Today is December 23rd. There are 8 days remaining in the year 2009. And two days left, for those of you who have yet to celebrate presents under the tree and such. We Armstrongs celebrated Big Family Christmas over the weekend, and we will have Little Family Christmas on Christmas Day, following church on Christmas Eve.
On this day in 1893, the opera Hansel und Gretel, by Engelbert Humperdink, was first performed. I have vivid memories of my brother Mike and I having the starring roles in the Pryor Creek Methodist Church production, some 45 years ago (ouch.) I remember singing our duet ("I'm Hansel...I'm Gretel...") and I remember receiving a pack of clay (pre-Play-Doh years, I guess) after our performance. The parts I don't recall are that the two stars (H & G) are sent into the woods by the wicked stepmother, and come upon a lovely gingerbread house, commence eating the lovely candy and gingerbread off the house, are captured by the witch who lives there (possibly the wicked stepmother incognito...who knows what die Brüder Grimm actually had in mind here...), H is put in a cage to be fattened and eaten by the wicked witch, but G kicks the wicked witch into the oven and burns her to death and frees brother H, and then H & G spend some time eating the sweets off the gingerbread house before returning home to their loving father who tells them the wicked stepmother (witch?) is dead. And they live happlily after, The End. I don't remember those parts of the story. Probably a good thing, because I was easily traumitized as a child. In fact, my mother always sent me to bed when Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz fell asleep in the poppy fields, before reaching the Land of Oz. I thought this was the happy ending. It was YEARS before I knew there was a second half of the story, with the wicked monkeys and such. I was a very sheltered child.
Here is OUR 2009 Gingerbread House, designed and built by Daughter #1: