Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Christmas (Insert Object Here)

It's that time of year again. The time when everywhere you look you see books titled "The Christmas (Insert Object Here)". Some of you may remember my mentioning this last year, and I am afraid it has only seemed to get worse this year.
Don't get me wrong, I am not a Scrooge when it comes to "The Christmas (Insert Object Here) books - in fact there are a fair few that I really enjoy (ie: The Christmas Jars, The Christmas Sweater, The Christmas Box) I just wish that they would come up with a more creative name.
That having been said, it is time for my own little "The Christmas (Insert Object Here)" story.

The Christmas Song
Malori Jo Saline

"This year our class is in charge of the manger scene for the Christmas Concert! This is a huge responsibility and I know you will all do great!! I will assign parts on Wednesday."
Mrs. Sneebs' sixth grade class could hardly contain their excitement! Every year the manger scene is rotated between the five, sixth grade classrooms, so this opportunity only came around every five years! The manger scene was the center of the Christmas Concert. All of the other sixth graders only got to sing in the choir wearing blue jeans and red and green turtlenecks, but the manger scene kids got to dress up in elaborate costumes made by the PTO and they had lines, and some of them even got to sing solos! This was a big deal!

At recess the playground was buzzing with talk of who would be given what part. Only three kids could be wise men (naturally) and they got to sing "We Three Kings" all by themselves. They had the fanciest costumes, so that was a pretty great part. Then there was the Angel, who got to stand on top of the manger and wear really pretty wings and a halo that really lit up! Baby Jesus was always played by a Cabbage Patch Doll dressed in swaddling clothes. Then there were the Shepherds and Animals, played by all the kids who didn't get picked for the major parts. It wasn't bad to be chosen as an animal, the cows and horses got to have two people (one for the head and one for the rump) and all of the animals got to wear cool face paint.
The big parts were, of course, Mary and Joseph. These parts were always given to the smartest and most well behaved and liked of the class. It had to be that way, because if no one liked Mary and Joseph...well, it wouldn't be very good.

Nobody was really sure who would be selected to play which part, but there was one part they were sure of...the pig. Naturally the part of the pig would be played by Ann McPherson.
You see, Ann was quiet and awkward. She was very small with a mousy face. Her hair always hung in her eyes and her clothes were always two sizes too big. She never ate lunch with everyone else - she always sat in the corner with her book and half a peanut butter and cheese sandwich. Not only that, but Ann had a smell about her. It wasn't a terrible odor, but not something you wanted to accidentally rub off if you spent too much time with her. She was the perfect choice for the pig.

Sarah Hamilton was sure she was going to be given the part of Mary. After all, she had straight A's, had never had her name written on the board for bad behavior, was friends with pretty much everybody, and was very pretty. Not to mention the fact that her singing voice was much better than everybody else's. Nobody would be able to sing "Mary's Lullaby" quite like her.

On Wednesday Mrs. Sneebs' class sat in their desks anxiously waiting to find out who had been chosen to play which parts. Finally Mrs. Sneebs walked to the front of the room followed by Mr. Parkins, the principal, and Mr. Delphi, the choir teacher. Mrs. Sneebs unfolded her reading glasses and set them on the very tip of her nose so she could see both the paper she was now holding up and her class, and she began to read, "The parts of the Wise Men will be played by Mike Bell, Sammy Mackintosh, and Billy Reed..."
Mike, Sammy and Billy all did "air high fives" while everyone in the class patted them on the back and murmured their congratulations.
"The parts of the Shepherds will be played by Frank Rosenthal, Margaret Southerland, Daniel Howards......."
One by one Mrs. Sneebs read the list...Millie and Bobby had been chosen as sheep, Victor and Dave had been chosen to be a camel while Howie and Josh were chosen as the cow.
Now it was down to the final three roles - Mary, Joseph and the Angel.
"The roll of Joseph will be played by Jimmy Benson. The roll of the Angel will be played by Sarah Hamilton, and finally, the roll of Mary will be played by Ann McPherson."
"WHAT!?" Sarah jumped out of her chair in astonishment. How could Ann get the part of Mary? Ann was terrible for the part, she was so.....strange!!

Sarah tried to talk to Mrs. Sneebs about what was obviously a huge misunderstanding, but to no avail. Mrs. Sneebs said that the choice was made and she needed to be happy with the part she was given.

That afternoon Sarah was walking home with her best friend Brittany (who was given the part of a sheep, which she was happy about because she hated being in the spotlight - that's why she could be such good friends with Sarah) and she was explaining why Ann should not have the part and she should, "I mean, look at me and look at her! Besides, have you ever heard her sing? No you haven't because she it too quiet. She never talks to anyone! She doesn't have friends, she doesn't fit the part!!"
Brittany let Sarah continue to talk during their walk home and when they arrived at Brittany's house she asked if Sarah wanted to come in and watch the newest video from their favorite band.
Sarah explained that she couldn't, "I have to go to the stupid Soup Kitchen with my parents. The other night Oprah was saying that parents should teach their kids to be more active in the community, so my mom decided this was the way to do it. I will call you when I get home though."
They said their goodbyes and Sarah walked to the corner of the street to her house.

"Sarah, you can stand here and hand out the biscuits. Just one per person at first, we need to make sure we have enough to go around."
Sarah grudgingly took the tongs and stood in her assigned spot behind the giant glass sneeze guard. If her friends saw her now she would never hear the end of it. She was wearing a plastic apron, giant plastic gloves, and to top it all off, a hair net!! She looked like the lunch lady at school!
One by one people started walking through the line and one by one Sarah set a biscuit down on their tray next to their bowl of hot chicken noodle soup.
The people looked tired, like they hadn't had a good night's sleep in a long time, and their clothes looked worn. Sarah had never seen any of them before and she wondered where all of these people lived.
A young girl walked through the line behind her mother with her head down. Sarah set the biscuit on her tray.
"Say thank you." The girl's mother encouraged in a tender voice.
Just then, the girl looked up a little, a small thank you came out of her mouth, and she quickly walked off to join her family.
Sarah stood frozen. That little girl was Ann.

