Spirited Christmas Magic

Hey blog world! Yesterday was the best day ever!!! I got to spend the day surrounded by people who mean the world to me! I began the day at Tim Horton’s, where I go to kill time before work and as I was having my drink I saw my brother in-law Ben, sister Crista and nephew Lincoln in the lineup. They are here from Australia to celebrate Christmas with us! Yay! I talked to them for a bit, then when they got their food and drinks they joined me at my table. It was wonderful getting to hang out with them for a bit before work. Here’s a super cute photo I took of little Lincoln (who is almost 2) enjoying a Timbit! Timbit Link isn’t he adorable?!

Soon after, I walked to heaven! Really I walked to work but I call Spirit of Newfoundland heaven for many reasons. One is because it’s a wonderful place where I’m welcome and accepted. Also all the staff are friendly and feel like my 2nd family and when I enter through the doors of the Masonic Temple, all my troubles wash away! I become instantly happy! This is my favorite place in the whole world!

My day started with distribution of coal (a rice krispie treat coated in black icing color) and Christmas cards! I made one of each for my entire Spirit family! Everyone from Blaine the custodian to John Williams, one of the actors in “Three Wise Men and Other Christmas Miracles” got a card and lump of coal from me! It made me smile seeing everyone’s reactions when I gave them their cards and coal. Their faces lit up! My heart did too. It makes me happy to make other people happy.

Soon I got to work. It was a busy morning for me! I put screech cake boxes together and packaged cakes and I folded napkins too. I loved it! Both of those tasks are a lot of fun!

After this busy morning I was assigned to coat check. That’s a lot of fun too! I really enjoy interacting with the patrons. Being tipped is nice too. One woman tipped me a $5 bill! I thought that was very kind of her and was certain to thank her for it.

Once all the guests had entered the dining hall to attend the luncheon, I did too! Yes, for the third time this month I attended Peter and Shelley’s Christmas luncheon! I will willingly admit that I’m a Spirit of Newfoundland addict! This show was my 23rd!! The staff were all treated to the lunch today. I thought it was very nice of Paul, the general manager to do that for us.

It was lovely getting to sit down and share a meal with my 2nd family. The food, as always was delicious! Especially the pasta salad. Alex, please, PLEASE give me that recipe!!! It’s to die for! I want to make it at home! It would go perfect with my family’s Sunday cold plate suppers.

After the delicious meal, my wonderful friends Peter and Shelley came onstage and sang. They have the voices of angels! I love hearing them sing!

After a few songs I got to go up onstage and sing! I loved that! I sang my favorite Christmas song, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”. Before I sang, I explained to the audience why it’s my favorite Christmas song and the special meaning that the song has for me. Rudolph and I were both born extra special. He has a glowing red nose and I have Asperger’s Syndrome and Agenesis of the Corpus Collosum (the Corpus Collosum is a wide band of fibres that connects the left and right side of my brain and transmits information between them. I was born without it.) Rudolph was teased by his peers and left out of reindeer games because he’s different. Me too! Pencils have been thrown at my back, I’ve been verbally insulted, my grade 1 teacher snatched my mother’s day project that I worked so hard on and was proud of from me and threw it in the trash!!! I’ve run the gamut of bullying. It sucks! The ending of the song always makes me emotional. Rudolph is finally accepted and loved for who he is! I wish that neurotypical (“normal”) people would understand that people who have special needs are people too! Instead of bullying us, get to know us! We make great friends and we just might amaze you with what we can do!

It’s so hard to pick a favorite part of the luncheon today! I have so many! “Jingle Bells” set to ludicrous speed is lots of fun, “I’ll Be There Christmas Eve” is always absolutely beautiful and every time I hear Peter and Shelley sing it I almost cry and “Fairytale of New York” is wonderful too. Everything about the luncheon is wonderful!

I wasn’t the only special guest singer in the luncheon today. Kenny Rogers was there too! Kenny Peter Peter and Shelley have done Kenny and Dolly at every Christmas luncheon that I’ve been to, but this was the first one (and will be the only one because yesterday was the last luncheon) where Peter brought back the Kenny costume from “Go Duet Yourself”! He looks so silly and it amazes me how he’s able to sing with a stocking over his face!

