On the stage and behind the scenes

The NarroWay Blog

Chapter 28: The Animals Arrive

animals arrive for stage

Have you ever stood side by side with a 7-foot, 1200-pound camel looking you in the eyes and realize you are the one holding the rope? ...Yep, that there is a life experience!

We had to have animals on stage – camel, sheep, donkey, a horse. So, we made arrangements to lease animals from the Lazy Five Ranch in Mooresville, NC. It was Rebecca’s job to go pick them out because I was preoccupied with sound installation.

As the guide drove around, looking at their animals, I picked a few generic sheep – I mean, it’s hard to tell one sheep from another, a generic camel...

The man says to Rebecca, “That cow right there has been in a movie!” So...

People! Who doesn’t want a famous cow on stage!?


cow with horns

And a bird!

Ethyl, a colorful Macaw. When I saw her I thought she would be so pretty perched on the wise man’s arm.


Ended up the wise men were terrified of the bird!

And a spittin’ llama. It always looked terrified. I didn’t set out to get a llama but the guide said no additional cost.

When Rebecca returned, she told me about the small feisty horse that was coming for the Roman soldier to ride, the famous cow, the bird, but, her favorite story was the donkey.

We rode through the fields. For the most part when it came to the herd animals I had a grocery list – give me three of these, one of those... And I would have done the same for the donkeys, except, for what the guide said.

“These are the miniature donkeys,” he said. “That one, right there, is the sweetest of the bunch. Her name is Precious. She’s gentle. Best with kids. Leads well. But you don’t want her. She has a broken crest.”

“What does that mean?” I asked.

“Her crest, the mane that goes from the back of her head and down her back – see how it starts out straight and then plops over to the side. See how ugly that is. Everybody wants a pretty one.”

At that moment, as I looked at that small imperfect donkey, I learned more about God than I ever did in a devotional. In the background of my thoughts, the guide continued to talk about the other donkeys and drive through the field. Maybe she was gentle, good, and easy to lead because of her brokenness. “Oh God!” I said in my spirit. “Thank you for not leaving me in the field because I am imperfect.”

ME - “STOP!”

The guide hit the brakes.

ME – “That’s the donkey for NarroWay – Precious. Make no mistakes! That is the one we want.”

GUIDE – “But I thought you said she would be on stage.”

ME – “Yes, sir, she will. But that stage will be filled with people who have a broken crest.”

miniature donkey

We had a rehearsal the day the truck arrived with all the animals. As they came off I thought it must have been a lot like the emptying of the ark! But one thing for certain, IT WAS A ZOO!

The cow was a maniac! Movie star? After watching the behavior of our celebrities, that mad cow was indeed a lot like some of them!

cow sticking tongue out

And no one thought ahead enough to anticipate what was going to happen when our movie cow POOPED on the stage! Can anyone say, “SHOVELS!?”

And when Jesus calls us sheep ... people! That is NO compliment! No one bothered to tell us that you don’t simply put a LEASH on a sheep and lead it where you want it to go. Sheep are obstinate, uncooperative, needy and hot-headed. Quiet, clean little lambs are only seen as statues in nativity sets!

sheep pulling away

And that feisty horse Rebecca ordered for the Roman soldiers to ride – well...

I said, “That’s not the horse I picked!!”

Off the truck came this huge, draft horse. I knew we didn’t have a saddle that big.

draft horse

The llama looked like a claustrophobic in a coat closet! “Stay back, or, I swear, I’ll spit!!”

Ethyl, the bird, was squawking. She kept trying to perch atop Rebecca’s head.

I never realized how many people are afraid of large-beaked birds!

Then, you know how everyone immediately looks down when someone says, “Who wants to pray?”
Well, everyone was excited and waiting to “lead” our fun, furry, four-legged friends off the truck until the driver yelled, “Who wants the camel?”
The cast scattered as fast as if we had said, “Oh, look, a rattlesnake!”

I don’t know if Lora was momentarily stunned or was just left in the dust of the others running. Nevertheless, Lora was left standing.


And that, my friend, is how Lora McCoy became NarroWay’s resident camel expert.

lora with dromedary camel

But when the dust settled there stood a little donkey.

sweet miniature donkey

Gentle. Patient. Loveable.
While the other animals bucked, pulled and squalled, this little donkey stood quietly as all eyes were upon her.
Then someone yelled, “She’s precious!”

I said, “Yes! She is.”

And no one even realized she had a broken crest.

kids with donkey

More Photos

animals backstage
camel laying downNo, the camel is NOT dead! Apparently he's just tired from the trip!
child with lamb
draft horse backside
dromedary camel
biblical animals
pygmy goats
camel face
rebecca with sheep
draft horse
cow with horns
rebecca on trailer
birdie with llama
pygmy goat
cow backside
petting zoo
kids at petting zoo
animals in wiseman scene
soldier on horse
animals on stage
biblical animals on stage


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Chapter 29: A Piano Lesson
Chapter 27: Two Thieves...and a Savior

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