Sarah finished serving, all the while watching Ann eating her soup as though it was the best food she had ever tasted.
After she had pulled off all of her plastic gear, Sarah and her parents got in the car to go home to their nice warm beds.
"Sarah, you seem awfully quiet, are you alright?" Dad asked sounding concerned.
Sarah thought about it for a minute, "Dad, those people, they need a lot of help right?"
Dad nodded.
"Well, there was a girl from my class there, and I was thinking, if they can't afford food, the probably can't afford Christmas present either."
Again, Dad just nodded.
"Well...." Sarah seemed to hesitate for just a minute "Dad, would you mind if I gave Ann the presents you were planning on giving me? I mean, I'm grateful for them and everything, but I already have a lot of stuff, and Ann doesn't have anything."
Dad and Mom looked at each other and finally Mom said, "Sarah, it is your choice what you want to do with your Christmas present, but you need to know, if you give Ann all of your gifts, we won't be able to afford to get you anything else. You won't have anything for Christmas."
Sarah thought about this for a moment and then she looked at Mom and Dad with resolution and said, "That's ok, she needs Christmas more than I do."

The night of the Christmas Concert, Sarah was ready early and rushing her parents out the door, "Come on, we need to get to Ann's house before she leaves, Hurry!"

Sarah arrived at a small house located at the end of a dark road. The house had not lights. It didn't have a Christmas wreath hanging on the door. There was no sign of Christmas anywhere. Sarah knocked and waited.
Slowly the door opened and there stood Ann in her Mary costume. She looked as though she had been crying.
"Hi Ann, we have a surprise for you! Can we come in?"
Ann nodded looking very confused and opened the door wide. Sarah walked in and gestured to the car. Ann looked to see what Sarah was doing when she saw Sarah's mom walk up the steps carrying a box filled with brightly wrapped gifts. Then she saw Sarah's dad walk up with a freshly cut and already decorated Christmas tree. He set it down in the living room, plugged it in and suddenly the house was filled with a warm light.
Ann's mom heard the noise and came down the stairs to find Sarah stacking the gifts under the tree and Sara's mom and dad unloading the making of a Christmas feast on the table.
"Oh look at what time it is, Ann we need to get going we will be late for the concert!"
Ann just looked at Sarah, tears in her eyes, and again she just nodded.

The Christmas Concert was going great. The choir sounded wonderful, the Wise Men were a little off key, and the Shepherds and Sarah did a great job with their song.
Finally it was time for "Mary's Lullaby" and everyone looked at Ann as the music began.
Ann started off very soft, you could barely hear her, but as the song went on her voice grew. She held the Cabbage Patch Baby Jesus and sang to him. Her voice was filled with gratitude and love. The music seemed to fill the hearts of everyone in the room, but Ann didn't seem to notice any of them. She was singing to her Savior.
When the music ended, Ann slowly lifted the Baby Jesus to her lips and kissed him, and she whispered, "Thank you". Then she looked up at Sarah, who was overwhelmed with tears and she smiled as she had never smiled before.

People still talk about the year Mrs. Sneebs' class was in charge of the Christmas Concert. Never had they felt such a beautiful Christmas Spirit. But no one ever knew what inspired that music. No one ever knew about the Angel's love that inspired Mary's Christmas Song.

So that is my "The Christmas (Insert Object Here) story. I know the punctuation, spelling and grammar aren't great...but I hope you enjoyed it.
Have a Very Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Crazy Life!

Life has been so insane lately and I realized that I haven't posted in practically a million years!! So, here is a brief nutshell of what has been going on in the life of Malori and Jon Saline:

1) Thanksgiving: We went up to Snowflake for Thanksgiving and it was wonderful!! We went to both sides of the family and had amazing dinners at each and I am sure I gained 20 pounds just from turkey and potatoes!! Of course I brought my camera, but I forgot to take any pictures! It was so fun to play with Collin at the Saline's house and to play Apples to Apples with the family! It was fun to watch the parade and play games with them! We had a blast!!
2) Work: Work has been especially insane - but that is how it always is at the end of the semester and right before the holidays. It is like a full moon every day - the kids get a little weird and a little crazy. That on top of getting everything ready for the end of the semester and it makes for some craziness.
3) Finals: Jon is right in the middle of finals. Naturally he is stressed and nervous and very busy with studying and getting his papers done and finishing his projects. Poor guy! Luckily he has already finished his graduation paper and turned it in, so he can check that off of the list and he won't have to do it next semester - his very last semester!! (his graduation date is May 14th!! YAY!!)
4) Getting ready for Christmas: This year both sides of our family are doing homemade gifts for our drawn names. This is such a fun tradition! It requires everyone to really think about that person and spend time on something special and that makes the gifts much more special! It does make for a little bit more work for the holidays, so that does take time -but I wouldn't trade it! I love the tradition!
So, just like everyone I'm sure, we have been running around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to get everything done and trying to be where we need to be and finish everything we need to finish. It sounds like things are out of control, but it is organized chaos and we are enjoying every minute of it! I love the holiday season and I can't wait for Christmas!! My sister is flying in from Florida for a week before Christmas and I am so excited to see her!
This Christmas is going to be awesome!!!!!!!!!