Tuesday, March 11, 2014

silent stars

"Do you think it's all there?" I asked, fingering the tattered box.
"Oh, I'm sure it is," she said, nodding decisively.
The box was taped shut with two kinds of tape and had elastic bands securing it too, a sort of thrifter's Fort Knox.
I hesitated and then took a leap of faith.

When I was a little girl we had a wonderful lithographed cardboard nativity. It came folded in a box and could be set up, magically it seemed, into the entire Christmas story. There was a hole in the roof behind the cardboard star for a wandering light bulb from the Christmas tree which worked perfectly because we set our Bethlehem story up under the tree.

I've always wished I had a nativity like that.
I've kept my eye out for one over the years but have never been in the right place at the right time.
Until yesterday.
And there it was.
It seemed too good to be true.
Surely pieces would be missing or damaged.
I hastened home.
I placed the box gently on my dining table.
I unstretched the elastic bands.
I eased off the tape.
Both kinds.
I lifted the lid.
Oh goodness.
There it was.
It looked pristine, the colors fresh and bright.
Reverently, I removed piece after piece after piece after... wait...
Was it possible?
Yes, there were two sets. Two complete sets.
Well, not quite complete. One set was missing the star and one stand-up litho'd piece, a problem easily solved with a color photocopier I bet.
Oh little town of Bethlehem how still we see thee lie.
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.

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