A Christmas Story

5

Despite the season of peace and goodwill, the Dowbrigade household has for the past week been enveloped in an acute pre-Christmas crisis.

Nothing as mundane as a cash-flow shortage, or as dramatic as domestic abuse, it was mysterious and disturbing nonetheless. The baby Jesuses were missing.

A bit of background. Among her endearing qualities, which are legion, Norma Yvonne counts a charming attraction for all things miniature, from tiny books with postage-stamp pages, thru weird Barbie paraphernalia, to an impressive menagerie of teeny tiny animals cleverly crafted from a variety of substances by native craftspeople from around the world.

As it happens, one of her prized collections consists of dozens of fiendishly detailed creche scenes from around the world, carved or molded variously from wood, soapstone, ivory, tagua, onyx, brass, teak, marble, tin, glass, paper mache, plastic and rock candy. Every year about two weeks before the big day, when she digs out all the rest of the holiday decorations, the special bells and statures, and candles and wreaths,napkins and tablecloths, hangings and sheets and towels and mugs, the assorted manger scenes go on display, most of them in the living room, but others scattered strategically round the apartment.

For a final touch of realism, Norma refrains from placing in the center of each tiny diorama the figure of baby Jesus, on the theory that "He hasn’t been born yet." Then, early on Christmas morning, she tiptoes around the apartment in her pajamas and meticulously places each devilishly detailed edition of the Christ Child in his respective manger.

So it was with some concern that we noticed our dear wife, a couple of weeks ago, rummaging desperately through the entire flotsam and jetsam collected in our basement during a decade of acquisition and accumulation, like a feral hedgehog rooting for her last nuts and berries after a particularly brutal winter.

"What are you looking for?" we asked.

"My Baby Jesuses are missing!" There was an unsettling edge of panic in her voice. "All of them, except for the ones that are part of the scenes themselves."

"You mean somebody went down the basement, opened every creche you have, and took out all the baby Jesuses? That’s diabolical!"

"No, I did that. I thought that since they represented Jesus himself, they deserve to be stored separately, in a special place. Now I can’t remember where the special place is."

We offered to help her look, but she immediately declined our aid on the grounds that we would only mess things up and confuse her more. She was probably right. We retired to our electronic nest.

Eventually she found them, just in time for their dramatic collective virgin birth, safe and sound, in an old cookie tin wrapped inside a velvet bag in the back of a never used drawer in the antique end table we have converted to a TV stand.

Good thing, since we just found the following article in today’s Boston Globe, about a rash of these Baby Jesus thefts. The Dowbrigade was on the verge of calling the authorities to report a serial Christ Childnapper working the area.

Merry Christmas, everybody.

Rash of Baby Jesus Kidnappings Across Nation

In Chicago, 32 plastic baby Jesus dolls were stolen from Nativity displays set up in people’s front yards. The kidnappers lined up all the dolls along the fence outside a Chicago woman’s home. She turned them over to her parish priest.

Similar creche crimes occurred in at least 35 cities from Fayetteville, N.C., to Mission Viejo, Calif., this year, according to the Catholic League, which tracks Nativity vandalism.

from the Boston Globe

5 Comments

  1. Dowbrigade » Blog Archive » Santa Norma Blesses Us All

    December 25, 2008 @ 12:14 pm

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    […] and loving wife who today was profiled in a feature in the Boston Globe.  This story began as a blog posting on Dowbrigade News two years ago. A few weeks ago, Norma suggested I submit it to the Globe. Her […]

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