After the luncheon, I was stopped by many people. They gave me hugs and told me that I did a beautiful job singing and telling my story. Some even said that I made them cry! That made me feel really good inside. I was so happy that I got to spread my message of acceptance and that I’d touched that many people with my story.

As some of you know, I’m a reporter with “Perspectives” a YouTube newscast run by Joey Neary of Buy My Art! that focuses on local art and entertainment. I’m the theatre arts correspondant! I got to do an interview with Shelley today about “O Holy Night”, which by the way was a spectacular concert! I was there Monday night and loved every minute of it! Both of us had a lot of fun doing the interview and I’m looking forward to seeing it on the show soon!

Crista then came to pick me up. Her, Ben, Lincoln and I twacked (the Newfie term for window shopped) for a bit in some shops downtown. My favorite was the Downhome Store. There was a big moose statue upstairs and Lincoln and I sat on it and got a picture taken! image4 He absolutely loved this moose! He bent over several times to hug it and kiss its head. I thought that was so sweet!

Once we were done shopping we headed back to the house that they rented on Duckworth Street. We watched Lincoln’s favorite movie, “Shrek”! It had been a long while since I’d seen it last. It was great to have some bonding time with Lincoln and enjoy this movie together! I’d forgotten how funny Donkey was! I cracked up laughing so many times!

Soon, my parents arrived, but not to take me home. They arrived to babysit Lincoln. Crista, Ben and I had a special evening out planned. Back to Spirit to see “Three Wise Men and Other Christmas Miracles”! I thought it was awesome getting to see two shows at my favorite place on earth in one day!

I was very excited to take Crista and Ben tonight because Ben, being a come from away had never been to Spirit and Crista, even though she is from here has never been there either. This was my 24th show but for them it was their very first! I couldn’t wait to see what they thought of it all!

The meal tonight was absolutely delicious! The first course was a sweet potato, caramelized apple soup. I don’t like sweet potato so I was skeptical about trying this. I didn’t think I’d like it. I gave it a go and was surprised. It wasn’t bad! I’d say 5.5 out of 10. Crista really enjoyed it. She said that she would make this at home. Ben really liked it too.

For the 2nd course, I had a pan seared pork loin with a apricot, cranberry chutney. I wasn’t fond of the chutney but the p0rk was wonderful! This dish came with some garden vegetables. The mashed potato was my favorite. It was perfect! Very soft and creamy, just the way I like my mashed potatos!

Soon after eating my 2nd course, I went into the Screech Room with my bag of coal and cards to give some out to the cast of the show. Again, I loved seeing how happy my friends were when they received their gifts.

After giving my coal and cards out, the cast and band assembled for their pre-show circle. Before every show they hold hands in a circle and give themselves a little pep talk. I couldn’t believe it when Peter outstretched his hand and said “Leah, come join our circle!” I was honored! I joined in, they had a little pep talk and then we all shouted “HARD TICKETS!” That was one of the most incredible moments of my life! I’ll never forget being part of this tradition.

Then the show began. An elderly woman named Gloria (played by Sheila Williams) was talking to a picture of her deceased husband Tom as she browsed through Match.com to find another man. Old people trying to find love I think is really sweet. Sheila did a great job of playing this character. She was really funny!

A little later, the cast came out one by one and sang their favorite Christmas song. Michael was first with “Santa Claus is Back In Town” by Elvis. It was awesome! He pointed at me during this song and I fangirled! A big smile came on my face and I bounced with excitement in my seat!

Sheila sang “Old Christmas Card” by Jim Reeves. I thought she did a fantastic job! It was funny when she interacted with her “ex” as she sang. An audience member got picked to play her ex and read the spoken part of the song. She sat on his lap and sang to him!

Peter sang “I’ll Be There Christmas Eve”. I loved getting to hear that beautiful song twice in one day! It’s one of my favorite songs to hear Peter sing.

Dana sang “All I Want For Christmas Is You”. She rocked! Her singing was phenomenal, as was her dancing. There was a snow machine on stage and it fired fake snow at the audience near the end. Everything about this segment made me feel so happy!

Keith’s favorite Christmas song is by my least favorite artist, Justin Bieber! It was “Mistletoe”. It’s honestly not a bad song, I just hate Bieber and his annoying voice. Keith does the song so much better!

