Christmas I remember best: A lesson of meekness for Christmas
The day of the Christmas program at the Harrington School had arrived.
The drip, drip of the icicles melting and splashing the sidewalk rhythmically touched the consciousness of No. 4 Seastrand girl who had snuggled under her bed-partner, sister Lilly.
As I, Vivy, No. 4, stretched, my feet brushed the ice-cold brick that had been too hot to touch when we climbed in bed last evening. The startling sensation immediately sparked me to wide-awakeness and reality. Gone was the dream of a brilliantly decorated tree with its popcorn strings, red and green paper chains, and the white-haired angel on the top shining in gold and silver.
The bedroom air cracked blue and sharp. Quickly gathering up my clothes, I raced to the kitchen to the encompassing warmth of Old Black, the kitchen range. Mama Seastrand was busy stirring the whole-wheat cereal and placing the bowls on the round, never-ending kitchen table.
Moving Gary and Dickie over so there was room in the oven for my feet, I started to dress.
First came the long-handled underwear with one button missing on the fly in back.
There was too much excitement in the air to worry about reporting a missing button as the recitation that I was to give on the program at school kept going through my mind. I felt that squiggly feeling in my stomach as the thought of having to walk up in front and face the whole school dawned on me.
Mama spoke up saying, "Vivy, let's hear your poem once more so that I'm certain you will know it word for word."
After a minute's silence, "Go on, dear."
"C" is for the Christ child, born upon this day.
"H" is for herald angels in the night.
"R" means our Redeemer.
"I" means, ... "Mama do I have to wear this old pantywaist today? Can't I wear short socks like Edna Fae Firmage wears? The kids laugh at me when I turn around and they see the seams up the back of my stockings where you cut them down from Lilly's old ones," I said.
"Now, Vivy," consoled Mama, "Just move fast and turn around if anyone gets behind you. Go on with the poem."
"S" is for the star that shone so bright.
"Mama, why do you always put the big star with the circle around it and the sign 'Star Flour' right in the middle of our pantywaists? It shows up so much?"
"Well, you wouldn't want it on the side would you? It looks better centered," says Mama, as her critical artist eye checked to make sure that the "star" was centered exactly right over my tummy. "Go on, Vivy."
"T" is for three wise men, they who traveled far.
"M" is for the manger where he lay.
"A" is for all he stands for.
"Mama, please just for this special day, couldn't I please wear Lilly's pair of black satin bloomers instead of these flour-sack ones: I want to look pretty today."
Mama, dipping a thick spoonful of luscious cream from the top of the pan of milk with one hand and smoothing my flyaway white hair with the other said, "Honey, if you want to look pretty, never show your bloomers. You should be grateful that Papa can afford to bring home flour to eat and sacks to sew with. Some day you will look back on the year 1930 and be grateful that we didn't have to stand in lines to get food like most people are doing. Besides, 'Pride goeth before a fall' and Jesus said: 'The meek shall inherit the earth.'"
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