Talk about memories. Thirty-two years later, and I remember my line from the Christmas pageant in kindergarten like it was yesterday. (I can still do my Copacabana tap dance recital number from that year too, but that’s neither here nor there.)
What is most amazing to me is how vividly I remember that day. It was my first year of Catholic school and the teachers were assembling us outside the gymatorium. Our parents were in folding chairs getting their Polaroid cameras warmed up.
Behind us in line was the afternoon class and I could see my cousin if I turned around and stood on tippie toes. They looked so cool in their drummer boy costumes, with construction paper hats they had made themselves. Not to mention that their song rocked.
And me? Well I was a sheep. Lamb. Whatever. No drum to bang. Heck, no human words to even speak.
Looking down at my costume, I wondered if I could go through with it. My five-year-old Christmas spirit was sagging beneath the white batting my mother had secured to the fabric shirt, pants, and mitts that she lovingly sewed for me. And at that moment, I didn’t feel any better than the lamb girl in front of me whose cotton balls were falling off before we ever made it to the stage.
I thought about being a rebel and walking in, instead of crawling on all fours as we had practiced.
Why couldn’t my name have been Mary and snagged me the starring role?
I looked sideways at the angels’ tinsel halos, wishing I was them.
And then it was go time.
Not one to shirk a role, I did my part. I smiled. And we sang:
Said the shepherd boy to the little lamb: Do you hear what I hear? Do you hear what I hear?
Still to this day, when I hear that song, I smile. And sing along. Because by the time we left that stage, I had a change of heart. It could have been the rows of smiles in the audience or the Holy Spirit getting a hold of me, but I was Scrooge no longer.
At the end of the play, I crawled out while the other lambs opted to ditch their character and walk.
And then we sat stage right while the drummer boys did their thing. They were good. So I sang along to their act too.
Parumppapumpum. On my drum.
Just like I do now whenever those two songs play.
What takes you back to your childhood holidays? For Amanda, it’s a bit of time travel.