Christmas Pageant in the Pueblo/Headless Baby Jesus.

The baby-Jesus’ head rolled out of the manger when Mary tried picking it up.

Thomas and I were told to get the props for the Christmas Pageant down in the boiler room/ storage area for the ‘ittle day schooo’. Thomas was a little, short, dark brown, lanky, scrawny Indian comedian – feisty as a-little devil working on some crazy antics. They chose two of the wrong kids to get the props. We looked at all the stuff – various gear for the pageant. There we found the three kings and all the boxes of sheperd gear, with 20 or so crooked sticks and some stuffed, cross – eyed sheep. We pulled out the manger and the white ceramic baby Jesus blond hair was frozen in the box. When we pulled, OOPS! his head flew off and cracked into a thousand pieces on the concrete. Damn! Thomas whispered a front toothless “DAMN, what now?” We looked in other boxes and found a black plastic baby doll, and so we pulled his head off and tried to fit it onto the ceramic baby Jesus, with no luck…”DAMN” he sneered “Just wrap him up in the shawl” he said.

8 Chris-mah Thoo-thee’s (Oldman Christmases)

Every year before the winter break, we would do a huge Christmas pageant at the day school. Even today many of us talk about the things we remember about the plays we did. The little Pueblo School was amazing in the 70’s and 80’s before Reaganomics destroyed our world. Art, music, P.E. was alive and well.

We even had a full choir and a full blown band playing Christmas tunes. Every class had a certain theme that they would act out. That particular year was a rough winter. Some kind of epidemic Flu virus infested the school. Many times the water pipes froze and so school days were cancelled a few times; however, no mater what was happening, the hard core always showed up at school. Some of  us with just a wind breaker on, and all of us wore Chuck Taylor tennis shoes in any season. Rain, snow or shine, Canvas shoes were the normal foot wear. Since very few families had cars, everyone walked to school, and in the quiet season time, people with cars had to keep them snuggled up in the corrals too.

The so called Flu virus didn’t affect the hard-core reservation kids. We always had some nasal drip but never the Flu. The relentless reservation dogs shake off everything with sage, cedar, coffee, tea. Seems we were immune to everything.

So needless to say, there were more boys than girls that winter season so the teachers were TOTALLY ready to start their vacation soon.

The gym and the big Christmas trees were decorated, and we all had our parts assigned to us. That year I wanted to be one of the three Wise-men. I liked their gold and silver crowns. No luck, they chose the Gomez Cuate’s (twins) cause they were taller than me. They actually chose just one, but what one did the other had to do.

The Mahdtooh (teacher) couldn’t find the other crown so they chose Big, who had a head of hair that stood up and looked like a helmet already. The teachers decorated his head, making it look like a crown.

The next cool costume was the sheep herder’s, but the older kids took those right away pushing us away.

Me and the snot dripping runts inherited the manger animals costumes. The spotted cow went to the half breed, big Joycee Haley. She had to kneel on all fours like a cow. Somebody had painted little udders on the costume and put a Juan G brand on it, “Damn..” Thomas whispered all creepy, “one of Juan G’s cows got loose…” Big Joycee was tough and she pushed Thomas with her butt…he went flying into Mahdtooh who gave him the stripped cat costume. It fit him perfectly, and when he was painted up, he looked like an alley cat. “Meaaaow!” he yelled with a pueblo accent.

Fat Gary from the south side hated Thomas cause Thomas’ dad had an affair with Gary’s grandma Rose or something like that. Pueblo gossip is brutal among kids. It can change like the clouds, and who knows what actually happened. However, Gary and Thomas would fight once a month like clock work. They would meet behind the south-side ash pile, and it would end up with one of them crying all the way home.

The rest of us who were left were sheep; however, we needed a Joseph and Mary. They chose one of the teenager flunkies, who snarled at the teacher when he was chosen. We all got quiet when Mahdtooh called out his name “James!” “You’re gonna be this years Joseph!”

He turned around and looked at the outfit. We saw our little mousy teacher slip him two dollars along with the costume.

“Ok” he said, “Who’s gunna be muh Ver-whan?” (virgin)…Everyone laughed.

