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March 24, 2016 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Palms up. (No donkey)

inflatable air dancer tube. (Frank Vincentz/

Keep reading. You’ll see the connection.(Frank Vincentz/

All those tall inflatable tubes bobbing in front of businesses probably inspired by my palm waving.

Closer to vaudeville stage than Cathedral, ours was a hands-on church

Lots of kids in pageants acting out Bible stories which naturally resulted in competitive Moms constructing the most elaborate, the most heavenly costumes. Mentioning the “sin of pride”, totally avoided. (And if done right, a two-fer as a Halloween costume.)

Older brother was always one of the chosen ones.

Extremely dependable. Followed directions flawlessly. Tall for his age, he made a perfect “King of Orient Are” at Christmas. I felt such pride as he solemnly carried the gold-sprayed cigar box down the aisle to the manger.

Me, one of the littlest angels (with crooked tinsel halo), was herded out with the clump of others in belted white pillowcases.

Knowing I was generally shy and silent, Dad had whispered he’d give me a special treat if I would sing loud enough to be heard in the back pew.

Will ear-piercingly shreik sing for treats.

They said everyone asked “Who is that little angel singing so loudly?” But I never heard. Too busy belting out the carol and thinking of treats.

Mother was appalled. Brother grimly hoped no one would connect him with me. Dad thought it was hilarious. Hey, all the words were there and in the right order.

Brother grew to dread pageants as much as I loved them.

children in Palm Sunday procession. 1932.(German Federal Archives.Bundesarchiv,Bild 102-13232/

The minister’s wife dreamed of this, not our grubby mob. (Bundesarchiv,Bild 102-13232/

Palm Sunday approached. Would there be a real donkey?

Bets were taken. (Despite the fact that gambling was a “get down on your knees and beg for forgiveness” item.)

Then, excitement spread like lightning. 

One of the church members was a florist. Instead of the usual sticks with green crepe paper fringe that faded in sweaty hands, real palm branches were coming. Frilly fronds would be carried by each child in the congregation up the main aisle and placed in front of the altar before each quietly returned to sit beside their parents.

Oh, the image of a meaningful illustration of The Word. A lesson that would stay with a child forever!

Palm Sunday we lined up in pairs according to height with the tallest closest to the entrance. 

 Moms went down the lines to make sure the Easter shoes were buckled or tied neatly, zippers zipped, and any pastel satin ribbons safely tucked.

Then the exotic emerald palm fronds distributed: the longest fronds to the tallest in the procession. But even those firmly pressed into little hands were giant…or at least as long as a yard stick.

Quiet instructions were given walk proudly and smile as if welcoming Jesus himself way back then. Then the door flew open and the organ music swelled.

The grand march began. Happily, no one tripped or fell down.

woman in fancy hat.1919. Adolf de Meyer (

Women like this never broke a nail helping with pageants. No checking zippers for them. Her kid’s outfits were made by hired seamstresses. No one wanted to sit behind her and her hats.(USPD/

Brother, of course, complained bitterly afterwards. Mom just hurried us to the car. Dad simply asked why I wildly whipped my palm frond to and fro as if attacking a fly waved my frond so, uh, enthusiastically.

“Well,” opening my little colorful illustrated Bible to the Palm Sunday picture, “wanted to do it right,” I said pointing. And there on the page were little children skipping and cheerfully waving fronds in the air in front of the donkey. “They told us to walk and not skip, ” I said seriously. “But that’s OK since there wasn’t a donkey to get out of the way of.”

Brother took to sitting in the back of the church with the older kids. Appreciating “make a joyful noise” at a distance, I guess.

Dad and me, well, we only come for the singing.

And leave our seats empty on holidays for those who only show up then.

More true cathedral is the woods anyway.

Whatever you choose, insist on waves of joy.

Phil the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Speaking of happy hopping outdoors in the open air…(More about the bunnies here.)







  1. shoreacres / Mar 24 2016 7:04 am

    Your memories of those Palm Sundays are great, but that video is perfect. I was a little afraid there was going to be a sad ending, as the music changed, but no — it was just fade to black. Perfect.
    It looks like we have a great weekend coming up, weather-wise. All of those Easter egg hunts will be uninterrupted, even if the eggs are a little dewy.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 24 2016 8:00 am

      Dad and other church members actually did a lot of construction work on that church building – they used to work on weekends and then hurry to get the paint and flooring glue dry enough before services. For some reason I was only allowed to stand at the doorway when mom carried tools or supplies over there…can’t imagine why…I knew how to swing a hammer HA HA
      Could there every be more perfect bunnies? We need a bit of wistful beauty right now. Thanks for hopping by to leave a comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. easyweimaraner / Mar 24 2016 7:06 am

    we saw a palm donkey on sunday… a real one not a wooden donkey … It was like being a kid for a moment as I saw the procession :o)


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 24 2016 7:56 am

      While I was in Spain years ago, there were several processions and holidays. Nothing like a real donkey for the wonder. Paws up for feeling that moment! Thanks for bringing a lovely memory


  3. Kate Crimmins / Mar 24 2016 7:13 am

    OMG! This is hilarious. Loved “Keep reading. You’ll see the connection” caption. There is nothing like a church pageant. I remember one where I wore a white crepe paper skirt with a red satin waist. My Mom said lots of nasty words (as she was sewing the crepe paper) wondering where the nuns got the stupid idea to use crepe paper instead of a cheap cotton cloth. It was tied together and I’m pretty sure one of the girls’ tie came lose only to have the skirt fall to the ground during a “swirly” part of the singing. My Mom muttered “I could have told them that would happen” all the way home. Happy Easter! I will also be in the outdoor cathedral communing with the wildlife (right before I wrestle into something presentable to go to Easter dinner).


