Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 05.13.11
Stanstead, Quebec


And remember: Let's put the "shhh" in "showtime"

Hello? Hello? Is this on? Test, test, feeling a little testy... One, two, three hours of detention...

Good evening, everyone. If we could all just settle down, please.... As principal of Élecole Ste-Beigne-de-la-Framboise, I'd like to welcome you to our annual all-school musical-dramatic-revue-pageant-spectacle! The children have a wonderful evening planned for you, and if all goes well we should be out of here in two to two-and-a-half hours... Settle down, please... quiet... People, I can wait here all night!

It's so nice to see so many parents and grandparents here this evening. I notice we also have a lot of younger siblings crawling around. A reminder to parents to please monitor your toddler after the lights go out as the school will not responsible if you go home with the wrong one.

It looks like there are still a few people coming in, even though it's well past 7 p.m. and the notice we sent home clearly suggested parents arrive by 6:45. I think there are still a few seats at the rear. You won't be able to see anything from there but you're welcome to partake in all the comfort Seventie-era stacking chairs have to offer.

You might also want to join the large group of parents ignoring me at the back of the gym in the "standing room only" section, or as I like to call it, "the quick getaway" section.

Speaking of which, I realize that the only important part of this evening's performance is your own child's performance, but I encourage you to remain for the entire show so as not to cause too much disruption. There will be enough movement as it is what with all the parents hopping up to videotape, people leaving the hall to make "emergency" phone calls, the inevitable pee breaks and the sudden realization that you've lost track of your toddler... again.

If, however, you feel you must ignore the performance, please do so quietly and not by loudly whispering snide remarks to your neighbours during the show about how terrible so-and-so's mother is and who exactly is whoozit's father and the true nature of this-and-that-teacher's leave of absence. Incidentally, Mme Fachée sends her regards and would like to inform everyone that she has regulated her dosage and feels she's almost ready again to be around people shorter than four feet.

I also wanted to point out that the stage lights are quite bright so the children really won't be able to see you waving at them no matter how wildly you flail your arms. You may be able to get their attention by loudly calling their name but I discourage this because the children may not know whether you're calling girl Camryn with a "C" or boy Kameron with a "K," and it might just end up in tears -- possibly mine.

About tonight's presentation, it's entitled "Our United Conjugations: A Celebration of Verb Tenses." As many of you may know, our original theme was "Pirates of the Cafeteria" but the school board has dictated that all school dramatic presentations must be constructed around a pedagogical aspect. This will help explain later in the evening why the Past Imperfect is dressed as a mermaid.

At any rate, the children have put a great deal of effort into tonight's presentation, which will include performances ranging from the deer-in-the-headlights adorableness of the Pre-K group to the surly song stylings of our Grade 6 class. We also have seven songs on xylophones, thereby fulfilling our xylophone-usage quota for the year and qualifying us for future funding in next year's Extraneous Instruments budget.

I see that even fewer parents are paying attention to me than at the start of my introduction (which goes a long way to explaining your children's in-class behaviour), so I'll just wrap up by reminding everyone that we only do this once a year, but just to keep you happy, we will be providing hockey playoff updates throughout the evening.

Bon spectacle!

Ross Murray's collection, You're Not Going to Eat That, Are You?, is available in Quebec in area book stores and through He can be reached at