Since there were only runts and toughies, there weren’t enough girls to play the part of Mary. “I will be Mary…” said the little Irish teacher…

“No way!” yelled the Flunky, “you’re not a Vergeen..”

“Stop it!” she yelled at us all, “The show must go on..” We knew when she was pissed. It was when her faced turned from pale white to reddish pink. She wasn’t there yet.

So the show did go on…only a little more vicious than what most were used too.

In no particular order, these things happened that night:

Thomas and Gary got in a fight back stage. They gave each other black eyes and bloody noses and tore up their costumes.

Joycee, the cow got the flu on stage and she threw up all over the manger.

The flunky Joseph took his money and never showed up, so I became the Virgin Mary and the mousy Irish Mahdtoo became Joseph.

I picked up the baby Jesus and his head fell out of the shawl. Some of the runts freaked-out and kicked it off the stage into the audience. Everyone saw that it was a black doll’s head and everyone being super, superstitious just nonchalantly kicked it around the gym floor. I just stood there with a ceramic white baby with its head missing.

The twins started laughing and couldn’t stop. One of the sheep herders needed to pee so he peed behind one of the sheep. Another fight started. Big’s helmet hair got flat and drooped around his face.

Finally the teacher’s face got red, then pink, then blue, then she staggered off the stage crying.

In classic pueblo fashion, everyone stood up and clapped for their children and their little traditional pageant that made them all laugh.

Irish Mahdtooh apologized, “Maybe next year it will be better…” she whimpered.

It never got better. Every year there were the tough kids, the fighter kids, the wild ones, and the sensitive ones; however, nothing compares to those crazy kids I grew up with.

Some of them died early. Some of them I see as I take Kona and Masa to school. Now we’re the parents, and the little mousy teacher is still there, guiding our kids through another Christmas pageant.

And in Classic Pueblo style and fashion, we will love the show.



30 thoughts on “Christmas Pageant in the Pueblo/Headless Baby Jesus.”

  1. Good good laughing story! ‘You’ll go down in his-stor-ee
    ‘Thanks for all the smiles this morning!

  2. What a great memory. I closed my eyes and pictured all you kids running amuck. Made me smile. Thank you for your stories.

  3. Thank you, Robert Mirabal. I got home after buying Christmas presents and read this story. I laughed heartily. Sometimes the stories from real life are far more interesting and exciding than the best-thought scenario for a Christmas film. Nice Christmas spirit you’ve had there and in that case, when everything went wrong it turned into a truly magical memory for all of you, which is exactly where the Christmas magic lies.
    Happy Christmas to you and your family and a lot of great memories all through the new year!

  4. This should be a classic Christmas story… had me laughing out loud from the first paragraph. Funny and poignant with a large dose of reality.

  5. Oh my tummy hurts from laughing!! This would make a great movie ! LOL Thanks for sharing, and thankyou for the best laughs and giggles of my day 😀 Merry Christmas to you and yours <3

  6. I am still in tears from laughing so hard, thank you for sharing the memories….. this warmed my heart Robert…… <3

  7. Thank you, again….What fun we all had when we were kids…may not seemed that way at the time…Yet time has her wayof remembering the best of everything….Merry Christmas, Mr. Mirabal and all your family…

  8. Robert,
    Thank you for this story. It made me giggle and smile:) as well as reminding me of my own humble, often-times comical, upbringing in a small, southern new mexico town, small enough that if you blink, you drive right through without seeing the place!
    We all had snotty noses and long tongues . . .:0
    Happy winter memories to you and your family.
    With Kind Regards,

  9. Oh what fun…! Great story! I visualized the whole thing as I stopped to savor your words. Enjoy telling your stories with your family and friends this holiday season. Creat some new ones too! Linda

  10. There are no words I can use
    Because the meaning still leaves for you to choose..
    But Darling, Heaven must have programmed you.

    Now is the time of the Winter Count
    When stories old and new
    are shared among the people
    to bring joy and family strength
    of visions to come.

    Red or Green? Make mine CHRISTMAS!
    Oh, and be sure to give Thomas a warm embrace from me.
    Con mucho amor y tranquilidad,

  11. You really are a great storyteller. I have laughed so much, my face hurts and my spirit is alive. As I read, I could see visions of each one of you, and teacher. I do not know if a film could do this real story. MVTO :D! MERRY CHRISTMAS.

