Thursday, October 22, 2009


My big brother, Bert (aka BB), has an occasional nickname for me too. “How’s charm school, Grace?”

It all began in college drama class my freshman year. Mrs. Thigpen chose me for the lead in The Black Sheep.

I played Grace, a 40-something wife and mother of teens. The part demanded sophistication. That demanded acting. We presented the drama 14 times both on and off campus.

One of the last performances was a Sunday morning service at a church in Ashland City, TN. The pews were packed. The windows were covered, sanctuary darkened so the blinding spotlight shone only on stage.

MY stage...MY moment!

Before the actual play began, Mrs. Thigpen introduced each character as we strolled across the stage, prop in hand.

“This is George, a successful businessman. He’s not quite as successful at home, however, with his wife and two teenage children.”

My George exited with his newspaper in hand. My cue to enter with my shopping bag, neatly coiffed French twist and pumps. Every stage is different and bright lights are bright. The last thing I remember hearing was a lilting voice, “And this is George’s lovely wife, Grace…”

I strode into my moment of glory, taking six steps to center stage. I should have taken five.

Suddenly I landed on all fours, hose torn at my knees, staring at the knees of my roommates on the front pew. Everyone gasped in unison. Except my roomies, who guffawed.

Beat. Beat.

Mrs. Thigpen swept to my side, took my hand, lifted me to my feet but kept her eyes on the audience and lilted still,
"Ladies and gentlemen, Grace has to adjust to a new living room every week..."

Just beneath her melodic sweetness I heard a silent warning, You better stay in character. This play WILL go on, young lady.

I did. It did. My make-up wrinkles ran a bit, from the tears I shed then quickly wiped. NOW, some 40 years later, my wrinkles are real--some from tears, some laugh lines.

It may not be sound theology but one can still be saved after a fall from grace!

Laughter and tears…both can be



  1. Oh, but if that isn't a "Melanie Moment"!!!!

  2. Then you understand, Melanie! It's lonely at the bottom...of the stage.

  3. Judy Combs Puckett 7:53am Jun 6, 2011

    I missed this one, Kathy, but it's a classic. What a funny story, and great memory of FWBBC and Mrs. Thigpen. I wasn't in drama, but Jim and our daughter Lancia were. Both thought Mrs. Thigpen hung the moon! She's a great lady and a wonderful teacher! Thanks for sharing your story, Grace!