Sunday, March 16, 2008

Someone's Been Sleeping in My Trough

Excitement welled within him as Warren waited. He had never performed in a big play before. He wasn't nervous, just excited. He had the best role of the night. Nobody could perform like he could. He would be superb!

The kids at Washington Elementary School, in Ponca City, Oklahoma, took turns performing at the school assembly each Friday. Every class would take a turn performing some play or story for the rest of the school. Finally, it was time for Mrs. Smith's first grade class to perform, and they would be doing Goldilocks and the Three Bears. This was a story that everyone in Warren's class loved. They all knew it well.

The morning of the big performance, Mrs. Smith was trying to finish the last of her lessons, but the children had no attention for math or reading. Finally, it was time to get ready for the performance. The class was excused a few minutes early to get ready for the assembly. The first graders rushed exuberantly, in the way only first graders can, to the room behind the auditorium to get into their costumes.

Warren was going to be Baby Bear this day--obviously, the best role. His Mom and Dad would be so proud of him! He started putting on his costume with all the other kids. Mrs. Smith frantically coordinated the setup before the play, herding kids into their costumes and making sure everyone was ready.

Warren was ready. He had flown through the dress rehearsal the day before. He knew all his lines and much of everyone else's. He had gotten a good night's sleep, and as he stood, waiting for the play to begin in the big auditorium, he was confident, not scared.

As he finished donning his costume, disaster struck. Where was the Baby Bear mask? Warren began to panic. Where could that mask be? He searched everywhere. No mask.

Oh, God, how could he go on stage without his Baby Bear mask? The play would be ruined. Oh, he just had to find that mask!

He ran up to Mrs. Smith, already busy with other kids. "Mrs. Smith, I can't find my mask!"

Mrs. Smith sighed that little sigh that all first grade teachers possess--a sigh of patience being stretched to its breaking point. She immediately joined the search for the mask. But no mask would be found.

Finally, being the great educator that she was, Mrs. Smith said, "Warren, you can wear the pig mask instead."

"Oh, no! That won't be right!" thought Warren. He was devastated. All his preparation was for nothing. Nothing! Didn't Mrs. Smith know that people could tell the difference between a Baby Bear and a Pig?!

But there was no alternative, and the play was about to begin. At least his face would be hidden by the mask, saving him immortal embarrassment. The thought that no one would know that it was Warren playing Baby Bear Pig got him through the morning.

Finally, the play ended, and Mrs. Smith lined all the children up on the stage, before the entire student body at Washington Elementary. Then, the most devastating words--Mrs. Smith said, "Everyone, take off your masks and take a bow!"

Warren never enjoyed Goldilocks and the Three Bears after this.

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