Today’s post comes from Renee in North Dakota
“Are you ready for Christmas?” This has been the standard greeting between folks out here lately, replacing “How about those Bison?”, or What do you think about the weather?” In my world, being ready for Christmas means that the lefse is made the weekend before Thanksgiving, all the baking and cleaning are done soon after, and the house is decorated by December 1.
This year, none of this happened, and the Tuesday before Christmas my home was not decorated, the presents had not been wrapped, the tree was in a box in the garage, and I hadn’t done much, if any, baking or cleaning. Since the first week of December, husband and I have either attended or participated in four Christmas “pageants” that have taken us away from home and complicated or enriched our lives, depending on our moods at any given time.
Pageant One was the traditional Concordia Christmas Concert in Moorhead to which we wore our Norwegian sweaters and heard lovely and perfect choral singing. It didn’t take too much out of us, except that it took us away from home for a weekend and we couldn’t do much Christmas preparation. I managed to bake 12 dozen cookies for a cookie exchange at work, but that was about all I got done.
Pageant Two took place as week later in a much more modest venue on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Here we helped distribute Christmas presents and food to about 500 people at a mission called the Dream Center. We played music with our Native friends and I helped read the Christmas story at the gatherings. I don’t know how relevant they found the story, given that they are struggling with poverty, homelessness, and hunger, but the children loved the gift boxes and the elders loved the gift bags and hams that were given out. This took us away from home for four more days, and no Christmas preparations took place at home.
Pageant Three took place one week after the Pine Ridge trip in the Sodbuster Room at the local Elks Lodge for my agency Christmas party. In addition to being a member of the Social Committee responsible for planning this soiree, I played my bass guitar in our agency band, and this, of course, meant evening rehearsals that also kept us from making preparations at home. We played everything from Stephen Foster (Hard Times Come Again No More) to Mavis Staples (I Belong to the Band) to Bachman Turner Overdrive (Taking Care of Business), with a Diana Ross medley somewhere in the middle.
Two days after the party, we played in our church bell choir for both Sunday morning services and at an afternoon Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols service. I was asked by the bell choir director to design the bulletins, and this, of course took me away from Christmas preparations at home.
Well, Christmas is upon us. Our children arrived and they decorated the tree and the house. They helped shop, and planned and will help cook Christmas dinner. The house is clean enough, and I finally got to sleep past 7:00 a few mornings this week. I am grateful that we are safe and together, and I guess that is the most important thing.
Merry Christmas, Baboons. Now, if I could only get “Stop in the Name of Love” out of my head, I could say that life was almost perfect.
Describe your role in a memorable Christmas pageant.