Issue 12 – December 7, 2012

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Issue 12 – December 7, 2012

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The Spirit of the Season

Who has read the book, “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”, by Barbara Robinson? It was published in 1972, 80 pages and can be read in under an hour. I started reading it to my children around Christmas time when they were in middle school, which was probably a mistake because my daughter Inie took great pleasure in emulating any fictional character that fit her purpose.

The story is about a family of children called the Herdmans, the absolute worst kids in the history of the world – Ralph, Imogene, Leroy, Claude, Ollie and Gladys. They lied and stole and smoked cigars (even the girls) and talked dirty and hit little kids and cussed their teachers and took the name of the Lord in vain and set fire to Fred Shoemaker’s toolhouse.

It was said that their father left town on a midnight train, never to return and that their mother worked two shifts at the shoe factory because she couldn’t stay at home with all six of them at one time. They were the terror of elementary school, one after another, from the first to the sixth grade.

The narrator’s brother, Charlie, makes the fatal mistake of telling Leroy Herdman that he gets cake and candy every Sunday at Sunday school and this brings all six Herdmans to the Presbyterian church on the following Sunday.

One thing leads to another and before you know it, the Herdmans have taken over the key roles in the Christmas Pageant. Ralph is Joseph, Imogene is Mary, Gladys is the Angle of the Lord and Leroy, Ollie, and Claude are the three wise men. And everybody in the church goes bananas.

The revelation comes at the end of the pageant when everyone was waiting for the Herdmans to do something absolutely unexpected and they did. The Mother of Jesus, Imogene Herdman, was crying. In the candlelight her face was all shiny with tears and she just didn’t bother to wipe them away. She just sat there … awful old Imogene … in her crookedy veil, crying and crying and crying.

You’ll be crying too because the story brings to life the meaning of Christmas. So, download it to your Kindle for under $6.00 and spend an hour with the grandkids getting into the sprit of the season.

Happy Holidays from Historic Tarboro.


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Happy Holidays,

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