Christmas I remember best: A lesson of meekness for Christmas
This didn't help much, but I knew it was all the answer I'd get.
"S" means shepherds came, and that's why there's a Christmas Day.
I did it, I knew I could.
"Now if you can just remember to stand up straight, smile and look at the audience, everything will be fine," encouraged Mama.
Chewing the everlasting whole wheat and swallowing the last gulp as I walked into the classroom, all of my brave courage vanished.
Smiling weakly at Miss Dunyon I took my place in the third row, fourth seat, behind Edna Fay Firmage, and noticed out of the corner of my eye that Edna Fay had on a new, red-taffeta dress with a ruffled petticoat that showed.
Maybe her bloomers didn't show, but she probably had on silk ones, not ones that were made out of Star Flour sacks. And yes, she did have on short socks, so of course she didn't need a pantywaist with garters attached.
Going through the morning Pledge of Allegiance, the prayer and the song of America was quite an ordeal. The boys and girls were like so many blackbirds wound up ready to fly and scatter at the drop of a hat.
However, my mind was on the poem and the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Would the seams of the stockings show as I walked to the front of the room, maybe if I scrunched down a little so my dress was longer.
All at once Miss Dunyon announced it was time for the Christmas program.
Lora Grant sang a song and Cecil Ray Hansen and Lyle Tregaskis played a trumpet and trombone duet.
Then she announced me: "Vivian Seastrand will now give us a Christmas poem."
Mama's words of encouragement ringing in my ears were the only motivation that got me to my feet: "Breathe deep, walk slowly and smile."
I was so conscious of grinding in the pit of my stomach as I took the necessary steps forward that I failed to recognize the snap of the elastic breaking around the waist of my bloomers.
The next thing I was conscious of was that of lying face down in the aisle with my bloomers around my ankles, dress over my head and the kids all screaming: "She’s got a star on her blooomers. Oh boy, a Christmas star!"
Well, I wanted to die. In fact, dying would be easy. It was a coward's way out and I was willing to take it.
Lying there, not ever again wanting to move, Mama's words kept ringing and ringing in my ears: "We must all be humble, and remember that Jesus said the meek will inherit the earth. ... Pride goeth before a fall."
Miss Dunyon helped me to my reluctant feet, and with one squelching look quieted the class, as she announced that, "Vivian would give her poem after she had helped pass out the Christmas presents."
The thrill and pride of being chosen to do this most important job took all the meekness out of my embarrassed heart. Pride filled me once more and I thought I've had about all the meekness that an 8-year-old can stand. Tomorrow I'll work toward inheriting the earth.
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