Venerable puppet brings smiles to kids at Kadena Elementary
KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — A small fuzzy lamb and energetic 5-year-old orangutan were loose at Kadena Elementary School grounds Monday.
It wasn’t a cause for concern, but for smiles and laughter, as Mallory Lewis, daughter of the late Shari Lewis, brought her “sister” Lamb Chop and Zoey the orangutan to the school.
Students filled the gymnasium to see the performance, where they heard jokes and songs.
Chris Carlson, 8, said he thought the show was good — especially Lamb Chop’s knock-knock jokes.
Lewis said she’s used to taking her show on the road but this was her first trip to Okinawa. She said she normally performs on cruises and at performing arts centers, but recently did shows at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, and the Army’s Fort Irwin, Calif., and will perform later this month at Fort Hood, Texas.
Lewis has been on tour at all the installations with the United Services Organizations.
“I love working with the USO,” she said. “They don’t pay their performers but they take such good care of you … you don’t have to worry about anything.”
Performing for military families is important, Lewis said, because although they weren’t the ones who signed up for the military, they have to endure the hardship of the lifestyle.
“The military moms who deal with three kids all under the age of seven while dad is gone — they’re heroes … the families are heroes,” she said. “What military families do and the way they move around is really wonderful.”
Laura Solomon, Okinawa USO program manager, said this is the first time she has seen a USO tour directed towards family members. “Military members make sacrifices but family members make them too,” she said. “It’s nice that people see we also make sacrifices and remember that we’re here.”
Lewis is to perform primarily for students during her week on Okinawa, but she also will be treating adult crowds to a bit different show. Lamb Chop’s brother, Ram Chop, will be making several appearances to adult-only crowds.
“It’s not your mother’s Lamb Chop,” warned Lewis. “He’s Ram Chop, the black sheep of the family … he’s ba-a-a-a-a-d to the bone.”
Ram Chop and Lewis will make appearances at the Rocker NCO Club on Kadena at 7 p.m. Wednesday and the Butler Officers Club at 9 p.m. Friday. Lewis, Lamb Chop and Zoey will perform the kid’s show at Bob Hope Primary, Bechtel Elementary and E.C. Killin Elementary schools.
Lewis also is urging kids to have their parents log onto www.zoey.tv. She said the site would be registering military families to win a trip for four to the Royal Lahaina resort in Hawaii.
“My vision is a servicemember coming back from Iraq, seeing his family, and going to Hawaii with them,” Lewis said.