  12. Wonderful story Robert! Maud and I laughed until tears ran down our face. We loved it!
    Thank you!
    Merry Christmas to you, Dawn and the girls.

  13. My goodness, that made my afternoon. Growing up in a military family, you never had the same kids year after year, so I envy your continuity. Blessed holidays for you & yours!

  14. Oh my, I laughed so hard my side hurts! What a great story. Thank you so much for your blogs, they make my day.

  15. Dear Robert,
    My goodness! I just woke up to myself and realized that I’ve been masterminding a plan to steal you away from your wife (as if I could!). I figured the kids could come along.
    What a funny human I am. Anyhoo…after a good cry and a good laugh, I want to apologize to you and your beautiful family. I figure if I was brave enough to come up with such an outrageous plan, I’m humble enough to publicly apologize. What’s one to do in the presence of so much charisma? Oh yeah, behave!
    Missing you already,
    Rita Moya

  16. Robert – That was so funny that I had to share with a friend in NW Florida who doesn’t have a computer over the phone. We did Christmas pageants when I was a kid too in our Catholic school plus we also had a dance recital (ballet & tap) so I got stuck doing one of each every year. As a tomboy I was so graceful that they put me in the back of the scene so when I screwed up – no one would notice much. And we had to sing all those songs which kept the nuns on edge because a lot of us couldn’t sing very well. Yeah those were the days and those stories will bring some much needed laughter to all. I wish you and your family the best for the holidays and the year to come. Thanks for the memories, my friend.

  17. Storytelling is an art and you are a Master of the art. You tell stories from all levels of emotion through many types of expression and this one you nailed in providing the “smiles/laugh till you cry” response. What a wonderful Christmas gift! Thank you and a “merry” Christmas to you and all your Pueblo family.

  18. Thank you Robert! You have great courage to let all these stories hang out there for all to see. Blessings of the Great Spirit to you & yours.


  19. LOL what a wonderful story.. i was laughing so much… thank you for bringing some joy to my end of year time.. often it is alone time for me and rather sad…min a time when everyone is about family i am alone… but this little tale gave me reason to smile.. and some how made it all better… so from me to you huge hugs to you and yours…

  20. Dec. 29, 2013. Christmas holidays start and it is like one day runs into the next. Thoroughly enjoyed your story as well as the Blue Corn Muffins I made from the mix and recipe bought from your store! My dr./ vet did also! Your story reminds me of the plays that our school put on. Had not thought about those memories for some time.

    Back in the early days of Brevard nka as the “Space Coast” when my ancestors navigated from Georgia there were no homes on the beach and no fancy causeways to cross the big Indian River to Highway A1A running next to the Atlantic Ocean coast line. Before that the Seminole Indians habitated here and a few early pioneer white and black settlers, way before the Latin population began to migrate to the many south shores of FL.

    Every Christmas when the family can get together I pull out old photos of the past and we chuckle (many of them being black & whites). My now deceased Father (who by the way is a local historian) who did not come here till 1956 with my mom and us kids was very good in drama class and all forms of art including “Writing”. He authored and published history books on Cape Canaveral nka as Cape Kennedy and the Apollo Program selling his books around the world. I may have mentioned this before in replys to your own writings so forgive me if I have. JUST SO DAMN PROUD. His dying at 53 in 1986 still haunts me. I proudly wear his gold medals on a gold chain (when not wearing my silver and turquoise). I have his works of art, his books; old videos and photos that make all of us laugh and cry.

    It has been my experience that anyone who has this beautiful trait of being CREATIVE, no matter what form of art or exercise including horse showing or rodeo; it seems to be a common theme that things will go wrong and chaos will break out. Once the event is over though everyone always sits back with a sigh and a smile with the same thought “Well we done good right?” A nod of heads are then the only comment at the time.

    I am so glad I saved all the watercolors and charcoals and sketches that my kids did over their younger years. I now wonder what our Grandkids and their children will have in this “fandangled” country of ours that not only wants to tell us how to learn yet tells us more and more what we must do. Of course this is strictly my opinion and I do not push it on anyone.

    Hoping each New Year gives us more hope than the year before. It has never been in our family to ever ever give up on our dreams or talents! Sherry

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