FATHER (Bob Bradley)
Well….actually, I didn’t plan to go. You know how crowded it always is, they can use my seat. I’ll just stay home, put on my bathrobe, relax…There’s never anything different about the Christmas pageant.

MOTHER (Grace Bradley)
I thought it might look like a palm tree…..I see now that it doesn’t…Oh, I don’t have any idea what’s going to happen tonight! We’ve never once gone through the whole thing, and the Herdmans still think it’s some kind of spy story. It may be the first Christmas pageant in history where Joseph and the Wise Men get in a fight and Mary runs away with the baby.

There were six of them…Ralph, Imogene, Leroy, Claude, Ollie, and Gladys …and they went through the Woodrow Wilson School like those South American fish that strip your bones clean. And they went around town the same way—stealing things and tearing things up and whamming kids. So it was hard to get away from them. There was only one safe place.

I’ve got the baby here…Don’t touch him! I named him Jesus! Let go! …..Give it back!….I don’t get to say anything…Some angel tells me what to call the baby…I would have named him Bill.

Charlie: Hey, Leroy, you give me back my lunch!
Leroy: Sure, kid, here.
Charlie: You stole my dessert again!
Leroy: How do you know?
Charlie: Because it isn’t here
Leroy: What was it?
Charlie: Two twinkies
Leroy: That’s right. That’s what it was.
Charlie: Hey, Leroy! You think it’s so great to steal my dessert everyday and you know what? I don’t care if you steal my dessert. I’ll even give you my dessert. I get all the dessert I want in Sunday School.
Leroy: You’re a liar. Who gives it to you?
Charlie: Uh… the minister.
Leroy: Sunday School, huh?

Our cat buried it…Listen, I think I ought to say something besides the baby came. Why would they all get up and tear off after some baby they don’t even know? I ought to tell them it’s Jesus, and I ought to tell them where he is.

Imogene said, “I’m going to be Mary in this play, and if you open your mouth or raise your hand you’ll wish you didn’t.” And I said, “I’m always Mary in the Christmas pageant.” And she said, “go ahead then, and next spring when the pussywillows come out I’ll stick a pussywillow so far down your ear that nobody can reach it…and it’ll sprout there and grow and grow, and you’ll spend the rest of your life with a pussywillow bush growing out of your ear!”

But I do explain about the Wise Men and the shepherds and how important they are And I tell them there are no small parts, only small actors. Remind the angel choir not to stare at the audience, and don’t let them wear earrings and things like that. And don’t let them wear clunky shoes or high heels. I just hope you don’t have too many baby angels, Grace, because they’ll be your biggest problem.

Vera? …Irma Slocum. I just heard that Imogene Herdman is going to be Mary in the Christmas pageant, and I…Is that a fact? All six of them? Vera, I live next door to that outfit and I’d rather live next door to a zoo. Has Grace gone crazy?

Grace…No! I could make up some lie and tell you the baby’s sick or cranky or something, but the truth is that she’s perfectly healthy and happy and beautiful, and we all want her to stay that way. So we’re certainly not going to hand her over to Imogene Herdman. Sorry, Grace.

In the days of Caesar Augustus a decree went out that all the world should be taxed, and Joseph went into Bethlehem with Mary his wife, who was great with child. And while they were there she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.

Well, the whole church is in an uproar. I don’t know…Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me,” but I’m not sure he meant the Herdmans…Grace, don’t you think we should cancel the pageant?