My husband and I were driving down back roads of Virginia climbing up to the Shenandoah Mountain range getting to our Thanksgiving party. We passed little antique shops and old run down tractor cemeteries and even stopped at a yard auction just for the heck of it. As we turned left and up to our last climb, my eyes caught sight in the window of a junk store, a piece of my past that I had not remembered for years. I wished we skipped the auction and went back for this! It was a plastic life size nativity where each character lights up. This is a picture of it and even the plastic manger is exactly the same as the one we had when I was a child.
My mom loved Christmas and she gave that gift to me. She would let me stay home from school and help her decorate our flocked tree with red tear drop balls and the rest of the house with garlands and lots and lots of bows. She loved bows!
My most favorite decorations was when we got to prepare the nativities to show. We had two. One was little and cemented in place inside the nativity except for the shepherds, wise men and animals. The other was plastic and life size and went in our front yard under our kitchen window. I got to wash each plastic piece from the grime and bug poops collected in the roof rafters where it slept the rest of the year, while we listened to Harry Belafonte’s, Mary Mary Had a Little Baby. When I hear his CD now, songs still skip in my mind where the record player skipped.
I appointed myself the official Christmas baby sitter for Baby Jesus every year. Mary had to sit there so pretty and serine and Joseph was a bit stiff and uncomfortable stepping in as step-dad status. I worried about baby Jesus the entire season! He had to feel so uncomfortable and cold outside sitting on those plastic slats so each year I would wrap him in towels, place pillows under him, and continually keep watch over this little baby over the entire season. This was a big job for a little girl. Even now as I look at the picture my inclination is to get a blanket for this poor little guy.
Setting up nativities is still very special to me and makes me feel close to my mom.