon, who we knew were here in Rush-No-More Park. They had just returned from the Escapees Club Escapade in Gillette, Wyoming.
What we didn’t know was that other friends Gene and Cheri had also just arrived from the Escapade and were parked four spaces down from us! They came and joined us for morning coffee and cookies, along with Don and Sharon. We had a great time swapping stories and solving the problems of the world.
It seems that when Escapade was over, nearly everybody who had been there came here! Not quite true, of course, but there was a steady stream of incoming, and most of them had Escapees’ logos on their vehicles. Gillette is only 111 miles from here, and this is a good place to catch your breath before moving further. It’s central to a lot of stuff to see and do: Rapid City, Mt. Rushmore, Spearfish, Deadwood, Devils Tower, Custer State Park, the Crazy Horse Memorial, even the Badlands. And, with Passport America, it’s only $12.50 a night for full hookup sites!
For us, the next event was in Spearfish, 25 miles away. Two events, really. The Catholic Church in town has a Sunday afternoon Mass at 5:30, and we had reservations to see the Passion Play in the evening. This is the biggie Passion Play in the U.S., in its 69th year of production. They have a huge stage, live animals (camels, donkeys, sheep), and they play to an outdoor theater capable of seating 6000. Unfortunately, in our current era, people don’t respond to this sort of presentation much, and there were only about 200 in attendance.
The big question was the weather – with an outdoor theater, the weather can be a factor. The National Weather Service had issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the area, and we were concerned. The theater says it will perform under most weather, but they may cancel if necessary. At curtain time, 8:00 pm, there was a major storm working, and all of us in the audience had taken shelter where possible. The show began at 8:30, and played continuously through thunder, lightning and rain, finishing with the Resurrection at 10:00 pm.
Were we concerned? Hell, yes! Here we were, sitting in the best seats in the house (the wheelchair section, center stage, 7th row), lightning flashing all about us, and we were holding our umbrellas tightly. Was that smart? But the cast, professionals and townspeople alike, marched up and down the stage, in and out, as if it were the most natural thing to do.
The lightning was doing everything we’ve ever seen lightning do: sky to ground, close, distant, zip-zapping across the sky, maybe even sheet lightning; the thunder was roaring, the rain was pouring, and nobody was snoring!
The Passion Play? To tell the truth, we have never seen such wooden acting, such theatrical gesturing, such posturing, such proclaiming every line. Were we disappointed? No, not really. This is dramatic theater, carrying a burdensome message, a message of redemption, a story that must be told and re-told. We were satisfied to have been there, even with the storm.
However, the drive back to Rush-No-More was a different story. About 25 miles of Interstate Highway, seven of which were under construction and one lane each way, separated only by orange stanchions, in the absolute dark, in the rain and lightning, was just a little bit tense. But our guardian angels (and we require several) were on duty; we got home safely.
We wish we had more pictures to share, but the theater does not allow photography, and we didn’t want our cameras to get wet anyway.
Monday … a new day … we’ll tell you about it next time in … Our Life on Wheels.