Ralph Butterworth
by: Jamie T.

Snow was slowly falling outside Roosevelt High as Ralph Butterworth waited for the bell to ring and classes to end for the day. Thanksgiving was over, and it wouldn’t be long till Christmas. Ralph walked home with his best friend Bill, who asked him, “You seem kind like you’re in the dumps today. This time of the year makes me happy.”

 

“Well, since Mr. Stevens made me director of the school play I haven’t had a minute for anything else, and I almost got trampled at the mall by a crowd of shoppers. Christmas is getting too complicated,” Bill said, “and you wonder why I rarely leave my house.” Both guys nodded their heads and kept walking.

 

The next afternoon after school, as Ralph stood outside the auditorium doors waiting for Mr. Stevens, he could hear loud music and laughing. Opening the doors, he saw everyone on stage dancing and having fun. “I’ll just walk away right now,” he said to himself as he turned away.

 

Mr. Stevens touched his shoulder and said, “You’re right on time. I knew I made a good choice in you.” Mr. Stevens opened the door wide and escorted Ralph in. “Let’s get started,” said Mr. Stevens.

 

A moment later, when the music hadn’t been turned off and they weren’t noticed, Mr. Stevens then stated a bit louder, “OK people, turn the MUSIC OFF.” When they still weren’t noticed, Mr. Stevens shouted at the top of his lungs, “YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE.” The music stopped abruptly and all eyes were turned to them. Mr. Stevens introduced Ralph as their new director. Groans were heard along with comments of “we’re doomed” and “why him?”

 

“Why didn’t I walk away when I had the chance?” thought Ralph.

 

After handing Ralph a stack of scripts and patting him on the back, Mr. Stevens left Ralph in the auditorium with a group of kids who didn’t agree with his being made director. Once Mr. Stevens left, the music started again. “Your attention please,” said Ralph but no one noticed him. Following the cord from the radio to the plug, Ralph reached down and pulled out the plug. The music stopped and everyone started to complain. Ralph repeated, “Your attention please. Let’s get started.”

 

This was the scenario he faced at every practice.

 

On the night of the play everything fell apart when Ralph tried to get the actors to cooperate with him one last time. But some of them got mad and left right before the curtain rose. Ralph quickly came up with a plan. He turned and quickly whispered in Bill’s ear. Bill nodded and smiled.

 

Bill quietly walked onto the stage. The audience fell silent, and the lights were dimmed to only highlight him. Bill then told the audience the story of Jesus’ birth. When he finished he said, “Merry Christmas.”

 

For a moment no one made a sound. Then Ralph and the actors who hadn’t walked out came up behind Bill and began singing “Away in a Manager.” Someone found a guitar and began playing along. The audience joined in, and suddenly Bill felt much better about Christmas. He looked around and saw most of the actors who had left had returned and were singing too. His face was bright as he felt the true meaning of Christmas. The play went on as planned and, because of the Spirit of Christmas in the hearts of all there, it was considered one of the best Christmas plays ever at the high school.