Friday, January 8, 2016

I Hope My Poinsettia Is Still Alive

            I Hope My Poinsettia Is Still Alive
            The day before I left Mexico I bought a poinsettia, my Christmas “bush”. I expected to celebrate Christmas in Mazatlan.

            I certainly never anticipated Christmas in Glendive, Montana. I certainly never expected to sleep so many nights at a hotel that I began to call it “home”. But when my daughter called for help, I took the next plane out of Mazatlan.

            I certainly never expected to shiver and quake with cold several times a day while waiting for my car heater to warm me enough for me to quit huddling into myself. Ah, Montana winter.

            All work and no play is not my way. My favorite dips into community fun have been the two Christmas Pageants, the Deer Creek School play and my family’s church presentation, starring, of course, my granddaughter. I am as delusional as all the other grandparents who think their precious little grandchild starred.

            The first Christmas event was a play having something to do with a Christmas road trip. All aboard “Uncle Nick’s” magic school bus—constructed of yellow cardboard. The cast included the entire country school of twenty students, kindergarten through eighth grade. They experienced Christmas festivities in Florida, California, New York City, New Orleans and Texas. Texas?

            Uncle Nick, of course, was Saint Nicholas, Santa Clause. At the beginning of the trip he was rather tall and thin and tugged at his chin hoping for whiskers. Somewhere along the road he morphed into a stout individual with a full set of glistening white facial fuzz which refused to stay in place. Being practical, he discarded the whiskers. I predict he will go far.

            My granddaughter as Carmen Miranda shed grapes from her straw hat and didn’t quite know what to do with her pink flamingo. Who would? With others she danced the fandango, a sort of jitterbug, sang the blues, kicked her heels with the “Rockettes” and danced the Texas Two-Step. Texas?

            The performance was dysfunctional beginning to end. I enjoyed every moment.

            But the absolute best Pageant was the traditional trip from the back of the church up the aisle to the manger in Bethlehem. Antoinette, draped in swatches of blue fabric and scarves, followed “Joseph” up the aisle to take her place as “Mary”, serenely seated by the baby in its crib.

            Next came three shepherds, identifiable by the crooks on their staffs. All the, er, men wore the requisite bathrobes and appropriate headgear. We all know the story.

            For some reason, the angels followed on the heels of the shepherds. I thought the angles preceded the shepherds. The order—or disorder—might have been caused by costume malfunctions. Angels have wings and halos and more drapery than a showroom.

            A couple little angels had difficulty dressing. I sat in the last pew so I was privy to a backstage drama.  In fact, one little angel-in-training refused her wings, refused to follow angelically to adore the Babe. She preferred her mother’s lap to stage and stardom.

            But the angel who stole the show was a mid-sized fireball, also sans wings. This reluctant angel stood in place throughout all the readings frowning. She seemed a tad rebellious for an angel. From time to time she made furious arm gestures, swishing her white robes while giving the entire congregation the stink eye. I predict a future in politics.

            Finally two kinds arrived, attired in bathrobes, crowned with foil. Two kings? One carried a flask of myrrh and the other a box of gold. There were lots of verses read, lots of songs sung. The king carrying the gold brought the box close to his face, opened the lid, and surreptitiously stuffed something into his mouth, more than once. Chocolate?

            My Christmas gifts included two pageants, below zero weather, snow, wind and family. This time next week I will be home in Mazatlan. I surely hope my poinsettia is alive.

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

December 24, 2015

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