It was crunch time. The script had been finalized, lines memorized and my household terrorized. What was I thinking adding this undertaking to our already hectic schedule?
But the show must go on. Three of the four skits in Redeemer were vignettes, complete in one scene. The remaining, our Cowboy Ruth and Boaz skit, was longer. After all, we had to go from them meeting to marrying, and you can’t do all that in one scene. While working on the script, I had mourned every line of dialogue that was cut to fit the time restraints. There was so much story here, so much going on between these two heroes that couldn’t be ignored. For instance, why didn’t Boaz offer to help Ruth earlier? He cared for her and was responsible as a kinsman. Why did he let Ruth and Naomi get so desperate? And what did Ruth think about Naomi’s plan to redeem their farm? Even though she had the courage to approach him, did she regret it later? According to the Bible story, the townswomen compared her with Tamar, a woman who had pretended to be a prostitute to carry on her family line. What did Ruth think of the comparison?
Alas, a Christmas play was not the venue to examine those rich questions. I had bigger problems to deal with – namely, my husband.
In a uncharacteristic lapse of judgment, our music minister had asked him to be an extra in the Ruth and Boaz skit. He didn’t have any lines, only appeared as one of the cowboys working for Mr. Boaz. There probably wouldn’t have been any trouble had he not found that box of wigs.
At every performance I nervously waited for the cowboys to make their appearance. I never knew what to expect. One night he was El Guapo with greasy shoulder-length hair hanging below his sombrero, and another night he might look like a strapping, Western Cher, but by far the crowd pleaser was Joe Dirt.
Donning a shaggy blonde mullet wig and skipping his morning shave transformed my normally handsome husband into a disturbing piece of work. You could hear the laughter rippling through the auditorium when he took the stage, and then a second wave as people figured out who he was.
It was a proud moment, but we survived and that play will go down in history as the Best Ruth and Boaz Cowboy Christmas Play Ever.
Being allowed to contribute to that production was a blessing in many ways. I’d always thought that someday I would write. I didn’t know when and and I didn’t know what, but our cowboy Ruth and Boaz play encouraged me to give it a try. And while that beginning eventually led to a book deal, there was one benefit I didn’t have to wait as long for.
“You lookin’ for a ride home, missy?” His long golden hair reflected in the light of the church parking lot.
“Yep. Me and my four kids.”
“My pick-up seats six. Load ’em up.”
And I did. Right after I took that hideous wig back to the prop room.