Little Red Riding Hood & Jingle bells?
Not exactly peanut butter and jelly. The two just don’t have the same
solidarity as salt and pepper. Maybe opposites attract – Abbott and
Costello, Mutt and Jeff? When I consider one or the other, Little Red
Riding Hood and Jingle Bells naturally stay in their own universe.
Little Red Riding Hood, one of the most beloved children’s stories of
all time that chronicles a girl’s temerarious lunchtime delivery to
her bedridden grandmother, doesn’t quite coincide with dashing
through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh.
Yet, the Portuguese don’t allow such minor details to muddle their
holiday theater. Last Tuesday, our little Faithy came home and
proudly declared that she would have to wear the same clothes to
school on Thursday. They were going to perform Red Riding Hood as a
class for the Christmas play. Perhaps it was the combination of a
red, hooded sweater and flowing blond hair that led her teacher to
the epiphany of performing such an act. Perhaps all the other
Christmas themes were taken. Perhaps for her, the story itself
warranted a Christmas adaptation. Nonetheless, Faith, one of only
three non-Portuguese students in the entire school district had just
won the lead role in her class production. No matter that she only
speaks a little Portuguese. She’s photogenic, out-going, and best of
all – she’s got the right costume!
At approximately the same time, our nine-year-old, Brooklyn was being
drafted into singing Jingle Bells, in English during the same
program. Shouldn’t be too difficult for her, thought the music
teacher, she’s one of only three children in the school that speak
English. No matter that she’s shy, easily embarrassed and
conscientious about her height in comparison to her other classmates:
She knows the right language!
So, for the next two days Brooklyn learned, that’s right, learned
Jingle Bells. Maybe it’s sad and she’s been sheltered thus far, but
she’s grown up on Amazing Grace and Glory to His Name, not Santa
Claus is Coming to Town. While she learned Jingle Bells, Faith walked
around and goaded her mother not to forget to wash her red sweater,
and Liberty cried because she was too scared to volunteer for a part
in Riding Hood.
The big day rolled around with great excitement in the missionary
house. As Nina and I arrived at school for the party, I quickly
spotted Brooklyn who looked like she was going to puke from nerves.
Her teacher almost frantically sprinted to me and told me that
Brooklyn had been telling her that they could in no way begin the
program because we weren’t there. With roughly 300 students, parents,
and teachers there, I’m not sure who was more nervous, our kids or their mother.
Despite said nerves, each class marvelously performed their pieces
with Red Riding Hood receiving the most raucous and animated laughter
from children and adults alike and Jingle Bells being performed with
uncanny silence from the audience. The pin drop analogy doesn’t even
do the silence justice. There were smiles all around complete with
whispers and pointed-fingers at the weird Americans. This reviewer
biasely gives the Hood and Bells combo two-thumbs up and five stars,
all the while intently speculating on what will come next year –
Silent Night with the Three Little Pigs?
Written by Michael Andrzejewski for The LaGrange Daily News