They all came out and talked a bit about the “Mexican Word of The Day” meme and gave us a few examples like Diesel Fitter: “I bought my girlfriend some choo’s. I hope diesel fitter!” and Wheelchair: “I only have one donut but that’s ok, wheelchair”. Then, one by one, while wearing a fake moustache and a sombrero (and singing in a Mexican accent) they each sang a verse from “The Hat I Got For Christmas Is Too Big”. It was hillarious! I couldn’t breathe I was laughing so hard! This was my favorite part of the show.

Michael and Keith sang some Johnny Reid songs. Michael said that he’s a fan of Johnny Reid and people have said that he looks and sings like him. To prove that he sang a bit of “Darlin'”. He’s not quite spitting image (honestly, he’s cuter than Johnny Reid) but voice wise however, if you closed your eyes you would think that it was actually Johnny singing! Keith then said he was a Johnny Reid fan too and began singing “Woman Like You”. Again, I loved the audience participation in this part of the show. Keith found a woman in the audience, serenaded her with the song and sat on her lap!

The skeets were back!! I was thrilled to see them again! Skeets have become recurring characters in Spirit’s shows but I hadn’t seen them in a show in a long time! The last time was last year’s “O Holy Night” when Peter and Sheila opened the show as skeets. Anyway, it was great to see them back. As always, they were smoking cigarettes and Michael blew my mind by blowing smoke rings. It’s so cool how he does that! They were auditioning to be in the Christmas pageant at the Christmas Bazaar. Dana couldn’t say Three Wise Men without laughing! That made me laugh too. For skeets, they have great voices! When they harmonize it sounds amazing! I don’t know the name of it but they sang a jazzy song. I really liked it.

Soon, it was time for Screech Cake, my favorite part of the meal at Spirit! I was very excited to see what Ben thought of it and he loved it! I was glad he did. Sadly, he had to leave after finishing his cake. Crista was worried about Lincoln and she thought he was going to wake up and freak out because his grandparents were there instead of his parents so Ben walked back home to be with him. It was lovely to spend the evening with him and hear what he thought of the show. I was so glad he enjoyed this new experience. He really enjoyed the Newfoundland songs that were sung. When it came to the Skeets though, he didn’t know what to make of them! He was slightly confused and didn’t know what was going on! LOL.

In the 2nd act, Tom’s ghost spoke to Gloria and gave her a special elixr to drink to get the courage to ask her friend John (played by Peter) out. She drank the whole thing and got very handsy when he came over! She was all over John and he didn’t like it. He tried to leave but in an effort to convince him to stay she sang “Baby It’s Cold Outside”. They sunded great together!

The skeets got the parts they auditioned for in the Christmas pageant in the Bazaar! With their amazing voices, that didn’t surprise me! Keith was the angel Gabriel (and looked cute in the wings), Michael was Joseph and Dana was Mary. I thought it was funny, yet felt a little bad for skeet Michael because the poor guy got stage fright and had some trouble delivering his lines! What a sin! Dana was hillarious in this scene! Keith gave her the baby doll and she fell in love with it! She made baby noises at it and said she lalalala loves him! That made me smile. When she was supposed to give the doll to Joseph she refused to!

There was more audience participation in this scene! They picked three men out of the audience to be the three wise men. The looks on their faces when Keith said “They all sang joyously together” were priceless! They weren’t bad singers. I was impressed.

The medley that ended the show was spectacular! The whole cast singing “Gloria in excelsis deo” and “Hallelujah” in harmony sounded angelic! Sheila sang “From A Distance” and I was mesmerized! It was beautiful! “Joy To The World” (“Jeremiah was a bullfrog”) was lots of fun too. I danced to it in my seat!

Every night, they end by singing “Spirit of Newfoundland”, an absolutely beautiful song that Peter wrote. That was the part of the night I was looking most forward to. I hadn’t heard the song since last summer and couldn’t wait to hear it again! It’s one of my favorite songs. When they sang it last night, as always it was magical!

After the show, I of course introduced Crista to my friends and got pictures with them too!

As I said above, yesterday was the best day ever! It’s a day that I’ll never forget! Merry Christmas to my Spirit family! I hope you all enjoy your well deserved time off with your families, Santa Claus is good to you and all your Christmas wishes come true! See you all on Monday!



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