Cranberries and Community

Monday morning I went to the St. Michaels Community Center where I was picking up a projector to use in a presentation Laura Ambler and I are giving to the St. Michaels Woman’s Club. We’ve been asked to speak about how our Christmas memory Book, The Santa Diaries: Memories of a Small-town Christmas became a play.

Santa Diaries Cover JPEG

Director Trish Payne was kind enough to spend time showing me how to work the projector and get it synced with my laptop. I wrote everything down and will practice at home before we take it on the road.

The Community Center was a busy place that morning. Trish and her helpers were getting ready for the annual Thanksgiving dinner they organize. It’s held at one of the local churches. Trish mentioned that she had to get to the store to buy cranberry sauce. My hand shot up. “I have ten bags of cranberries in my fridge,” I said. “I’ll make a big pot of cranberry sauce for the dinner.” I was going to make cranberry sauce and can it, but I can always get more cranberries.

cranberries

Tuesday morning I delivered the cranberry sauce to the Community Center. The large, covered pot had cooled overnight on my deck, the lid weighted with a brick. I didn’t want any curious neighborhood cat getting into it. On Wednesday it won’t be enough to serve the 125 -150 people who will come to the dinner, but it will be a contribution. I was glad I’d been in the right place at the right time.

During this season of gratitude, I’m thankful that St. Michaels has a Community Center with programs for our youth and seniors. The center is one of the important threads that, woven together, makes up the fabric of our little town.And  I’m grateful that indefatigable Trish Payne keeps it all running.

 

 

 

 

 

A Story Without Words

One of the families that lives in what I call the “long driveway houses” in our area celebrates holidays with putting up a sculpture, a scene, something evocative of the season. These can be seen from Rt 33 as one drives to Easton or toward St. Michaels. One year at Thanksgiving the turkey was wielding the hatchet and the farmer’s wife seemed to be at risk, one Christmas Santa’s sleigh complete with reindeer had collided with an antique airplane. The community has grown accustomed to seeing a scene which tells a story. This year, however, this family has outdone itself. The story has been unfolding for at least six weeks.

The first scene along MD Route 33 toward St. Michaels showed a guy sitting on a fence, reading a book. We actually thought it was a guy reading a book the first time we went by, but when we came back from town, he was still there so we knew something was happening. Of course, we didn’t know more was to come, so I didn’t stop and take photo.

Then the fence guy’s beige pick-up joined the scene and a young woman on a red scooter. A few days later an antique red roadster joined them and it looked like they were having fun. It was heading toward Labor Day so it seemed appropriate that they were grilling. I thought that was the end of the story, so I didn’t slow down to take a picture.

We saw the young woman on the scooter join the pick-up truck guy on the hood of his truck. The roadster was gone. Was romance in the air? Then a scene in which pickup truck guy is holding something out to her. A cell phone. Hell no, it’s a ring box.

A few days later we see the couple sitting on the hood of the pick-up, the gal now in a wedding dress. The sign on the truck says, “Just Married.” Of course that was the end of the story and I still hadn’t slowed down to take a picture.

But it wasn’t. A few days later we see the young couple putting up the framing of a small house. Then a piece of roof was added.

Tuesday I finally stopped to take a picture.

building-a-house---the-storYou can see the guy on the ladder and his wife nearby. I’m so annoyed with myself that I didn’t start recording this story from the beginning. A story without words. For a writer, that’s a novel idea.

It’s the story teller in me that is filling in the blanks and bringing this story to life. What I imagine will be different from every other person who drives by. The wife always wears pink. My backstory knows why.

Today on my way home from Easton the little house is complete from the outside. My husband thinks we’ll see a baby carriage next.

I’ll keep you posted if there’s more to the story. In the meantime, I’m grateful to this generous homeowner for reminding me that writing is not the only way to tell a story. He’s going to have to come up with something spectacular to top this story without words.

 

 

A Neighborhood with Benefits

We used to live in a rural area in the middle of thirty acres. We could see one neighbor across the creek. When we moved to St. Michaels ten years ago, we bought a house in a neighborhood. I wasn’t sure if I’d like having neighbors so close.

Yesterday, late in the afternoon, I was out watering my garden. This isn’t a cicada year, but I could hear the insects that thought it was churring in the trees. Our backyard is planted so it’s quite private. I usually can’t see anyone else, but can hear activity: somebody a few yards away was mowing, the distinctive sound of a weed-wacker came from across the street, and, then, clear as a bell came the four part harmony of a barbershop quartet.

barber shop quartetThis happened twice before on a summer’s evening. The first time I went searching for the singing. I wandered through a neighbor’s yard, peered through fences and finally found a bar-b-que in full sing. This time I shut off the water, sat on my deck, closed my eyes and listened to the music. Living in my neighborhood has unexpected benefits.