Summary: Mothers and daughters talking about life and finding the right priorities 

Style: Dramatic.      Duration: 12min
Scripture : Luke 14: 1, 7-14
Actors: 4F

Characters: 2 mother and daughter pairs


Cast: Lucy and Sydney 

Modeste (mother) and Esther (12-year old daughter), refugees


Sydney (sitting in the living room as Lucy enters):  Hi, Lucy.  I'm glad you're back.  Come here, I've got something to show you.


Lucy (sitting beside Sydney): It's good to be back.  Boy, are my feet sore!  Honestly, I just couldn't take any more shopping.  Those stores are crazy.  You think you've got only one or two things to buy, then you get into the mall and one thing leads to another, and before you know it, you've been from one end to the other and back again, with things you don't even need, and missing half the things you went for in the first place.  I need to rest.  (pause)  Now, what was it you wanted to show me?


Sydney: It's this.  I've been going over the guest list for that party we were talking about.  I've added a few new names.  And - I've put a question mark beside a few others that you had put on.


Lucy:  You took some off?


Sydney:  Actually, only one.  


Lucy:  Who did you take off?


Sydney: I took off your Aunt Harriet.


Lucy:  But Sydney, she is my only living aunt.  She's part of our family.  We always have her over.

Sydney:  I know we do.  But Lucy, it's just that she's - she's - she's awkward to have around.


Lucy: Aunt Harriet is 83 years old, Sydney.  She just needs some help with her food.  


Sydney:  And she tells the same stories about twelve times in the space of an hour.  


Lucy:  Does she embarrass you, Sydney?


Sydney:  I don't know.  All I can say is she is awkward.  


Lucy:  You may be like her someday, too, Sydney.  All the things you are so capable of now won't always be there.  And you would want to be included just as much then as you do now, my dear.  Maybe even moreso.


Sydney:  I guess you're right.  


Lucy:  Let's leave Aunt Harriet for a while.  So who else did you actually put on your list?


Sydney:  I was thinking of Joyce Babcock.


Lucy:  But she's the president of your company.  She's never been here before.  I don't even know if she knows you exist.


Sydney:  That doesn't matter.  I have ambitions, Lucy.  I want to get to the top of the company ladder.  I've been taking those night school courses, remember?  I'm not taking them because I like them.  I'm taking them so I can move up.  I want to move ahead.  


Lucy:  Then do so on your own merit, my dear.  You don't need to shine the woman's shoes, or give her a fancy meal to get her to notice you.  Who else have you got on the list that wasn't there before?


Sydney: (looking sheepish, muttering):  Um.  Ah. Actually, I was wondering about inviting Larry Sparks.


Lucy:  Larry Sparks!?  He's our Member of Parliament, for goodness sakes.


Sydney:  It never hurts to have connections, you know. Someday that may come in handy.


Lucy:  Sydney!


Sydney:  How can you ever hope to become important if you don't surround yourself with important people?  It's just the way it's done.  


Lucy:  According to whom?


Sydney:  I read about it in a magazine.  Power suppers, I think they called it.


Lucy:  If that's the case, I can see why you don't want Aunt Harriet there.  Actually, I read about something like this a while ago, too.  


Sydney:  You did?  Any help for advancement?


Lucy:  The opposite, actually.  It was in the Bible.


Sydney:  O, dear.  Here we go.


Lucy:   Yes, here we go.  Here it is, in fact.  "When you give a dinner, do not invite your rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return.  But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind.  And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you."  That just might include Aunt Harriet.


Sydney:  OK, let's give it a rest.  Why don't you tell me about your trip to the mall?


Lucy:  I thought you'd never ask.  Actually, I had the most interesting conversation there with our cleaning woman.


Sydney:  Modeste?  Why would you bother talking with her?


Lucy:  I don't think you know anything about her, Sydney.  Did you know she and her daughter are refugees?


Sydney:  Why does that matter?  We gave her a job.  She should be grateful


Lucy:  I'm going to ignore that comment.  I met Modeste in that international store.  I went in to buy some falafels.  I looked down the row and there she was, with her daughter Esther.  She was staring at this package in her hand.  And she had a far-away look in her eyes.  I think I startled her when I spoke her name.  I asked her what she was buying.  She told me that she wanted to buy this package of cassava, but that she couldn't afford it.  She would have to buy flour instead.


