Meredith Leigh Knight: The best Christmas pageant ever

Column by MEREDITH LEIGH KNIGHT
Special to The Newnan Times-Herald
My children were in the best Christmas pageant ever, and, no, the Herdman’s weren’t involved (like in Barbara Robinson’s book). 
Although my oldest daughter once played the part of Imogene, the bossy, domineering cigar-smoking sister who casts herself as Mary so well people were afraid to talk to her after the play.
What made this play the best ever was my only part was to sit and watch and take lots of pictures. I didn’t have to lip sync an Elton John song with my children, like I did during the church talent show, or learn to sew by fire backstage, or figure out how to make Styrofoam look like candy, as I have in the past when my daughters were involved in community theater. This year, I got to sit back and be totally amazed at how well they all did.
My daughter played Scrooge Jr. and my son Joseph for the second year in a row. I hope he isn’t being typecast. The kids in the play also spelled out Christmas, which reminded me of a play I was in during the third grade. I was the letter “S,” and repeated my lines over and over in my mind, causing me to almost miss my turn, which is hard to do when you’re the last one. Why I didn’t just write it on the back of my cue card, I’ll never know.
I starred in a lot of plays growing up. I’m not bragging. Back then, the quieter you were, the more likely you were to get a meaty role. And I know my friends now won’t believe it, but I was very shy and quiet in elementary school. So, putting me on stage in front of the entire school body was torturous. I’d had rather been stoned to death — no exaggeration.
The worst part was the plays were usually musicals. And, no surprise to my friends now, I can’t sing. Furthermore, unlike the folks on “American Idol,” I was painfully aware that I couldn’t. The worst was my solo of “When you wish upon star,” dressed like the Fox from “Pinocchio.” You could have heard a pin drop after my performance. That is, until my mom and dad stood up and started cheering.

Looking back, I’m sure experiences like this were supposed to help bring me out of my shell, and maybe they did. Fortunately, my children enjoy the spotlight. And I don’t mind painting sets, curling hair and selling popcorn during intermission -- or standing up in the front row cheering them on. Because the one thing my acting career taught me is your parents are always your biggest fans.

(Thanks, Mom and Dad. Hope you and yours enjoy the holiday season, and, yes, I declare it’s officially begun.)



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