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Opinion >  Column

The Slice: ‘Mary’ Christmas play for some, but not others

Slice readers told about being in Christmas plays once upon a time.

“I wanted to be Mary, but I was picked to be a flockless shepherd in the Christmas Nativity at school,” wrote Pam Pierson. “I think it was fifth grade. There were about five of us who were dressed in robes watching our flocks by night, but we had no sheep. They must have exited stage right.”

When Mary Kay Jones was about 7 or 8, she played an angel. “I got the hiccups. They were not subtle, quiet hiccups. No, they were hearty, loud hiccups. I was mortified and embarrassed. Then the audience laughed. I hiccupped again and the audience laughed harder.”

Deborah Dann played Mary in a fifth-grade production. “I was determined to be the best Mary the school had ever seen.”

So there she was, dressed in a baby blue sheet for a robe, gazing lovingly at the plastic doll in the manger. Then another kid in the production fainted and fell on Dann. “I don’t remember being worried about him,” she said.

She was more concerned about how that boy conking out would detract from her performance.

As a senior at a Catholic boarding school, Elaine Bartlett played Mary. “With such reverence that the young postulants and novices said I was so convincing that they cried.”

The older nuns who ran the school, including some who had known Bartlett since she was 10, “Were not taken in by my holiness.”

In 1948, when he was 13, Bill Tracy played Joseph in a pageant in Saudi Arabia featuring children of American oil company employees. The play included live goats and a donkey that carried Mary to the stable.

Mary Ann Barney remembers when some singing angels couldn’t stop laughing when they discovered the baby doll had been replaced by a 100-watt bulb.

Today’s misheard Christmas lyric: Jeff Watson’s 4-year-old daughter was singing “Feliz La-Dee-Da.”

See the lights: Thanks to all who expressed interest in riding along with my family to look at outdoor holiday displays. As of this writing, my plan is to be joined by two widowed sisters in their 90s.

Today’s Slice question: Are you OK with “thank you” emails? Texts? Tweets?

Write The Slice at P. O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email pault@spokesman.com. The 2011 poinsettia I have written about thrives.

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