Herald and Journal
Herald & Journal, December 21, 1998

Remember the Christmas piece


Anybody who attended a church elementary school during their youth remembers the Christmas Eve program and the "piece."

Several weeks before Christmas each student got a slip of paper, the contents of which to memorize. Some were long pieces, some short, but all were taken from the Christmas story.

Then, for what seemed like forever (more like two weeks), it was memorize, practice, memorize and practice.

"Talk loud enough, so everybody can hear you," the teacher would say.

Then you had to practice walking up front and he sure you are where you're supposed to be. Tall ones in back, shorties in the front.

Finally, Christmas Eve arrived. Boys all dressed up in white shirts and ties (bow clip-ons were in). Girls in their finest dresses.

There'd be the biggest Christmas tree in the world standing in front of the church. You wondered how they got the decorations way up there. I still wonder.

Finally, time for the program. Time for our group to go up front. We all did a good job. Some needed prompting from the teacher. Then the long wait until the other kids did their stuff and the minister delivered the sermon.

Then, what we all were really waiting for . . . the sacks of candy, nuts and fruit. Candy would include my favorite, chocolate drops with vanilla centers. Fruit would be an apple and orange. Nuts would include peanuts, walnuts and Brazil nuts. You needed a nutcracker to get to the walnuts and Brazil nuts.

Finally, we would head home to see what Santa brought us.

It was always a mystery why he delivered the presents while we were at church. How did he know we're gone?

Life is what happens to you while you're making other plans.

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