One of my favorite pastimes as a preschooler was to listen to records (LPs…those huge round things you have to put on a turntable, and listen to one side at a time). My mom bought many “spoken word” albums and I would act them out. But at Christmas, she would put stacks of records on the spindle and let them drop one by one…Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis, Robert Goulet. Compilation albums with Diahann Carroll, Perry Como, Eugene Ormandy’s orchestra, Julie Andrews singing “The Bells of Christmas”…
And what did I do while all this glorious music floated over my head? What I remember doing is kneeling…a blanket draped on my head, my hands folded over my heart, I gazed down on a baby doll wrapped in flannel and lying on the red leather camel saddle/hassock my dad brought back from his Navy tour of duty in the Mediterranean.
When I was five, when I could convince Mom to cooperate, I’d kneel by the little seat cradling my conveniently-small baby brother, David. He was four months old, and far too fat to be the newborn King, but he was a live baby and too good a prop to pass up.
I’m sure there must have been more to my role playing than just the endless kneeling…but that’s all I remember. Did I pretend to travel on camel back? Did I “cry” when the inn was full? I’m positive I knew nothing about giving birth, so there was no delivery in my story. I imagine the kings visited from time to time, and we received their gifts with dignity. But what I recall is being on my knees, gazing downward, reverent. A good way to spend some time today.