Mom bought her fancy Nutcracker theater about ten years ago, give or take. It was a hit with everyone who walked in the door for the first few years.
It truly is charming. When it comes on, the doors open to reveal a stage setting several levels deep depicting the Christmas party during which Clara receives her nutcracker. The familiar tunes of the party scene play music box style as animated figures move back and forth across the stage. The curtains close and open several times to reveal various scenes: the Snow Queen and her prince, the international dancers with the Russian dance theme in the background, Mother Ginger with children dancing through her skirts.
The Hooligans used to be transfixed by this production, but their enthusiasm has waned as they’ve grown older. This year they didn’t even notice that Mom had put the music box theater out on the desk.
However, Mom’s great-grandkids through my brother Frank still adore the theater. In the beginning it was my niece’s small daughter and son; then her stepdaughters joined the throng jostling to watch the tiny ballet dancers.
This year a new member of the audience was enthralled by these proceedings. Isaiah was born in late September. I met him for the first time a few weeks ago when his mother brought him by for a visit. Wednesday night was his first holiday visit to his Great-Grandma’s house.
His sister and brother were already watching the Nutcracker when his sister asked if Isaiah could watch it, too. She cuddled him in Mom’s big, sturdy wooden chair squeezed in next to my older nephew. Apparently Isaiah thought it was a hit; he contentedly watched “The Nutcracker” through several rounds of the performance.
I’m being fanciful, of course, but I imagine the Nutcracker theater being happy that a new child had come to stare at the Mouse King and Drosselmeyer and listen to the tinkling “Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy.”