Green Sheets - Red Riding Hood
Dear Imaginary Friend:
I'd been writing a rather interesting little account for the last hour; – or at least I'd hoped it might be interesting. But I lost the entire thing, gobbled up by the 'puter. Doggone thing. Don't you just hate it when that happens? But sometimes I chalk it up to my guardian angels trying to look after me and save me from making boo-boos. But other times I just get mad and want to get even. This time I was only modestly mad and felt tempted to start over. But then, thinking I should have gone to bed before I began the one I lost, and while though I'm possibly non-sensible enough to begin another, I'm telling myself not to. But here I go. So much for self-admonition!
I had begun the one I lost about 10:45 pm. Had only a couple of words typed before going off to sleep from which I woke about four hours later, laptop on lap, fingers on keys. At that point I made the choice not to abandon the effort and go back to sleep but to get a piece of watermelon and come back to continue the story, which had wandered all over kingdom come at the fateful moment when it vanished from the face of the Earth. Oh well. Easy come, easy go.
So I finally got all the lines of zzzzzzzzzzs brought into harness and deleted, and found I was back to my "Once upon a time. . ." . . . beginning.
. . .a tale about . . .
Heaven only knows what had moved my fingers to start describing these events we called Chat Room Get Togethers. Maybe Fate stepped in for some obscure reason. Maybe it is needed. I don't know. But here it is.
Our chat room had evolved after the serpent got into the Garden of MSN, where we had been the Seniors General Chat room before the Garden had to be closed down, never to return in its full glory again. Our refuge chatroom was called Bartender’s Pub and we called ourselves the Pubbies. We held these live events, called Get Togethers (GTGs) annually and Pubbies from all over the country managed to convene for them. And- hey - this isn't the UK. This is the USA - with even some Pubblies from Canada, so we had to travel really vast distances for these long-weekend get togethers! But they were worth it! Such colorful, fun events where we got to really get acquainted! For months the Pubblies planned, worked out times and made schedules, got commitments, set up events and accommodations in various “party places” from one side of the country to the other. Some years we met at Las Vegas, Phoenix, Lake Tahoe, Dallas, and finally, we discovered Branson, Missouri, where we met several times.
Let me mention that we weren't the only chat room. Oh, No! There had been many others, united by ages, interests, or just the social yearnings - in the Garden of MSN. Like we Pubbies, most of them had managed to salvage new identities using the "copy-cat" MS Chat formatted chatroom host-servers which sprang up. Some day I must tell you about the FIRST MS Chat format - Comic Chat! But that must await its turn.
Meanwhile - after the Serpent attack and being unable to combat it effectively, the "momma" server MS Chat shut down and MSN began the first of a long series of search and rescue efforts for it, from Communities on through Groups, which it finally has been forced to abandon, too, in the past few years, for reasons known only to them. Still, though, their ideas have persisted and other servers now host Groups of various types hearkening back tot the original MSN ones and surely there must be even more branches to the trees in this forest than anyone can count from inside or outside of it! But that's not what this hub is about either!
I just needed to set up the story here. You see, in the beginning, those Chat Rooms at that time were the only social meeting places provided and fast friendships had been formed (fast in both senses). So soon after the demise of the original, there arose new Chat Rooms built on its original format and then the prototype instant messenger, ICQ, had also appeared to help us chatters keep connected and it enabled us to exchange large files - too large for emails then - such as music, photos and other goodies. Chat Rooms became full of shared music, photos, and "macros" - which were artistic works made by everyday member just using the keyboard characters to "draw" intricate pictures and greetings for arriving chatters and so much more! We "danced" and "sang" to the shared music we were able to use by the genius of the MS Chat setup aided by ICQ's ability to allow us to share it on our computers from whence it could be "played" IN the chatrooms for all who shared it on our computers to "hear" and share simultaneously within the chat setting! It was great good fun!
ICQ may still exist in name among the countless IMs, but it's present form and all the others can thank their granddaddy, ICQ which originated from a few clever guys in Israel, for their format and the genius of their services. It has never really been outdone in finding and filling needs well, though it's been taken over by biggies, from Yahoo to now, Time Warner-AOL. and has expanded to compete with other areas of internet social exchange, including its own chat. In fact, it looks pretty good!
