The C-C-Choir Boy....A Christmas Story

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Our family loves Christmas stories. When the cold months roll around, we love to dust off the covers of our Christmas story books and read aloud a few of our favorites. We thought we'd share one with you. Hope you enjoy!

The C-C-Choir Boy
By Fred Bauer
Everyone was surprised- everyone except Mrs. Brown, the choir director—when Herbie showed up in November to rehearse for the church’s annual Christmas cantata.
Mrs. Brown wasn’t surprised because she had persuaded Herbie to “at least try.” That was an accomplishment, for lately he had quit trying nearly everything—reciting in class, playing ball or even asking his brothers or sisters to pass the potatoes.
It was easy to understand: He stuttered. Not just a little, either, and sometimes when his tongue spun on a word, like a car on ice, the kids laughed. Not a big ha-ha laugh, but you can tell when people are laughing at you even if you’re only nine.
Mrs. Brown had figured Herbie could sing with the other tenors—Charley and Billy—and not have any trouble, which is exactly the way it worked. Billy was given the only boy’s solo and the rest of the time the three of them sang in unison, until Charley contracted the measles. Even so, Billy had a strong voice and Herbie knew he could follow him.
At 7:15, the night of the cantata, a scrubbed and combed Herbie arrived at church, wearing a white shirt, a new blue and yellow bow tie and his only suit, a brown one with high-water pant legs. Mrs. Brown was waiting for him at the door.
“Billy is home in bed with the flu,” she said. “You’ll have to sing the solo.” Herbie’s thin face grew pale.
“I c-c-can’t,” he answered.
“We need you,” Mrs. Brown insisted.
It was unfair. He wouldn’t do it. She couldn’t make him. All of these thoughts tumbled through Herbies mind until Mrs. Brown told him this:
“Herbie, I know you can do this—with God’s help. Across from the choir loft is a stained-glass window showing the manger scene. When you sing the solo, I want you to sing it only to the Baby Jesus. Forget that there is anyone else present. Don’t even glance at the audience.” She looked at her watch. It was time for the program to begin.
“Will you do it?”
Herbie studied his shoes.
“I’ll t-t-try,” he finally answered in a whisper.
A long 20 minutes later, it came time for Herbie’s solo. Intently, he studied the stained-glass window. Mrs. Brown nodded, and he opened his mouth, but at that exact instant someone in the congregation coughed.
“H-H-Hallelujah,” he stammered. Mrs. Brown stopped playing and started over. Again Herbie fixed his eyes on the Christ Child. Again he sang.
“Hallelujah, the Lord is born,” his voice rang out, clear and confident. And the rest of his solo was just as perfect.
After the program, Herbie slipped into his coat and darted out the back door—so fast that Mrs. Brown had to run to catch him. From the top of the steps, she called, “Herbie, you were wonderful. Merry Christmas.”
“Merry Christmas to you, Mrs. Brown,” he shouted back. Then turning, he raced off into the night through ankle-deep snow—with-out boots. But then he didn’t really need them. His feet weren’t touching the ground.
The End

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