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Friday, August 10, 2012

A School Carol

This summer we had our very own theater production! We spent a few days perfecting our script and trying to make the characters come alive. The kids worked really hard on this, and we came up with, what I think is, an award winning story. I don't know why, but I am always surprised with my children's creativity. They have such unique ideas, and I love being a part of it.

Once our script was written and mastered, we practiced over and over again to get the scenes right, and to make sure our shadow puppet theater would be a success. You would be surprised how hard it is to switch scenes and characters while holding the script in your hand. We didn't have enough time to memorize our lines, and the show was rather long. It takes us about 15 minutes to get through it all.

The fun part was inviting all our family and friends over to watch. Each of the kids were blessed with a friend to perform for. This made it so much fun! We turned the lights out, invited our friends to grab a chair, and sit back for our family's production of A School Carol, written by Amanda, Ariel, Gabriel, and Allison (a friend of my daughter.)

We may not be able to perform the play live for you, but you can still enjoy the story here! Unfortunately, it just won't be the same. It was so much fun to hear the kid use expression in their lines. Even Zechariah got into his part as Chicken Cooper!

A School Carol: The Story of Billy Burden shadow puppet theater
(The cast pictured above: Chicken Cooper - Zechariah,
Jacob Hawkley - Ariel, and Billy Burden - Gabriel) 

Once on a hot summer day, Billy Burden was hobbling along his seed paper route. He chucked a walnut at Chicken Cooper. Chicken Cooper was an apprentice to a nest builder. He was carrying a very delicate hummingbird’s nest and dropped it.

Chicken Cooper said, “Why did you do that?”

Billy Burden was a bully and answered back, “Because you always act like a chicken pooper. Bawk. Bawk. Bawk. Bawk.”

Later that night, in Billy’s room, he was reading a magazine and dropped off into a deep sleep. He was awoken by a sound similar to tree branches clinking together. Before him stood Jacob Hawkley his old classmate.

“Jacob Hawkley? Is that really you? Where have you been?”

“I’ve been in Juvenile detention for the past 3 years. I used to be a bully with you at Talon Academy, but now I feel so small. I am brutally picked on and beat up every day. I’ve seen stabbings and drug addictions. I’ve had things done to me that you wouldn’t want to see even in your worst nightmare.”

“Why, Jacob? Why did they send you there? What did you do that was so terrible?”

“I bullied kids. I stole lunch money, copied homework, and gave kids swirlies and wedgies. But watch out! You have done much worse, Billy Burden! Soon they are going to catch up with you! And you’re going to pay the price in Juvenile Detention!!!”

“What must I do, Jacob Hawkley?”

“You will be called on by the trinity. Without their visits you cannot hope to skip out of prison. In fact, your fate will be much worse than mine. “

Billy Burden fell into a restless sleep. Lightening flashed, fireflies flickered, and Billy’s bedroom door was flung open. Light flooded the room when God the Father floated in.

“Billy Burden, come forth! Chicken Cooper’s prayers have been answered. I am God the Father, and I will take you to the years of school past.”

“Who’s past? Jacob Hawkley’s past?”

“No, Billy. Your past!”

They immediately were transported six years ago, when Billy was a young kindergartener.

He saw a young Billy Burden playing on the playground. He was swinging with Chicken Cooper his best feathered friend. They were happy. The sky was blue. The clouds were white and puffy. Suddenly Jacob Hawkley pushed Chicken Cooper off of the swing. Chicken Cooper began to cry. Billy ran to help Chicken Cooper brush the rubble off his poor scraped knees. He gallantly carried Chicken Cooper to the nurse and gave Jacob Hawkley the evil eye.

Light flashed and the seasons changed. There was now snow on the ground. Billy Burden was curled in a ball, holding his wing, crying. Chicken Cooper had accidentally knocked Billy off the top of the slide. Billy’s wing was broken. Chicken Cooper tried to apologize, but Billy wouldn’t listen. His arm hurt too much. Jacob Hawkley swooped in and grabbed Billy with his talons. He flew him to the school nurse.

The school nurse was surprised that Jacob would take an interest in helping someone out. She told Billy sadly, “You may never fly again. Your wing is hurt beyond repair.”

A young Billy said,” That dumb Chicken Pooper!!! I’m never speaking to him again!! He has betrayed me. I will never forgive him for what he’s done.”

“God the Father, take me back! Convict me no longer. This is too painful.”

Billy Burden was back in his bed.

Awakened in the middle of a loud snore, Billy heard a bell toll outside his window. He ran to see what it could be. As he looked out the window he noticed a church with a cross on top. Right before his eyes he saw a man attached to the cross. Suddenly the man flew off the cross toward Billy’s window.

“Billy Burden, I am God the Son, and I have come to show you things.”

“I have learned from God the Father, and I will learn from you too. Lead on, God the Son.”

Chicken Cooper’s house appeared before them and God the Son flew Billy in through the window. Together they crossed through a secret hole in Chicken Cooper’s closet which led up to the attic. Chicken Cooper was weeping.

“Why did this have to happen? How could Billy do this to me? He used to be my best feathered friend. My BFF. Billy chucked that walnut at me and broke the nest I was carrying for the Ruby, Queen of the hummingbirds. I was FIRED! Ohh why??? I worked so hard to get that job!”

Chicken Cooper began to pluck out his wing feathers. “Why does Billy hate me so? I never meant to hurt him. I have tried so hard to make it up to him, and he won’t listen. He always picks on me.“

At this point, Billy Burden was starting to feel really horrible. He remembered all the mysterious spy meetings that had taken place in Chicken Cooper's attic. They used to solve mysteries together and spy on their parents. Many fun times were had in that attic. It pained Billy to see the attic being used for a place of torture. The attic was special to him.