Here is an official present-day description of ICQ v.7:
ICQ is an instant messaging computer program, which was first developed by the Israeli company Mirabilis, now owned by Time Warner's AOL subsidiary. ICQ became one of the first Internet-wide instant messaging services. The name ICQ is a homophone for the phrase "I seek you".
ICQ features include sending text messages, offline support, multi-user chats, free daily-limited SMS sending, resumable file transfers, greeting cards, multiplayer games and a searchable user directory.
To participate in Comic Chat, one picked an avatar/comic character and whatever comments one made appeared in the speech bubbles. If one typed "haha" or "lol" - the character actually laughed! One could learn to manipulate them to move a little and could also choose emotions from the circle of emotions on the bottom right. In order to know who one was "talking to", it was possible to rest the cursor on the comic character to show the real person's name - or to be really fast and good at it, one needed to remember who these folks were. A new person entering was assigned a default character until picking one of his/her choice. Most folks tried to find a character they felt to be or wanted to seem to be, as you can well imagine!
MS Comic Chat and ICQ
So, of course, there being other Chat Rooms, they also met at live Get Togethers in various locations across the country during that hey-day, too. Each group had favorite haunts, from New Orleans, Orlando, Atlantic City, Myrtle Beach and so forth - too many and varied to mention. It must have been a boon to the economy because whenever a chatroom called a hotel or lodge to schedule reservations for one of these GTGs, it was greeted with warm enthusiasm and special rates and services were offered.
Obviously, these things helped the local economies but undoubtedly they helped the chatroom folks get acquainted and form lasting friendships, as they were boosting business for the airlines and travel routes along which many drove cars and RVs to and from the destinations, as well. It was a kind of pinnacle of the new social idiom, in fact. Unfortunately, like the proverbial Garden of Eden, there was a serpent among its orchards. But that isn't the subject of this hub. Oh no. But some of you might have been wondering whatever happened to those "good old days". Something certainly did happen. But, then, like the Garden of Eden - if it hadn't happened the way it did, we wouldn't be here now!
I'm not sure what led me into telling you about all this just now. OH - yes - now I do remember. Several Monday nights ago I'd needed to cover the tender plants for a frost/freeze warning in our area, which skipped my neighborhood in spite of my diligence - or was it because of it? Anyway - I'd needed to find something non-plastic and large enough to cover my recent landscaped area to protect it from possible frost. I didn't want to use good linens, in case of a soil problem, but that gave me an idea. So imagine my delight to remember having those two dark green sheets I'd bought for props for part of the entertainment at one of those many get-togethers. Subsequently they served as “stage” curtains for several skits over several years! But they aren't being used as curtains now.
You see, we always had a skit, written, directed, staged and acted by members and presented to the other members in attendance. This got its start when, for several years, our GTGs were gathered in Branson, Missouri, which has become a sort of laid-back Las Vegas with many celebrity shows, a delightful touristy downtown, and much natural beauty of mountains and lakes all around it.
Those of us who came in RVs parked at the KOA a few miles out of town, while others stayed in one of the many hotels in town. The KOA offered excellent facilities for our home-grown entertainment events. And every moment of the three day weekend was either planned or allowed as “free” time for browsing, shopping and just enjoying the area.
We all arrived Friday in time to have lunch together. The Hard Rock Cafe on the Grand Village Courtyard was a favorite spot. Then that evening, Friday night, everyone went as a group to one of the celebrity shows. For example, we saw Andy Williams and Glenn Campbell the last time we were at Branson. At the GTGs in other areas, there were always good show choices, too. But Branson became our favorite setting.
The Professional Show was about to give way to our own amateur performances - which were probably the most fun of theh entire GTG! Perhaps you "had to be there" but let me try to give you a glimpse from the present! After all it is how the green sheets came into my memory!
After the show the folks who were staying in town partied on in town while the rest of us met back at the KOA and shared some visiting in one of the RVs before trekking over to the Pavilion to "rehearse" for the skit and Talent Show for Saturday. I think Audrey may have taken a dip in the pool meanwhile! She was the one who looked freshened up at breakfast the next morning and seemed to know her lines!
