The Christmas Express at the Navasota Theatre Alliance - December 7, 2014

by Israel Morales

Our club started the Christmas holidays on December 7 with a day trip to Navasota to see an entertaining stage performance. We gathered at Bayland Park and left on our bus trip at about 11:30 am. Along the way, to keep us busy, Mary Brown held Bingo games. Winners were rewarded with two-dollar bills. We were having such a good time on the bus going to Navasota that we didn't feel the hour long ride.

Everything looked so good.
Then we arrived in Navasota. Navasota is a small city in Grimes County. The population was 7,049 at the 2010 census. In 2005, the Texas Legislature named the city "The Blues Capital of Texas," in honor of the late Mance Lipscomb, a Navasota native and blues musician.

The best part of the trip was when we arrived at the theatre. The theatre is located on "main street" in an antiquated building about thirty yards from the railroad tracks that run through the center of the city. I had been there before to see another performance a year ago and was not fazed by the building or the scenery. I knew that the performance was what was important. But there, at this unlikely place for a theatrical performance, we got off the bus and entered the building. Members of the Navasota Theatre Alliance proudly awaited us with a lunch spread of turkey, ham, sausage, green beans, mash potatoes, salad, drink and dessert. Six tables with white tablecloths were reserved for us and we were treated with the utmost courtesy in a homey atmosphere. It really made us feel at home. We even went back for seconds.

After lunch, we were led to the theatre area. Not grand theatre sitting I should say, but all the seats were great from every view. Everyone had a good close up view to enjoy the performance. The First Act of the play starts out slow (as many plays do) in an empty railroad station, except for the station manager, Hilda and her assistant, Satch. Bored, they argue over what time it is. Hilda intones, "This is the worst place in the world!" She dreams of faraway places and only finds tedium in running the town's railroad station. That is, until Leo Tannenbaum drops in out of nowhere greeting the stunned station employees the day before Christmas Eve. Then odd things begin to happen. Suddenly, an old radio that hasn't worked in years springs to life, the local group of carolers (which normally yowls like a gang of cats being bathed) begins to sound like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the whole town gets the Christmas spirit. Coincidence? Is Leo doing all this? This nostalgic theatrical greeting card is full of eccentric small-town characters, wise-cracking their way to finding the true wonder of Christmas. And on the way, they make us all wish we could take a ride on the Christmas Express.

And the food taste delicious.
There were eleven characters each coming onto the stage floor at one time or another. Their names and pictures hung in the dining room area for the audience to see. Looking around the audience I noticed that everyone in attendance was really into the play. The performers were really good. After their performance, they lined up for us to shake their hands and thank them for entertaining us.

On the way back we sang Christmas Carols. Mary Brown passed around bags full of candy treats.

Club member attendees: Sarah Harvey, Della DuHart, Daren & Jewel Welch, Bill & Mary Young, Isabel Rangel, Kay Rios, Tom & Fermina Sutter, Tom & Cynthia Croissant, Bob & Marian Gruber, Daryl & Brenda Moss, Israel & Nora Morales, Howard & Mary Lee Cameron, Diane Murray and Mary Brown. Non-member attendees: Hilda Rivera, Sylvia Cruz, Arthur Passaretti, Ardythe Hecht, Linda Matteson

Plan to join us on another upcoming Day Trip.

Copyright TI Houston Alumni Association 2015, All Rights Reserved.

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