One of the first couples I met upon coming to Clarksville was Herb and Sallie Baggett. They were enjoying one of our earliest Roxy endeavors — which one, I no longer remember — but I do remember thinking, “This beautiful couple is really interested in what we are trying to do here on the corner of Franklin and First.” I remember having trouble following Herb’s facile, nonlinear conversation of curious questions, while being in awe of Sallie’s unique elegance and comely beauty.
At that time, they were childless. How could we have known that a few years later that darling twosome would turn into a family of six? Their twin daughters Mary and Adair have appeared in numerous productions, including playing Valentine and Curio in Twelfth Night. Their son Luke played Astyanax in The Trojan Women. Keeping that pubescent energy contained for a death scene was an easy task because of a sleight of hand maneuver replacing young Baggett with a sheeted effigy. Their youngest, Lillie, has not yet made it onto the stage, but she sees every age-appropriate production.
I left after that first meeting with Herb and Sallie Baggett’s images locked in my mind and even went so far as to write a skit portraying myself as an uncouth Yankee and the two of them as elegant Southerners — she not unlike Melanie Wilkes and he not unlike Ashley. The skit and the play for which it was written never came to fruition, but the image remains clear and hallowed in my mind’s eye.
The Baggetts and their extended family have housed actors, fed them in bulk, hosted cast gatherings, and sown seeds of creative funding which have grown to reap rewards far beyond their initial investments, such as picking up the bill for Roxy coffee mugs or paying for reproducing a Peg Harvill watercolor. They have cast their bread upon the waters of the Roxy and, in doing so, multiplied their gift a hundred fold.
Now Herb and Sallie Baggett have offered their home for a fundraising event, much like Lena and Jimmy Orgain’s “Mint Juleps and Gershwin at High Meadow” last spring. Herb built The Baggetts’ family home after Sallie saw the film “Out of Africa,” modeling theirs after the one Meryl Streep lived in. I don’t think they have given their home a name, but it is undeniably the home that love built and that house which houses love.
So with all of their past support, Herb and Sallie continue with “Barbeque at The Baggetts’” on Saturday, May 12, from 4pm until 6pm. Wayne Abrams, Bubba’s Tennessee Smoker’s Chief Cook, is supplying delicious barbeque with all the fixin’s, while Stuart Bonnington is providing bluegrass entertainment. Ticket costs, which are $150 per person, are fully tax-deductible, with all proceeds funding the new center for arts and education.
Tonight and tomorrow at 8pm are the final two performances of Spring Awakening. Saturday at 2pm is the last performance of SchoolHouse Rock Live.
See you at the theatre!