So, ok, - some of the actors didn't read their scripts too well for the skit, and, well, yes, the rehearsal Friday night probably didn't help much. Mostly everyone was too busy laughing, clowning around, dancing and singing to Ms.Jean’s Karaoke player instead of practicing their lines. It was just too doggone much fun for anyone to be too greatly concerned about learning a script which it was assumed woulld be read anyway, provided anyone could read with the costumes interferring!
OK, as this treatise started off "about" - Green sheets, aka Green Curtains!
When we first time staged a skit at this Branson Pavilion, we realized we needed curtains to separate the "stage" from the audience. The state area was at the front end of the Pavilion, which was walled and contained closets for storage and a counter for serving food. Breakfast pancakes were served there every morning for the RVers, in fact.
So when we decided curtains were required, I drove into town and got these inexpensive dark green sheets at a local discount store while my “stage hands” strung up a rope and a piece of PVC pipe from which to suspend it. It was so tacky, it was funny - but effective! So each year thereafter, bringing the green curtains was part of my job. In fact, I was the general flunky, costume manager, prop-person, you-name-it gitchee-girl, - I guess because I always seemed to have some zany idea to plug into any emergency which arose, and there were always plenty of those! I became the official photographer, too, since after a GTG, back at home, I put together extensive web pages about each of the events.
We enjoyed many fun meals at the variety of Branson restaurants and made meals of our own at the KOA. In fact on Saturday, it was the traditional big picnic under the Pavilion, followed by a skit of the season and a talent show.
The skit performed at this, ouor last Branson GTG, was “Little Red Riding Hood” with a stellar cast of actors and some of the corniest dialog imaginable. Our talented "Ms.Jean" was again the skit writer, director and lead performer, playing the part of Little Red Riding Hood herself. It was certainly her shiniest, glowingest 15 to 60 minutes of fame, with a most amazing supporting cast and appreciative audience. This admirable, cute and nearly forgettable event, as this story testifies, has defied all odds to be propelled into future fame and glory right here on this hub after eight years of obscurity! This kind of notoriety is not to be easily forgotten.
So fasten your seat belts for an exciting plunge down memory lane!
The Play, The Play!
Following such a skit performance, the talent show might have been anti-climactic, but bursting with such enormous, amazing talent, it could be only wonderful - as it was!
All that dreadful rehearsing seemed to make it funnier on Saturday for the actual performance. In fact, no doubt - a polished performance would have been a bore! But - no danger of that!!
The Bartender's Pub Raw Talent Show!
That evening we were scheduled to go for a relaxing cruise aboard a paddle-wheeled riverboat. It was so romantic! More great food, more professional entertainment performed by the riverboat's exceptional troupe, and all in the tradition of the Old South. Quite a lovely evening!
There were other events planned and executed before the GTG ended, including a late brunch in Branson and an early Sunday evening dinner at Lamberts (home of the ‘throwed biscuits’ where biscuits are served by having them hurled across the room to your table, hopefully being expertly caught in mid-air!) and ending with a big outdoor campfire where everyone “wound down” and said our goodbyes next to one of the RVs evening Sunday. Of course – by the next day, everyone was online in chat at the Bartender’s Pub to compare notes and Nellieanna was furiously getting the web site coverage ready to present.
So the green sheets have been stored in a clear zippered plastic bag on a shelf in my utility room, where I discovered them Monday and saw my freeze-coverings materialize!
Indeed the green covering was placed over the plants and anchored with decorative rocks aganst the pounding of the brisk wind in progress. If the precaution had been needed and if the temperature had dropped as expected, they’d have served another noble purpose.
Many of the Bartender's Pub Chat Room folks are still in touch via email and some are even on Facebook and other venues. We all remember that those were some truly special times we shared with good friends - met here on the internet and proving to be "real".
Sadly, some have joined the fondly remembered - and they always will be.
Thank you for sharing a few of the memories from then.
The GTGs are saved in summary form on my website, though originally each individual part of each event was covered in exquisite detail. I loved doing it! I know that I should have majored in "foolishness"! It’s my real forte.
This is the complete version: http://nellita.com/02brnsn1begin.html.
Later I condensed all the GTG webpages, all complete as this one, into one-page summaries. This summary is found at: http://nellieanna.com/02brnsnhilites.html