Our little school was planning its Christmas program. It wasn't going to be much of a production. Mostly just singing Christmas carols and reciting poems, and the Christmas story from Luke 2. The fun part would come when we got to exchange gifts.
Everyone threw their name into one of the boy's hats. Teacher Ruth added her name too, even though every family was expected to give her a nice gift.
The day of the program arrived. It was a little overwhelming having to stand at the front of the school room while the entire Amish community had gathered to see our performance. The singing went well. I stood uncomfortably with my hands clasped behind my back the entire time, just like Mom had instructed me to. Beside me cousin Emma was playing with her apron, not minding what her hands were doing as we were singing. It looked more comfortable than my position, but somehow I managed to stick to it, and when my turn came I recited a little poem about a snowman.
Another song or two and then we were free to go back to our seats and it was time to exchange gifts. I had been eyeing the heap of nicely wrapped gifts that were piled on the teacher's desk, secretly hoping that the one huge box would be mine.
Instead I received a much smaller, lumpy package. It contained an apple shaped candy dish and a paint by number set. I was thrilled with it, and carefully set it on my desk as I watched the rest of the children open their gifts.
Finally the biggest box was presented to Abe, an eighth grader. He tore the wrapping paper off and opened the box only to find another box inside it. Inside that box was another one. And so it continued until finally he got down to the last one. It contained a simple coloring book.
Teacher Ruth was rolling with laughter. She was the one who had drawn Abe's name for the gift exchange.
I was only six, but that didn't stop me from burning with indignation at the injustice of it all. I slipped Abe a pack of smarties as we were leaving for home. Hoping that it would help his school Christmas be a little better.