"The tall man with the high hat will be coming down your way, Get your savings out, When you hear him shout, Any bonds today?”

Yes, it looks like with the war coming on in late December 1941, everyone is getting involved down around Siler City. You may remember from last year’s production of “Smoke on the Mountain” that the Sanders Family operates a filling station/grocerette down there when they’re not out on the road singing.

Well even though he can’t quite get his mind wrapped around exactly how it works, family patriarch Burl Sanders is selling those bonds out at his store. Besides, Burl understands that by loaning the government some money via these bonds, it will help keep his son Dennis safe. Dennis ships out for basic training the day after Christmas.

More on the upcoming M’ville Players and Allied Arts production of “Sanders Family Christmas” in just a few paragraphs.

But first, there are things happening this Wednesday evening, Nov. 3. The Georgia College Art Department, as part of their Visiting Artists and Scholars Lecture Series, presents “Does Size Matter?”

Does Size Matter??? Oh wait, I just noticed that’s not the complete title (would have been interesting though!)

Semi-seriously, Dr. Erin Hogan from the Art Institute of Chicago will present “Does Size Matter? A Road Trip Through the Land Art of the American West.”

Hogan, described as a recovering art historian, undertook a trip through the western US awhile back in a Volkswagen Jetta to visit the monuments of American land art including Robert Smithson’s “Spiral Jetty” near the Great Salt Lake and Michael Heizer’s “Double Negative” in Nevada. I know a lot of English teachers are probably cringing at the idea of a monument to a double negative.

Actually this whole aspect of landscape art in the wide open spaces of the American west really does sound fascinating. One of the monuments visited by Hogan was Walter De Maria’s “Lightning Field”, consisting of 400 stainless steel poles installed in a grid array on the high desert of western New Mexico.

Many of these monuments have been featured in various news magazines and TV specials, but few people have actually seen them simply because most of them are in very remote locations. Sort of contributes to that whole minimalist attitude.

Dr. Hogan will be speaking in the Museum Education room at the GC Museum located on the corner of North Clarke and Montgomery Streets — basically a branch off from the GC library. The talk starts at 6 p.m. Wednesday, so check it out.

Now in just a couple of weeks, two major theatrical events will come your way. The GC Theatre Department will present “Steel Magnolias” at the Campus Theatre Nov. 9-13 and 16-20 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 14 and 21 at 2 p.m.

I’ll give some more info next week, but you probably know the basic set up of the play itself. However, keep in mind it IS in the Campus Theatre. That means it will be the official opening play, which will no doubt help draw in the crowds. Add that to the fact that it is a well known play and the seating is limited (again, this is NOT in Russell) and it all adds up to getting your tickets in advance.

And speaking of getting tickets in advance, “Sanders Family Christmas” will be in Allen’s Market on very similar dates — Nov. 11-14 and Nov. 18-21 with Thursday, Friday and Saturday shows at 8 p.m. and the Sunday show at 2 p.m. — just in time to get down that delicious Sunday lunch at Big Head’s Eat ‘n’ Run Diner — if that line makes little sense to you, then you must have been among the missing at last year’s “Smoke on the Mountain.”

Dennis Sanders, one of the twins (he’s the boy) has just enlisted, so this Christmas sing may be the last time the Sanders Family gets to sing together for quite some time. Lots of emotions running through the proceedings, along with yodeling cowboy songs, nose rubbing (just like the Eskimos), stories of evil elves and burning Christmas trees. In other words, though there is some genuine tenderness in this play, there are a lot of laughs as well.

Kane Lewis joins the cast as Dennis Sanders and adds some special moments to the proceedings as well as some mighty fine fiddle playing. And Shelby Cloud steps in as the other twin, Denise (she’s the girl), bringing a beautiful voice and tales of trying to spread the Gospels while giving permanents to ladies at the local beauty parlor — and luckily for most of her victims...uh..clients, their hair grew back out alright after about a year.

Andy Adams and Bradley Pfohl return as “Uncle Andy” and “Cousin Earl” respectively. Though not originally characters in the play, these two fine musicians certainly help augment the on-stage instrumentation, and director John Geist, along with music director Leanne Branch, have worked wonders to seamlessly integrate them right into the proceedings.

Tickets are selling fast for this folks, so if you haven’t yet made a purchase, I suggest you do so post-haste. Your donation of $10 to the Mount Pleasant Church will get you a pew seat at Allen’s Market. And this can be accomplished by going to the M’ville Players website at www.milledgevilleplayers.org or by calling (478) 314-4054 if you want to charge your love offering, or stopping by the Marlor House on Wayne Street if you prefer using cash or checks.

And if you’re thinking, “Wow...how can I pick between ‘Sanders Family Christmas’ and ‘Steel Magnolias,’” you don’t have to! Lots of choices of dates for both plays, so just figure on lots of live entertainment for mid-November. But the longer you wait to purchase tickets for either play, the slimmer your choice of dates will be!

As for our earlier tuneful intro, “Any Bonds Today” became a well known slogan and song during WWII, but my favorite rendition was from Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig and Elmer Fudd in a Warner Bros. short directed by the great Bob Clampett that was shown in theaters all over America for most of 1942.

“Any bonds today? Bonds of freedom, that’s what I’m selling, Any bonds today? Scrape up the most you can, Here comes the freedom man, Asking you to buy your share of freedom today.”

Catch you on the flip side.

Tom Toney can b reached at ttoney@unionrecorder.com.

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