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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Best Christmas pageants ever

Someone asked me this week if I missed being in Christmas plays?  She was referring to a time in Minnesota when our whole family participated in community theater at Christmas, doing shows like A Christmas Carol, The Miracle on 34th Street (I got to be Kris Kringle), and the hilarious yet very moving Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

But I thought back to my South Dakota country school days when our teacher Mr. Glanzer, who would spend many of his week nights staying at the homes of the various families near our school, would oversee the production of our Christmas plays.  He would enlist the help of a couple of farmers and construct a stage in the front of our one-room schoolhouse -- a setting not unlike the one pictured here.

On that stage he would make magic happen, somehow not only gathering all 20-plus students in the 8 grades together to sing carols and read Christmas poems for our parents and grandparents, but also  putting on 2 or 3 different “Christmas plays,” capped by the re-telling of the Christmas Story with the oldest girl and boy getting to play Mary and Joseph and the youngest kids getting to be angels and shepherds.

I wrote about that in a short story that was selected for an anthology called A Farm Country Christmas and always think of it at this time of year. 

District 10, Spring Valley, S.D.

This was our country school, located about a mile from our farm.  At the time, it seemed enormous, as did our annual Christmas production, and I couldn’t imagine then that the show we did was any less important  or glamorous than a Broadway play, which Mr. Glanzer sometimes told us about when preparing us. 

I do miss being in a Christmas show, and thinking back, the various versions of those country school “extravaganzas” rise to the top of my memory list.   Writer’s (and happy holiday) moments all.

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