Sydney:  But everybody uses flour.  And what's cassava anyway?


Lucy:  Everybody does not use flour.  Asians use rice.  People from her part of Africa use cassava. Cassava is a starch.  It's made from the root of the cassava plant, pounded into a powder and used like we use flour or potatoes.


Sydney:  So why didn't she just buy it?


Lucy:  Because that little package she was holding cost $10.00.  And back in Africa, she told me, it would cost $.10, and that most people grew their own.  The food we eat, while it is cheaper, is not what they are used to.  It doesn't sit well.  It is not familiar, just like this country.


Sydney:  I guess everyone has their priorities, don't they.  Give it time, Lucy.  Eventually she will become just like us.


Lucy:  Maybe instead of thinking she should become like us, maybe we could learn from her.  Do you know her life story, Sydney?  Modeste told it to me in the mall today.  I took her for a cup of coffee, and she just poured it out to me.  Let me tell you.


Shift to other stage: Modeste and Esther


Modeste:  Esther, what is it?  You look so troubled.


Esther:   Mommy, I don't know exactly.  I feel so unsettled.  I don't feel like I belong here.  


Modeste:  But darling, we are here in this new country.  We have a roof over our heads.  You are going to a school, with a better education than you would ever have had back in our country.  


Esther:   I know, mommy.  But it's more than that.  I get harassed at school all the time.  They tease me because I am different.  Because I have this accent they don't always understand.  They call me stupid.  The girls shun me because as they say, Esther is not cool.  The boys make lewd remarks at me.  I can't tell you what they say.  I should not speak such words.


Modeste:  I have had those remarks too, my love.  It is scary being here, sometimes.  But not as bad as what we went through back home.  Don't ever forget that.  


Esther:   I know what we went through.  I remember what we felt when we heard that Papa was killed.  It was like a knife to my heart.  I know the lies they told about Papa.  The lie that he was a political agitator.  That he was a troublemaker.


Modeste:  Your father worked in a diamond mine, Esther, and the working conditions were terrible.  Miners would die or be injured every week.  They were dispensable.  They had no rights.  And your father was paid about $1.15 per day for risking his life to put food on our table.  If your father was an agitator, it was for you that he did it.  The reason he was killed was for trying to form a union.  For safety in the mine.  For fair wages.  For a future for you and the children of the other workers.


Esther:   I know that, mommy.  I don't fully understand it, just like I don't understand why we had to flee our country, and the village we lived in, and the family we had to leave behind.  O God, I miss them so much, mommy.  I pray every night that we would see them again.  That we could eat with our family, my cousins and our dear Aunt Winnie.


Modeste:  Aunt Winnie used to embarrass you at the dinner table, my dear.  Did you forget?


Esther:   I know she did.  But she was still my aunt.  She was family. I am tired of being an outsider, an outcast.   Mommy, will we ever have family here?  Will we ever feel like we did in our village?  Like we belonged?  Like we mattered to someone?


Modeste:  We are part of God's family, my love.  


Shift to Lucy and Sydney.


Sydney:  That was quite the story, Lucy.  Really, I had no idea.  I don't understand what it all means.  But if I put myself in their shoes, then, well, I guess I'd be wondering where I belonged in this community.  (pause)  You know, Lucy, maybe I should think again about that list we worked on.


Lucy:  You mean the list you worked on.


Sydney:  Right.  The list I worked on.  Maybe we could make some changes to it.   If it's alright with you, that is.


Lucy:  Of course it's alright with me.  Should I go and see Aunt Harriet and invite her to dinner?  


Sydney:  You go ahead.  I'll go and buy some of that - what did you call it?


Lucy:  Cassava.


Sydney:  Maybe Modest can teach us how to cook it.


Lucy:  God bless you, Sydney.  I think we got the guest list just right.




Written by Jim Hatherly

"This play is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-Alike license. Some rights are reserved. For the full license visit visit A donation of equivalent to $10.00 Cdn. to the United Church of Canada Mission and Service Fund for use of this work is suggested. Please visit"