And So It Begins…(Part I)

My lovely Bride was on a business trip to California this past week, so on Friday evening, it was my husbandly duty to pick her up at the airport. Fortunately for me, we only live about twenty or so minutes from Dulles International (IAD as we frequent flyers like to call her—the airport, not my wife).

Normally on such an occasion, she would rush home, throw on her jammies, and chill. Not so this Friday. Our 2 ½ year old granddaughter was in her first Christmas program at seven o’clock pm. So, we went home long enough to drop off my spouse’s luggage, take a fast potty break, do a quick wardrobe change, and head off to the school.

The school building (a Lutheran Church) had just been completed recently, so this was their first year. Consequently, it was also their first Christmas program. From what I can discern (and read in the bulletin), it was a musical. I really couldn’t tell from what occurred, but I’m quite certain I heard some music in there somewhere.

Pandemonium Began

It was in an area that appeared to be some sort of multipurpose room. There was no stage, but there were enough chairs arranged in a theater-like style that we all knew something was going to happen in the general direction in which our faces were pointed. Sure enough, some tiny humans emerged from a side door led by several young teachers. Everyone was dressed in red and green (as you might expect) and the pandemonium began.

One enterprising young woman attempted to introduce the event, but I have no clue what she said. It’s not merely that I’m half deaf (too much rock and roll they tell me), but the parents and the little siblings of the performers were making too much noise to make out the emcee’s lilting voice (even though she was shouting). I’m pretty sure this is why they invented microphones, but she didn’t have one.

Typical Church-Goer

The first thing that happened was that everyone in the room with a camera (which, thanks to cell phones, was just about everyone) stood to their feet and began flitting about to get the best shot. Since there was no stage, the wee ones up front were impossible to see.I, like any typical church goer, was seated in the back, so it was even worse for me than most.

They tell me my granddaughter was up there, but you couldn’t prove it by me. In addition to the photographers, half the adults in the audience felt it important to frequently wave to their own special performer (who, in most cases, took the opportunity to violently wave back). Frankly, I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. It was funny and disconcerting all at the same time.

I began to think about the halcyon days of my own early parenthood. I must have been to one or two of these when my boys were little, but I couldn’t dredge up any specific memories of such events. Either I blocked them out of my mind, or we actually treated the events like any other normal audience would—you know…sanely. (To be Continued…)

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently residesin Aldie, VA.]

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