September 3, 2010

Definition of grace under pressure: The only right response to “We’ll be able to answer that question when the Secret Service tells us” is “Great! We’ll roll with that!” And you mean it.

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Grace under pressure.  It’s a skill, a gift and a feast to behold.  Especially when the cracks show through.  If you keep getting back on track, like a dog with a velvet bone, that’s a good measure of who you really are.

I’m lending a foot to the All-City People’s Parade this Labor Day.  The parade will traverse Milwaukee and conclude at Laborfest with a brief pageant and display of the parade elements.  My husband is directing (one end of the involvement spectrum) and I’m going to walk in front to help set the pace (the other end of the involvement spectrum).

I’m happy that I can lend that skill, but it’s all the time I can carve out to offer.  I did, however, crash a meeting at the Summerfest grounds (yeah, yeah, Maier Festival Park – but really, that’s what we all know it by) to hear the latest in the staff’s valiant efforts to re-arrange the layout, security and internal processes to accommodate President Obama’s decision to make an appearance at Laborfest.

Do you have any idea how long it takes to create the structure of a festival so large that it needs to take place on the Summerfest grounds?  Many months.  I know whereof I speak having helped produce the Bristol Renaissance Faire for 10 years.  If you’re smart, you start even before the gates close on the previous year’s event.  The Maier Park staff was informed of the President’s visit only a short time before it made it into the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Wow.

Poetry in motion yesterday.  Rough, stressed, frustrated and focused.  The only right response to “We’ll be able to answer that question when the Secret Service tells us” is “Great!  We’ll roll with that!”  And mean it.

The Maier Park staff is at mile 22 in a marathon.  They hit the wall a couple miles back.  I distinctly remember hitting the wall on both of the marathons I ran.  The coherent realization (perhaps the last one of the run) was that my body had officially run out of power.  There was no more energy left.  My muscles have begun to eat themselves to survive and I had 10 more miles to go.  This is when the training kicks in that no runner will ever ‘get’ unless they do distance.  This is when your brain is the muscle that matters.  This is when you find out if you’ve got spirit, grit and heart.  This is when you discover what you’re really made of.

It’s like theatre.  How do you overcome these insurmountable odds and pull off the impossible?  No-one knows.  It’s a mystery.  But, you do.

And, the Maier Park people will.  God bless them.  And God bless the United States of America.

Significantly,

Susan Scot Fry

Update… I thought about this post through the day and came to no real conclusions or insights.  This post is much more a statement of my experiences than a perspective to be pondered and sorted.  Perhaps that’s significant in itself.

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