“Chicken Cooper, I’m sorry. I forgot about all the fun times we had together. You were a good friend to me.”

God the Son reminded Billy, “Chicken Cooper cannot hear you. He believes he is alone in this attic.”

“I didn’t mean for him to lose his job. I was just messing around with him. All those times I chucked a walnut at him. Jacob told me it was harmless. He said we were just having fun and the other birds would understand. I thought it was funny when the nest broke. I didn’t know it belonged to a Queen.”

“Why does it matter who the nest belongs to? Aren’t all birds worth the same thing to God?”

Billy turned around just as God the Son disappeared. A dense fog filled the room. Billy could see nothing. As the mist lifted, he found himself outside of Talon Academy his old elementary school. A shadowy figure appeared and pointed towards the school playground.

“Are you, God the Holy Spirit?”

The Spirit nodded.

The students were gathering under the slide, the place where all the gossip happened. They seemed to be discussing an individual.

“I heard he murdered somebody!”

“I heard he broke into the principal’s office and stole all the millet seed reserved for outstanding students.”

“Well, I heard he kicked one of his teachers, which put her into the hospital.”

“Oh yeah?”

“I heard he did all of that, AND he burned all of the library books in the high school!”

“Did you know he used to be a student here?”


Billy asked, “God the Holy Spirit, who are they talking about? Is it Jacob Hawkley, my old pal?” The fog surrounded them both and suddenly before him appeared the Juvenile Detention Center. It was filled with hawks and falcons; every evil bird who had ever been kicked out of elementary school.

A fight broke out on the basketball courts in Juvenile Detention. Two birds were tearing each other up. The sky was filled with white as feathers flew. Billy Burden couldn’t get a good look at who the birds were. Suddenly, all the noises were silenced. Every bird took a step forward, and tried to see who the victim was. Death was in the air.

“God the Holy Spirit, tell me, who were those two birds? What happened there?” The police came and cuffed one of the birds taking him to prison, while the other remained injured on the court. The crowd disbursed, and in the middle of the basketball court in Juvenile Detention laid Billy Burden’s old pal Jacob Hawkley.

“Holy Spirit, who did this to Jacob? Who could do such a thing?”

With a sad silence, God the Holy Spirit, pointed to a case file lying on the bench next to Billy.

“Before I look at that case file, tell me one thing, are these the things that must happen? Or the things that might happen?"

Still, the Holy Spirit pointed downward at the case file.

Billy Burden, terrified at what name he might read, crept forward slowly following the Holy Spirit’s finger.

He opened the case file, stamped in big red letters, Sentenced to Prison, and read his own name, BILLY BURDEN.

“No! It couldn’t be! I will change, Holy Spirit. I will be different. I will forgive Chicken Cooper. I will treat everyone with respect and kindness. Please say it isn’t so.”

Police siren’s filled Billy’s ears. “I will change. I will change.” He grabbed God the Holy Spirit’s fingertips, but soon found he was grasping his alarm clock which was buzzing loudly.

“I will be different. I will live in the past, present, and future. I have learned my lesson well, and it is time to make amends. First thing, I’m going to have a talk with Chicken Cooper’s boss. He must get his job back!“

Upon arriving at Nest Builder’s Incorporated, Billy Burden approached Mr. Nestly, the owner. “I need to tell you something, sir. Yesterday, I chucked a walnut at Chicken Cooper, which broke the hummingbird’s nest. It was my fault. Please don’t punish Chicken Cooper for my mistake. I will work hard to fix this problem. I will rebuild the nest at no cost to you. Will you be so kind as to give Chicken Cooper his job back?”

“What a fine young bird you are. I appreciate your honesty. Chicken Cooper is lucky to have a friend like you. I will give him back his job at once!”

The next stop for Billy Burden was Chicken Cooper’s house. Mrs. Cooper answered the front door. “It’s been a long time, Billy. How have you been?” she said in a stern voice.

“I’m here to apologize to your son. I have been very wrong in the way that I have been treating him. Will you give me the chance to make things right with Chicken Cooper?”

“Of course, Billy. I always liked you. Chicken Cooper should be in his room right now.”

Billy laughed softly as he knew exactly where Chicken Cooper was.

When he walked into the bedroom, there was no one there. He expected that. Quietly, he pulled open the closet door, and climbed through the hole. He heard the weeping of Chicken Cooper, “How could Billy do this to me?”

“I was being very selfish.” Billy answered.

Chicken Cooper gasped, “How did you get in here? Did you come to torture me more? I already lost my job because of you!”

“I know, Chicken Cooper. I am sorry for all the trouble I’ve caused you. I have been a very naughty bird. Will you forgive me? I will spend the rest of my life trying to make it up to you. I am a changed bird.”

Chicken Cooper hugged him tightly. “I have always prayed for this day to come. Of course, I forgive you. We shall be the best feathered friends again.”

And Billy Burden was better than his word. He became the best feathered friend a bird could ever have. He also went to visit Jacob Hawkley at the Juvenile Detention Center every month. By the end of that next year, Jacob Hawkley was released for good behavior. And the three birds became inseparable.

God bless us, every bird.

"What's the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don't be intimidated by all this bully talk. You're worth more than a million canaries.”
Matthew 10: 29-31

The End

After the show we invited everyone upstairs for some delicious root beer cupcakes made by my daughter. They are very easy to make. You use a white cake mix and substitute the water with root beer pop. For the icing you simply add root beer flavoring to it. Add a cup of nice hot tea and you have yourself a delicious snack!

root beer flavored cupcakes

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