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Bill Marcil Jr., Published July 21 2012

From the Publisher: A place, a show, an actress

It is a perfect summer evening. I am sitting in the old red barn at Trollwood Park in north Fargo. Summer 1995. John Marks and Vick Chepulis, co-founders of Trollwood Performing Art School, are at the front of the room. They are surrounded by big sheets of white paper and talking about moving Trollwood from its perennially flooded location to a 100-acre wood. From the back of the room, I look to my left and another board member, Karen Stoker, is making faces at me – trying to make me laugh. In front, John is drawing horses and dogs and stars and moons. I am starting to fade. As I glance to my right and see the big old oak trees out the window, everything goes blurry.

Seventeen years later: I step out of my car and it comes into focus. It is opening night of the 2012 Trollwood production of “Legally Blonde.” My daughter, who was born 17 years ago, will be on the main stage tonight. I walk through the forest. I don’t see John’s horses, but I see lots of trees, and I know I will see stars later. Looks like 100 acres to me. As the 3,000-plus crowd heads to the beautiful stage, I think back to the year my daughter was born. I think about my dreams that someday she would be one of the Trollwood kids.

I remember the passion and conviction John and Vicki had about their vision for the new facility. As I walk the path of this dream from the past, I realize that like the facility, I, too, have had ups and downs.

I see the 17 years of my daughter’s life pass before me: Her first dance performance at Red River Dance. The years I spent driving to Sauk Centre, Minn., every other weekend to see her and her sister. The years I spent with her teachers in Minneapolis. I was always trying to be an involved parent. Voice lessons, guitar, piano, dance.

In my soul, I feel some regrets. The times I missed school and her and her sister’s life milestones. But here I am tonight: Section A, Row E, Seat 101. The music swells, my heart races and tears stream down my cheeks. Another chapter is marked in my life. Seventeen years ago, I was planning this night – the place, the setting and the actress.

Sometimes life turns out the way we planned. A prayer to God, the universe or whomever you pray to, can work. We want things too quickly. If you would have told me 17 years ago that it would take 17 years for a prayer to work, I might have said it was too long to wait. Little did I know. It was perfect. Exactly the way it was supposed to happen.

Marcil is publisher of The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.