Ma Brown, wife of celebrated corn-grower Farmer Brown, hosted a Fall Festival every October. People came from far and wide to watch the grand finale each year, a clogging spectacular choreographed by Ma Brown, performed by local farm children. The Kid Kloggers were mini-celebrities in the county.
Earnest Jones wanted to be a Kid Klogger. From the time he was five years old, he practiced routines. Not just one part, but all of them. Each year he auditioned for Ma Brown. Earnest was technically proficient, if not flashy. Year after year, Earnest saw his fellow farm kids chosen to perform in the clogging extravaganza. But Ma Brown never game him the nod. The usually sunny Earnest took it in stride the first couple of seasons. He told his mother, "A lot of kids tried out. I'll make it next year. I'm going to practice even harder!"
Yet every year, Earnest was overlooked. He still got to set up props, and stand behind the Kid Kloggers with a large group of other not-quite-good-enough cloggers, enhancing their performance with hand motions. But he longed to take center stage. It pained his mother to see Earnest rejected year after year. To go from bubbly excitement to just-beneath-the-surface tears as he informed her that the Kid Kloggers had been selected once again, and that he was not among their ranks.
As clogging season neared in his eighth year of life, Earnest told him mother, "I am going to concentrate on the smallest part. I'm sure I am as good as the rest of the kids. I practice all year long. I don't cause trouble. I'm polite. I'm responsible. I'm on time. Just this one little part. Just one time. That's all I want. So you can see me be a Kid Klogger." He skipped off to rehearse. Mrs. Jones wiped away silent tears.
Earnest was not chosen.
Buddy Breedlove earned the starring solo almost every year. He, too, wished Earnest could join him as a Kid Klogger. In that year of magical eight-year-old thinking, Buddy made a decision. He ran it by his mother first. "Every year, I am chosen as the star Kid Klogger. But my friend Earnest has never had a chance. I want to give up my part for Earnest." He hurried off to tell Earnest. Mrs. Breedlove wiped away tears of pride.
Buddy and Earnest caught Ma Brown telling her hired hands how to unload a trailer-load of pumpkins. "Ma Brown! Ma Brown! I've been thinking, and I want to give up my role as a Kid Klogger so my friend Earnest can dance this year."
Ma Brown looked from Buddy to Earnest. "Are you sure you want to give up your part, Buddy?"
"Well, you know, Buddy...just because you give up your part does not mean that Earnest will get it."
Both boys looked at her, then at each other. "Never mind, Buddy. You can keep your part. It's okay." Earnest started home to tell his mother that he would be a pantomimer again this year. And that he did not ever want to audition to be a Kid Klogger again.
Flash forward eight years. Buddy Breedlove is still clogging. He's even better than before. He's become the go-to clogger of the county.
Earnest has many irons in the fire. His clogging days over, he free-lance ciphers for farmers who need help with their books. He invents farm gadgets to make chores easier. He helps out his pop on their chicken farm. And he operates the lighting system for county fair concerts, revivals, and church plays. Earnest is the go-to lighting manager of the county. He and Buddy are still fast friends.
Ma Brown is winding up for the most sensation Fall Festival ever. She is confident that this is the most talented group of Kid Kloggers she has ever put on the dance floor. A television network is sending a crew to film them. Ma Brown will be interviewed by Diane Sawyer. She's giddy with anticipation. Ma Brown wants everything to come off without a hitch. To wow the multitudes of viewers. She has attended to every little detail save one. With two days remaining until the performance, she has yet to secure a lighting manager.
Ma Brown sends a message to Earnest Jones. "Can you do the lighting Saturday night for my Kid Kloggers? I only want the best, and everybody says that is you."
Earnest is in the middle of his busy harvest season. He has been burning the candle at both ends, what with the ciphering and chicken-coop building and farm-implement-inventing. Plus, he is repainting his attic bedroom, and readying the lighting for several church Christmas programs.
"I'm sorry, Ma Brown. But I won't be able to help you. I have too much going on right now." The Kid Klogger tryouts don't even enter his mind.
Ma Brown has just felt the bite of Karma on her ample posterior. Which might also serve as a lesson for elementary choir directors everywhere.