Lori Borgman: Talent show leaves lingering glow

Once a year our entire family spends a long weekend together with the highlight being a “talent show.” Talent, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Take the one who asks for volunteers and when his sister, a brother-in-law, a 6-year-old nephew and his own 13-year-old daughter go forward, announces he will guess their weights.

I’m not saying the talent pool is thin, but sometimes you may not be sure what the talent is. Last fall, a 6-year-old tossed a rumpled sheet on the floor, got beneath it and crawled around as others tried to guess her talent.

She was a mole. When you knew she was a mole, it was a pretty good reenactment of a mole.

We’ve had some semi-quality acts and even a tearjerker or two. There was the year a son-in-law played guitar while his three little girls sang “The Best Day” by George Strait.

“We loaded up my old station wagon with a tent … some fishin’ poles, a cooler of cokes … going campin’ in the wild outdoors,” they sang. “As we turned off on that old dirt road she looked at me and said, Dad, this could be the best day of my life … I’m the luckiest girl alive. This is the best day of my life.”

That tender moment was quickly offset by a headstand demonstration, which resulted in an entire weekend of people dropping to the floor, doing headstands and asking others to time them.

There has been singing, dancing, a jug band, magic tricks, an escape artist demonstration, poetry recitations, extreme pushups, and a kindergartener spelling hard words like chrysanthemum, dandelion and Tennessee — backward!

A highlight last year was a 4-year-old in a dress-up evening gown and oversized plastic high heels. She stood with hands on her hips, someone cued the music with a thundering bass beat and she began her “model walk.” A model walk is where you dramatically kick one foot back, out, and around while jerking the corresponding shoulder. Left, right, left, right. It’s a high-spirited walk that takes grave concentration and is complicated by periodically jumping in the air and turning a complete circle. Each jump was breathtaking, but she landed upright in pink heels two sizes too big each and every time.

With a talent bench this deep, the husband and I have been reluctant to participate, although one year he called me forward, I went and said, “But we don’t have a talent.”

“Yes we do,” he said.

“No, we don’t,” I said.

“But we do,” he said.

“We don’t,” I said.

“We are doing our talent right now,” he said. “Bickering!”

Funny. Very funny.

Last year we upped our game. Wardrobe, lighting, the whole shebang. Wardrobe involved black clothing and glow sticks taped to our torsos, arms and legs. The lights were cut, Frank Sinatra was cued and we did a glow-in-the-dark grand entry followed by a dance routine to “Fly Me to the Moon.” It bought down the house, not to mention a few pieces of furniture.

We have booked our family weekend for this fall and talent show ideas are rippling through the troops. We’re at a loss. It was probably a “one and done performance.” It may be best to quit now and end on a good note and good foot.

Lori Borgman is a columnist, author and speaker. Send comments to [email protected]