The year was 1987. I was six years old, and there was a huge opportunity coming up that could greatly advance my acting career.

The Homeschool Christmas play.

I desperately desired the part of Mary. There was nothing more in the WORLD that I wanted to do with my life than to play Mary in this ever-prestigious production. I practiced my part in the privacy of my room – looking holy, quiet, and angelic while clasping my hands and adoring my baby doll. I had it down pat.

The day for casting came. I couldn’t wait to find out that I would get chosen for the part as Mary!

They announced – it would be Rachel…Tingles went up my spine…and then they said the last name.

It was another Rachel.

She was two years older than me, with beautiful blond curly hair, gorgeous blue eyes, and a perfect Cindy Crawford lip freckle – the kind that we all wanted in the 80’s.

I was devastated. Sure, she was more beautiful than me, but come on, people – we all know that Mary wasn’t a blond!

Was it the freckle? Because I can draw one on.

And then, they announced my role. I made the play all right – I would be…1002068b The cow.

Hey – at least I wasn’t the Donkey.

And really, I was lucky NOT to be the Donkey, as it appears that it was in my genes:

I wonder what my Mom’s reaction was when my Dad suggested that costume pairing….

At any rate, back to the play.

My part in the play would be to look on enviously adoringly as Mary portrayed her holy hand-clasped self, and then when Away in a Manger got to the line about “The Cattle are Lowing”, I had my big debut: I was to lay down.


…but I was so distracted by being jealous of Mary that I totally forgot to lay down – the donkey had to remind me. I was completely mortified for the rest of the play at my not meeting my own performance expectations. I didn’t deserve to be Mary.

However, despite my clarity of memory about being a cow, I did NOT remember that I did have another part in the play until I found this picture:1002069bI was apparently a violin-playing cow.

I really missed my acting career opportunity – if only I could have gotten on with Chick-Fil-A at the beginning of their cow campaigns, I could have realized my potential after all.

We of course had a wild and crazy after-party, where Mary was looking as smug as ever about her leading role:1002065

Oddly enough, the donkey looked even more smug.

Obviously, she had lower expectations of her acting career than I did.

If you’re in the Birmingham area and would like to go to a much higher quality Christmas play than the one above, our Church is performing one of my favorite childhood Christmas stories, “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”, this Sunday, December 13th at 10 am. Click here for details. And don’t worry, I’m not in it showcasing my amazing bovine acting abilities.

17 thoughts on “The Cattle are Glowering…

  1. That is an adorable story! I always got an angel part because I looked like a porcelain doll. That and I hid my mean streak pretty well.

    Oh, and at first I thought you were playing a hippo from the way your costume looked. :)

  2. Rachel~

    You are funny! Thanks for the morning laugh.

    mama to 7
    one homemade and 6 adopted

    *expecting again…from Ethiopia!

  3. Cute story, I was an angel on year and the year we did Psalty the song book Christmas I was a caroler but I had a minor solo part. Not because I could sing but my Christain school had more boys than girls.

  4. (thump)

    …oh, sorry…that was me falling off my couch in a fit of giggles. you are seriously cracking me up with the cow business. I particularly like the horns at the top! I'm glad this isn't still affecting your psyche or anything…

    I love that you have pictures of this kind of stuff. It makes adulthood so much more bearable – and you get to tell all your stories to ali!

    ps – I agree, it is such a small world! I'm thinking now I might run into you sometime at the next OU/Alabama game…if there even is such a thing! =) So glad I found your blog; I love laughing with you!

  5. Oh the lip freckle. Yes I wanted one badly too. I had an almost freckle that I "enhanced" with my mom's eyeliner pencil from time to time when I was like 12 or 13. I wonder if people ever wondered if I just had dirt on my face. Ha!

  6. as a blond-haired, blue-eyed girl, I was frequently chosen as Mary. Nope. I still don't get it, but I do understand if you want to hold a grudge. . .

    btw, is my verbal sat work completely gone, or does "lowing" actually mean something different?

  7. I loved the way you told this!

    At least you were an adorable cow. And you're right. Mary does look a bit smug ;)

  8. Love the pictures! That's awesome!!! I wonder if Ali aspires to be Mary or a donkey. :) K gets to be an angel in the Christmas play…she just has to stand there, not even sing or anything, but I am worried that it's not going to work out too well. :)

  9. So sorry your acting debut wasn't as glamorous as you hoped it would be, but you were a very cute cow :)
    I didn't know you played the violin! My in-laws want Luke to start violin lessons when he turns 3!

  10. I, too, always wanted to be Mary in Christmas programs, but who has ever heard of a red-headed Mary??

    Great plug for our Christmas program at church? It's going to be a really fun time for everyone there. The kids are doing a GREAT job with their parts!

  11. What church was this at???

    I remember one Christmas wanting to be Mary and getting stuck in the Angel Choir…but MY acting debut came later, in high school… hee hee

  12. You were a very cute little cow. It is too bad you didn't cash in on the chik fil a craze early!!!
    I never got to be Mary either. What?!!? Mary couldn't have been squintin? :0)

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