A Favorite Christmas Story, A Classic that has worn pretty well…
Earlier this month a friend mentioned that their nephew had been in a play – “The Best Christmas Show Ever” -- “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever?” asked my wife Kathy. Remembering the book, then the play and the subsequent television production made her chuckle and she was able to find it for sale (thanks Amazon!) and ordered it for our holiday viewing pleasure.
The notion of incorrigible children is not new. Nor is the idea of a misfit group of actors putting on a play. Combining the two ideas and setting the story in a church Christmas pageant was a stroke of genius for author Barbara Robinson. The book was first published in 1972. For my entire teaching career when any local family was known as “the Herdmans” every other teacher knew instantly and sympathized.
“And next spring when the pussy-willows come out, I'm going to stick a pussy-willow so far down your ear where nobody can reach it. And it'll sit there and grow and grow and grow so for the rest of your life, there'll be a pussy-willow bush growing out of your ear.”
“Vera Wendlekin says all they do is talk about sex and underwear”
“ Shazam! Out of the blackest night! Unto you a child is born!””
The 1983 (has it really been so long) one hour television special starred Loretta Switt. The production has held up surprisingly well and is a trip down memory lane if only to see that not too long ago there were no cell phones and ladies (or at least the older ones) wore hats to church.
So on Tuesday night we trooped downstairs and watched the Herdmans conquer the Christmas pageant once again. Or maybe the wonder of Christmas conquered the Herdmans.
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