Joseph’s Sweater of Many Colors
“I remember one chilly Sunday morning, I wore my new sweater to church. I think it must have been the Sunday right after Christmas, and everyone was showing off the new clothes they got. People were wearing new coats, new hats, new scarves, new boots. And underneath, they were wearing new shirts, new pants, new skirts. There were new ties and suits and dresses. And lots and lots of new sweaters. And there I was, wearing the amazing, fantastic, stupendously ugly Christmas sweater!
“My sweater and I walked into Sunday School, and Miss Kelly-Kelly (She was our teacher. Her name was Kelly O’Hannon, and she married Robert Kelly, so her name became Kelly Kelly. Naturally, us kids all called her “Miss Kelly-Kelly”) Miss Kelly-Kelly took one look at my sweater and said, ‘Oh my! Your sweater reminds me of Joseph’s coat of many colors!’
“She was always saying things like that. When my sister Beulah knitted her a bright red scarf, Miss Kelly-Kelly said, ‘Oh my! This reminds me of Rahab’s scarlet thread!’ When Billy Higgins tried to sneak his slingshot into church, she said, ‘Oh my! Are we looking for Goliath?’ One time, the Grogan’s donkey got out and made such a ruckus they had to interrupt the church service to take him back home, and she said, ‘Oh my! That reminds me of Balaam’s donkey!’ And if you tipped your chair back on two legs, she’d say, ‘Oh my! Be careful, Eutychus!’ Everything reminded her of a Bible story.
“So, of course, she thought of Joseph’s coat when she saw me. And it got her so stirred up that she decided to tell us THAT story instead of whatever the lesson was for that day! We all loved the story so much that we decided to do it as our Bible drama for Children’s Sunday. (On that Sunday, every class got up on stage and did something for the service. They might sing a song or recite Bible verses, or act out a Bible Story or something like that.) And what else did we use for Joseph’s coat of many colors? My amazing, fantastic, stupendously ugly Christmas sweater!
“Now, Children’s Sunday only came around once or twice a year, and we wanted to really put on a good show for everybody else. So we practiced and practiced on it. We’d come home after school and hurry up with our chores and homework, and then we’d rush to the church to work on our play. It was gonna be great!
“Then, one night, Miss Kelly-Kelly invited the whole class to come practice at her house, and she would serve us dinner. She made spaghetti and meatballs. (Of course, SHE called it ‘spaghetti and Esauce’ after Jacob’s brother, Esau.) Wow! Was that spaghetti sauce ever bright red! I remember, because I spilled it on my sweater! I went to take a bite, and one yummy meatball went rolling off my fork. It bounced off my sweater and landed back on the plate!
“I tried to wipe off the tomato sauce, but it was no use. It had stained my sweater. And it was a wool sweater, so you couldn’t wash it, or it would shrink. Nope, I was stuck with a big red splotch, right in the middle of my new sweater! What was I going to tell my mother? Worse, what was I gonna tell Beulie? She’d probably think I did it on purpose!
“My friend, Freddy Apple (that was really his name) said, ‘Maybe no one will notice. They’ll probably think it’s just part of the sweater!’
“ ‘Maybe, but Beulie will notice.’
“Freddy’s brother, Franky (and they had a sister named Candy, if you can believe it) had a plan. ‘Just put your hand over it whenever she comes by!’
“So that’s what I did. When Beulah walked by, I put my hand over the stain.
“She stopped, and said, ‘Are you okay? Do have a tummy ache?’
“So I started rubbing my hand in little circles over my stomach, and I said, ‘No, it’s just really delicious spaghetti! Mm-mm!’
“Another time, when she walked past, I covered the spot up with my arm.
“ ‘Are you sure you’re feeling all right?’ she asked.
“ ‘Sure, Beulie! Just, uh... practicing the Pledge of Allegiance! Um... Oh yeah! With liberty and justice for all!’
“She looked at me like I’d fallen out of a tree. Then she just shook her head and walked away. I was practicing the Pledge of Allegiance quite a lot that evening! But you can’t keep hiding something like that. Eventually, I had to tell my sister the truth.
“ ‘Beulie,’ I said, ‘something’s happened to my sweater.’ And I took my hand away. My sister looked at that big red splotch on my sweater, and she got a very serious look on her face. I’d never seen her look like that before. I was scared. ‘It’s tomato sauce,’ I said. ‘It was an accident,’ I said. ‘Freddy Apple spilled his spaghetti on it.’
“She just kept staring at the spot. She didn’t move. ‘Okay, that’s not true,’ I said. ‘It was me. I spilled the spaghetti – but it WAS an accident. I didn’t mean to! I’m sorry.”
“Beulie blinked a couple times, looked at me and said, ‘I’ll fix you, Arnie.’ I started to back away, and she said, ‘No, I mean your sweater! I think I can fix it.’
“She borrowed my sweater for a few days. When she brought it back, she had crocheted the biggest, reddest poinsettia you’ve ever seen, right smack-dab in the middle of the amazing, fantastic, stupendously ugly Christmas sweater! If anything, it made it made it even MORE stupendously ugly – BUT it completely covered up the spaghetti stain. And Beulah never told Mom and Dad about the accident.
“Our Bible play went just fine, by the way. But after that, every time Miss Kelly-Kelly saw a poinsettia, she’d say, ‘Oh my! That reminds me of Joseph’s coat of many colors – but I have no idea why!’ ”
Pt 1 and Pt 2