Thursday, December 19, 2013

Life's Rich Pageant

Botticelli's Mystic Nativity (above) it was not.  Every year my cousins and I put on a nativity scene on the landing of my grandparents staircase, not because we were particularly religious. But because we had an eye for spectacle. From early ages we put on plays: What If The Titanic Hadn't Sunk? and Sherlock Holmes AND Sherlock Holmes, so titled because my next youngest cousin and I couldn't agree on who would be the lead.

What was the Nativity but another play? One we could enlist my grandfather's big sweet yellow lab in, too, to play an ass?

My sister was always Jesus.  She curled herself up like a fetus and didn't mind being half zippered into a green pleather suitcase. That was our manger.

I tell this to my kids, and because they are hams to the core, they are so excited to change the words from the boring and indeciferable Away In A Manger, to the much more arresting, At The Bottom Of The Stairs In A Suitcase.