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 24 2016 8:34 am

      You sound like a charter member of Survivors of Church Pageants club. What was with all the crepe paper then? It ripped. It stained. It melted. It stuck to your shoe. I used to think my mom went back to work so she’d have an excuse not to make costumes, be scout leader, or assist in pageants.
      Glad you got a giggle. Hope you Easter is hoppy and wildly wonderful

      Liked by 1 person

  4. sportsattitudes / Mar 24 2016 7:23 am

    I love those inflatable “tube dudes” who wave their arms in unobstructed, joyful expression. Have you seen the car commercial where the “recently liberated” yellow tube dude drives a Scion while trying to hold a cup of coffee? Hysterical.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 24 2016 8:36 am

      Saw that commercial yesterday! Right up there with the Subaru dog family in the car. If the noise from the blower wouldn’t bother me, I’d have tube guys for yard decorations for every single holiday. Nothing like happy. Thanks for breezying over with that airy comment

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Paul / Mar 24 2016 8:35 am

    Mmmm, you and your Dad were tight. That’s great to see. The singing was funny – the palm waving so so wonderful. Ha! That is exactly how the palm fronds were used – to be waved back and forth (bugs? breeze? whatever)

    Those bunnies now, we have to have a chat about those. This is not the first time you’ve mentioned them in your posts. I’m concerned that you may have an unhealthy rabbit obsession.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 24 2016 8:50 am

      Much to my mother, who moaned no encouragement should be given and considered I was hopeless, my dad and I were kindred spirits.
      Once under cover of darkness, we crept over to a neighbor’s struggling magnolia tree and tied white plastic flowers to branches. The next morning when the neighbor who had done everything to make that tree bloom came out and was thrilled to see white blurs…he left early before it was really light…his wife called him later laughing about the truth. They were great neighbors.
      Oldie but goodie. We definitely need a some whimsy right now. Thanks for that session and Hop on!


      • Paul / Mar 24 2016 9:07 am

        Bwahaha! Your Dad sounds like a hoot. One day, when my kids were about 7 and 9, I bought 6 coconuts and tied them in the Maple tree out front of the house.When they noticed them, I told the kids it was a coconut tree. ha! They got a ladder and discovered the coconuts were tied with brown jute in the tree. has!


  6. marthaschaefer / Mar 24 2016 2:17 pm

    As a fellow refugee of the church pageants, I well remember the real palm leaves as a favorite for swatting siblings and dancing about like a fan dancer of old. Great tie in to the happy tube folks too!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 24 2016 2:59 pm

      Oh, palms would be perfect for fan dancing. That would have been discouraged at church HA HA.We used to cut a neighbor’s banana branches for backyard productions. It was the era of “let’s put on a show” a la Judy Garland. Kept us mostly in one spot for a bit during the summer. Thanks for coming on stage with a comment!


  7. Kourtney Heintz / Mar 24 2016 2:26 pm

    I love the story of your dad at the pageant getting you to belt it out. I can picture the whole family reacting. 🙂 Have a wonderful Easter holiday. 🙂


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 24 2016 3:06 pm

      Not sure brother ever forgave me. (Does this sound anything like the Smothers Brothers routines?)

      Hope your Easter is hoppy and full of delight!


  8. Larissa Thomson / Mar 24 2016 2:27 pm

    Oh Phil, what a fabulous and hilarious recollection! I could just picture it. “Make a joyful noise, indeed!”


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 24 2016 3:14 pm

      Any church now has a hard act to follow. Thanks for joining the chorus…that’s chorus as in psalm, not chorus line…we were sternly told not to even consider kicking up heels like the Rockets…most would have chickened out anyway. Hoppy on to Easter!


  9. Cecilia Mary Gunther / Mar 24 2016 6:37 pm

    Churches!! Full of the most wonderful memories..c


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 25 2016 7:26 am

      Also a perfect excuse for hats back then, too – which added much to the scenery if a kid got bored (although too much squirming and turning of the head 360 degrees was discouraged) Enjoy the hymns of the farm this Easter. Thanks for Marching over here a bit!


  10. D. Wallace Peach / Mar 25 2016 9:07 am

    I love this post. Kids just crack me up. I can just picture the loud singing and enthusiastic frond-waving. So adorable. Thanks for the smile.


  11. The Hook / Mar 25 2016 9:51 am

    Your musings always inspire waves of joy, my friend.


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