one more Christmas post

When I was in second grade I won the Christmas poster contest at our school .

My poster was printed in the local paper with an accompanying story and a copy was put on display in the front windows of several local businesses . I had my picture taken with my teacher , Sister Carmel Mary and , I think , the newspaper editor , or maybe he was the honorary major for that year . I stood for the photo next to Sister Carmel Mary in her long black habit . I don’t have the photo in front of me now , so I can’t remember if I wore the school uniform , a salt-and-pepper pull-over shirt and corduroy pants , or if I had on a sport coat and a little tie . I remember the expression on my face , though . The photo was published next to the copy of the poster and anyone and everyone who walked down any street in town could see it .

The poster I still have a copy of somewhere in my garage . My mother had saved it for me and gave it to me several years ago . It pictured a large Christmas tree , with decorations , and presents underneath . It was colorful. A prominent caption read : CHRISTMAS IS FOR GIVING AND WE’RE GIVING A CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL . The artwork was good , but I suspect that it was the clever caption that won me the prize .

The school was about to hold a Christmas festival and every student was required to turn in a poster to promote the event . Out of the hundreds of students who turned in their posters , mine won !

There was a little problem , however . I was procrastinating and procrastinating as the deadline got closer and closer for the poster to be due . I wasn’t artistic and not too swift on any creativity bent either . My older sister Pat , however , was artistic and was creative , and evidently had sympathy for my approaching doom , so she made me a poster . She drew the poster . It had my name on it . It won the school-wide poster contest , but it wasn’t mine .

I didn’t tell my teacher that the poster wasn’t my creation . I didn’t tell my teacher anything in those days . I hardly spoke a word , truth be told , until I was a thirteen or fourteen . I was a bit shy in my early years ( in the same sense that Jeffrey Dalmer , for example , was a little off , or that Elon Musk has a little money ) . Had I spilled the beans right off the bat , my life might have been easier , at least in the long run , after some embarrassment , but I wasn’t going to be able to do that . As it was , I had to swallow the true humiliation of being honored for something that someone else had done and to just play along to the end . I didn’t see any other way out .

I think my sister was a tad irritated by the whole thing , too , by the way . After all , she had made the winning poster but had recieved no recognition for it . It was her poster but it was my picture in all the shop windows around town . And those newspapers remained there for some time , too . It was humiliating . I was trapped in a lie , so to speak , with no easy way out . This wasn’t supposed to happen to a quiet little Catholic school student who just tried to get through his days without bringing down the wrath of God upon himself .

I can visualize my expression in that infamous newspaper photo . I can still feel , somehow , the intense burning humiliation of the moment . The nun next to me , my teacher , was so proud of little Danny , I imagine , her student . Little did she know ! Little did the news photographer or that man in the photo know ! Little did all of those unsuspecting people who saw the newspaper photo know !

I was pretty sure at the time that my guardian angel knew the truth . If the guardian angel wouldn’t tell God , I figured , then I might be alright . God was , hopefully , too busy with other stuff . Ah , but then there was my sister , Pat !

Luckily , I survived winning the poster contest when I was in second grade . What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger . I’ve heard that .


Filed under humor

8 responses to “one more Christmas post

  1. If it helps to know, I don’t think any less of you πŸ˜‰ Your sister was a good sport.

  2. I’m glad you finally told the truth. It’s hard to live with dishonesty, that’s punishment in itself. Still, I’m glad the poster won!

  3. Dan, the great thing about being Catholic is we get to go to confession and it all goes away. Two Our Fathers and Two Hail Marys and you’re good to go. πŸ™πŸΌπŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ Funny how those little things we did when we were young still haunt us. Happy New Year.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.