Miss Laurie had three strands of hair left when it was finally time for the Children’s Christmas Program. The only thing remaining to be done was Grady and Goober rigging the rope and pulley to drop Gabriel down from the ceiling in the baptistry. Not prone to limiting their creativity to what they had been asked to do, Goober thought it would be much more realistic if Gabriel could come out of the baptistry and make a few loops over the choir loft and around the stage, then drop down to make his announcement to the shepherds face to face.
Sunday night rolled around and everything was set to go. Miss Laurie was down to two strands but satisfied all her hard work was about to produce a memorable evening. The auditorium was full of parents and grandparents. Pastor Jerguson welcomed everyone and shared his delight that Miss Laurie had prepared the kids so well. He invited everyone to stay for the reception in the fellowship hall following the performance. The excitement was electrifying. Miss Laurie sat on the front row surrounded by little brothers and sisters of the cast.
Grady hooked Gabriel to the rig and Goober cranked him up to the ceiling in the baptistry. The extra rope Goober had run through an eyehook above the pulpit was tied around Gabriel’s chest, above his wings. As the plan should go, Goober would lower Gabriel with the first rope then grab the other to let him fly above the set. “Miss Laurie’s gonna really be surprised when she sees this,” was the last thing Goober said to Grady.
“And an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared before them,” the narrator said. That was the que for Gabriel to make his entrance. Goober let him down right on time. Miss Laurie smiled approvingly. Then Grady, standing in the baptistry, grabbed Gabriel by the feet and launched him out over the choir loft.
Goober had miscalculated the time it would take him to switch ropes and the speed at which Gabriel would be flying. He jerked back on the first rope which was attached to the strap holding the wings in place and totally dislocated them. They slid down to Gabriel’s feet and the rope wrapped around his ankle. One of the shepherds squealed, jumped up and grabbed the first rope out of Goober’s hand and started Gabriel spinning.
Seems little Gabriel had an undisclosed issue with motion sickness that kicked in about that same time. He spewed out the remains of seven Christmas cookies, two cups of red punch and half a Dr. Pepper he had had on the way to church. It went all over the shepherds, their fake sheep and Miss Laurie who had gotten up from sitting on the front row, jumped onto the stage and was now trying to grab the hurling angel who remained just out of reach. The little brothers and sisters on the front row looked at the splatter on them and ran screaming to their parents.
Pastor Jerguson shot up the side steps and tried for Gabriel but stepped on a bit of cookie/punch residual and slipped. He landed back first on the manger, crushing little Sally’s Cabbage Patch Doll and breaking the trough into several splintered pieces. Little Sally screamed. Mary and Joseph just looked at him, shaking their heads. Two of the wise men dropped their gifts, began to cry and ran to their parents. The telling of the story of Jesus’ birth was over in record time.
Grady and Goober peeked out from behind the baptistry and saw the ruckus. Miss Laurie, now completely bald, pointed at them, her eyes threatening bodily harm. They thought it best to leave before the reception while Gabriel was still spinning and spewing above the fake sheep grazing in the meadow and Pastor Jerguson was away in the manger.
“Do you think she was surprised?” asked Goober as they trotted off to the truck.