I carefully set my boots under the clothes rack, making sure that all my costumes and props were put in their proper places. It was the last night of DCDA's spring play, The Carpenter's Touch, and I was putting my stuff away for the last time.
The last time! That seemed to be the resounding phrase throughout the entire night. When I got up to sing the first song, the only thing I could think about was, "This is it; this is the last time I'm going to be doing this for the show!" It kept running though my head while conning money off blind Bart, while mimicking Leanna's haughty, austere manners toward Kirk, while backing the sheriff out of the livery, while singing the sad and yet hopeful "Walking Wounded" song, while trying to stop Bart from interrupting the day's peculiar happenings, while showing Eleanor with pride my work as a budding blacksmith, while singing "Amazing Grace" at the end of the show. It all went by as in a dream, every minute marking off something else that I would never do again.
By the end of the night, a chapter in DCDA's history had come to a close; one more production was in the past. The actor's had put away their props for the last time. They had folded up their costumes, never to be used again for that production. The stage was bare. The pews were empty. It all felt so lonesome, forlorn. Jericho, Nevada would never again hear the cocky sheriff heckling his own neighbors. The voice of the Irish mayor was silenced forever. The school children's happy laughter was never to be heard again in front of the school house. The town drunk couldn't be seen conning money off blind Bart, both were now a thing of the past. The mercantile porch lay bare, with no Leanna busily sweeping the floor with her hands while her eyes and ears scanned the town for a morsel of gossip. The livery stood stark and empty. Even the street was deserted, with no towns folk going about their day's business. The emptiness was almost unbearable.
But even though the people are gone and the buildings lay bare, the memories will never be forgotten. There was the time Leanna couldn't open the school door at which the whole cast lost their composure, the time the sheriff forgot Amos's mortgage, the time Gus stuck his tongue out at Virginia when he was supposed to be unconscious from drinking, the time Leanna's bonnet flipped over while "reprimanding" Gus; so many memories that will stay with us forever.
And then their was Kirk, the nail-poundin' pilgrim just a hankerin' to share the good news of Jesus Christ. Through his influence, many helpless, desperate country folks were turned from darkness to light. He showed them the power in God's amazing grace; not by preaching, not by lecturing or condemning, but by living a Godly example through practical Christianity. He tried to share his testimony with everyone he met, how Christ saved him from being a miserable sinner and adopted him as a child of God. Even though the stage is now bare and the pews are now empty, the lessons Kirk taught us will ever live on in the hearts of those who participated in and attended the show. It's almost as if we can still hear Kirk saying to each and every one of us, "Was a time I couldn't be trusted, nuther. I got no room to judge ya. Good Lord'll handle that some day. I'm just here to share the good news with you, that Jesus came to redeem ya, not condemn ya. Seems like you got a right to understand that same as everybody else!"