Today was our annual Christmas Pageant at Harnett Methodist. It is a time honored tradition, much like yours I’m sure, where all the kids are shepherds and camels and such. I debated on whether to write this up or not ’cause my agent said it was like asking folks to watch my home movies, but then I found out he was out of the country in Scotland and the only guy I know over there is Dr. Bob so I’m gonna take a chance he won’t see this one.
The reason the tradition it is so important is the kids. My young’uns were in it from the get-go, and started out as donkeys, but worked their way up through the ranks. By the time they finished Confirmation Class their last year of Middle School, they made Mary and Joseph.
I remember it well, ’cause I was out in the driveway getting them to the car, and someone came up in a pickup truck and wanted me to look at his wife’s emergency rash, and Tommy, Jr. dang near got hit ’cause that head gear drooped down around his eyes and he couldn’t see too good. My Marie was dressed as a perfect Mary, but she got lost in the moment and hollered out, “Great Gawd-A’Mighty Tommy- Watch Out!” It wasn’t very becoming of her role, but I got over it quick ’cause at least Tommy didn’t get run over. Besides, it was my fault she’d say such a thing, ’cause she heard it at the Bomb Shelter the week before, and it wasn’t fitting to take such a young lady down there when Wild Bill was in town.
So, I asked the lady and her husband a few questions and once I was certain she didn’t have Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (right locale- wrong time of year) or toxic epidermal necrolysis (the rash was localized, and her skin wasn’t sloughing off) or sepsis, (no fever, chills or vomiking as they say around here) I gave her a script for some FEP cream (that means For Every Purpose) and told her to come in first of the week. After the curb service consult (we still do curb service even though there is not an ICD9 code for it- that is another story) we went on to the Church House. I know you think I am making this up, but this is how is to be a doc in a small town.
Well anyway, Marie and Tommy made a wonderful Mary and Joseph, and I’ve still got the home movies if you ever want to see ’em.
The kids today did good too, and I think I enjoyed it so much because it reminded me of the old days with mine, especially the little girl that played the Donkey.
The only adult in the whole pageant today was Miss Marilyn on the piano accompaniment, who plays the keys in our Praise Band. When she missed her cue nine year old Dorothy, little cherub that she is, turned around and directed her to “Hit it Marilyn,” and then those children nailed “Little Town of Bethlehem” like seasoned stage pros. Before too long, I’m gonna be recruiting some of them to sing with Neuse River- they sing with such attitude.
My all time favorite pageant was not when my Marie was Mary, though. That pick-up truck that about hit Tommy Jr. soured me on that one a bit. The year Marie was the humble donkey still ranks as my favorite. She sang “I am the Donkey, Shaggy and Brown,” and had on a suit with ears that kept flopping down in her face. She kept having to brush those donkey ears out of the way, but in the bluegrass way, never missed a note, and stayed on pitch the whole tune.
Of course, we had it on VCR and watched it until Marie was so sick of it she couldn’t take it anymore, and made us put it up.
Now that she’s gone off to school, I get it out and watch it every year. In fact, last December Marfar had gone to do some shopping and I was off, but there wasn’t any picking going on and it was way too cold for golf.
Well, me and Miss Violet, the lady who helps us on Wednesdays, got to watching that tape, and when my Marfar came home we were were sitting on the couch watching little Marie sing “I am the Donkey.” Poor Violet was just a squalling, but I held up pretty good- my contact solution musta gone bad, but I got through it.
When it comes to your kids, docs are just like everyone else, so I appreciate your indulgence for today’s post- just don’t tell my agent you watched one of my home movies. I’ll get back to doctor and music stories in short order.
And, I tell you what. I’m gonna do just like every year and watch “A Wonderful Life” and that tape of my Marie as a donkey again just as soon as I get some better contact lens solution- right about this time of year that stuff goes against my eyes and makes ’em water. I’m sure that’s what it is- I am a man of science, you know.
Holidays, short stories