Kickass, the doorstop dog, listens as the keeper laments that his show biz career peaked out when he did a silly TV commercial for the Chicago Tribune, and was told by labor reps that if he did another one he would have to join the union.
But if there was an ignominious end to his “stage” career, it had a glorious beginning in the one-room country school when the slivery oak planks were dragged out of the school woodshed and set across sawhorses to form a platform stage for the annual Christmas program. Most memorable of these programs was the year that teacher Phil Swan more or less suspended teaching duties around the first of December and went into full scale Christmas program rehearsal. It was a move that incurred criticism from some of the parents when the word got out, but the student body of 25 or so loved it, from Rachel who was a bit hefty and had to watch where she stood on the wobbly planks, to the two little first grade girls who competed to play baby Jesus.
The keeper remembers trying not to get carried away with his identity as one of the three Wise Men; and to this day he can pretty much do a complete version of “We three Kings of Orient Are…..” having rehearsed it endlessly with Alfred Handel and Willard Gonske.
It is yet one more downer of Covid19 that Christmas programs will be curtailed this year, and thousands of bright-eyed little ones will be denied stardom in front of beaming family members. There is, of course, the possibility of doing zoom things, but, according to the keeper, that does not offer the real-life show business opportunity that goes with such things as dragging out oak planks, being cast as a “Wise Man,” and singing “We three kings….” in front of Mom and Dad and the rest of the clan.
Maybe next Christmas!