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Christmas used to be tough for me. Once the kids left home, Bob continued to work on Christmas Eve and Christmas, and I was left to my druthers. Sometimes, a newly divorced friend might join me at the movies, but most times I was on my own to ponder the meaning of the universe. Now that the Bride has followed in her dad’s footsteps, she finds herself working on Christmas too. And lucky for me, I get to hang out with the Love Bug in Nashville, my own personal little Christmas elf.IMG_2317

Yesterday, she took me to the most amazing puppet show at the Nashville Public Library. http://www.nashvillescene.com/nashville/john-updikes-a-childs-calendar-at-the-library/Content?oid=1203840

Updike’s A Child’s Calendar is an illustrated collection of twelve poems describing a child’s life as the weather changes and the year goes by. This staging is the brainchild of Brian Hull, the Nashville Library’s director of children’s programming, who transforms Updike’s collection into a musical show populated entirely by child-sized puppets. Hull’s puppet fixation is part of a Nashville tradition dating back to 1938, when longtime library associate Tom Tichenor first began holding marionette shows at the main branch.

The puppeteers are dressed entirely in black while they manipulate an old man puppet and a young boy going through each magical month around a growing tree on stage. Birds fly overhead, and blossoms rain down from the sky. At one point a real boy tried crawling up on stage to catch a blossom, and the puppet motioned him away! The Love Bug danced and watched every move with wonder, her eyes open wide. I wanted to cry, with joy. Because this is one of those things we’ve forgotten as adults. The sheer delight of everyday life as seen through a child’s eyes. Here is what Updike had to say about January:

The river is
A frozen place
Held still beneath
The trees’ black lace.

The sky is low.
The wind is gray.
The radiator
Purrs all day.

Christmas holds hidden delights for everyone with children of a certain age. Some are watching a little elf who appears on a shelf every morning. He helps Santa keep track of every single child, naughty and nice. Some are going to see the Nutcracker for the very first time. And some are attending puppet shows and cuddling with their Nana. Instead of sugar plum fairies, grandparents galore are coming to visit!

Have a very Merry Christmas everyone! And tornado warnings or not, don’t forget that family comes first…and after that an egg nog latte helps. Cheers.

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