I was talking with a new friend, Dean Teaster, and remembered one of our mutual old friends, Terry Jernigan. It made me recall one of our favorite pranks at Virginia Stage Compony in Norfolk.

TJ may (MAY) have mellowed a bit, but…. (I know what a practical joker you are!) We pulled some whoppers during Hamlet. (We love you Ed, but…)

There was one actor who liked to fu – mess with “the locals”. During one particular scene in the play, TJ would shake Ed’s hand as one of the visiting Players in the King’s Court. Ed, playing Polonius would pretend to be exiting, but not let go of TJ’s hand.

Each night, the director would scream at TJ during notes to hurry up and exit the scene, but night after night Ed would hold that hand, while at the same time, looking annoyed that TJ wouldn’t leave.

One night, we put Vaseline on TJ’s hand. Even though Ed registered a split second of surprise, without missing a beat, he grabbed TJ’s arm with the other hand in a warmer greeting than someone of his rank might normally. Didn’t matter. TJ got read the riot act by the director….

So next night before this Polonius made his grand entrance down a very T-A-L-L staircase – at least twenty steps up – and then down again; we tied a cowbell to the bottom of his robes! I forget which one of us distracted, and which one attached, but that was one of my favorites. (I like to remember TJ shaking his hand, and telling him what a pleasure it was working with him. It is kind of poetic that way.) Polonius clanged up one set of stairs and down the other. What must have seemed like an eternity to him went all too fast for the assembled Players bent over in hysterics backstage and in the wings. He didn’t figure out how he was making that unholy racket until he neared the very bottom. He then gathered up his robes, the cowbell, and his last shred of dignity before reaching sanctuary, and addressing His Majesty….Never screwed with us or anyone else on stage again. I miss that Teej. God, we were dangerous together, lol. We need more cowbell.