It all started in 1991 when Mike met Debra Reeser, who is now a very old, old friend; at this point, he urged me to point out that Debra is ten years older than he is. They were work wife and work husband up to Mike’s retirement from Corner Theatre Academy in 2014 where they produced and directed hundreds of shows and thousands of students. They not only worked together on and off the stage but also took students on trips all around the Southeast, Nebraska, The Bahamas, Washington, D.C., and probably some other places that he is forgetting. I think Mike owes me some travel miles.
Mike and I took a trip to see Debra in her beautiful log cabin surrounded by nature in what we used to call God’s Country, northwest Jefferson County, specifically Corner. While keeping socially distant, we saw her latest project of making PPE’s or Personal Protection Equipment, specifically face masks, for local police and hospital workers. Also there was Wendy Stripling Brown, Deb’s sister, who was sewing masks and also breaking needles on her machine. I need to add that Megan Garner, current director of Corner Theatre Academy, is the brains behind the distribution side of this operation. Wonder if Mike could lure her to Downtown Jasper?
Anyway, toiling in the theatre all those years together, Mike and Deb both know how to work every power tool known to man in a scene shop (thanks in part to Mike Reeser and Grady Hendrix), a sewing machine in the costume shop (thanks in part to Virginia Bonham and Peggy Rhodes), lighting, sound, directing…..you get the picture. Mike brags, but really they just know a little about a lot things.
Never to be outdone by Debra (human men are so predictable), we took that trip with an ulterior motive. He decided he was going to rip off her incredible idea and rebrand it for Jasper Main Street. You know what that means, right? It means that a certain English Cream Retriever is stuck behind a sewing machine in what I call Mike’s Sweat Shop!
Debra then lovingly, in all seriousness, donated to Jasper Main Street enough material to make 100 face masks that we are currently sewing. These face masks will first be given to the Jasper Main Street restaurants and businesses still in operation during this health crisis. If demand grows, we will try to keep up with it. I told Mike that I couldn’t possibly sew 100 face masks by myself in his sweat shop so I hopped on his cell and called my Aunt Beth Kennedy, also known to me as Aunt B, at Jasper High School. She assured me that they would partner with me so I wasn’t responsible for everything Mike promised.
The current pattern is a layer of tightly-woven cotton on the outside, a layer of flannel on the inside, along with elastic straps that I’m told has an 85% efficiency rate in germ transmission. Once these 100 are finished and distributed, we will assess the need for more. If you like this project, and the need grows, Mike will tell you how you can help. My guess is that he’s going to direct you to Jasper Main Street’s PayPal account located at www.jaspermainstreet.com, or bring you material to cut and sew.
And thank you to, Debra, Mike’s old, old friend for challenging him to be better and giving me another extra job. The bridge has been built for Corner Theatre Academy, Jasper High School, and Jasper Main Street to do what we do best…WE FLOURISH! #jaspermainstreet #flourishwithus #tbp #pawtographslaterdahling #flattenthecurve