From: Fraser Firs, Palm Trees & Spanish Moss
A Christmas Carol – a Maggie Chalifoux story
At a gathering of friends I overheard some people talking about a writing group. There was a new woman in the group and she was a writer. Her name was Reds. She had very red hair and a long ringlet on one side. She was willing to work with us, to help us to develop our writing skills. I jumped right in saying I wanted to be part of that.
We began meeting every other week at Ellie’s house in Warren County, North Carolina, which she called “The Gathering Place”. To celebrate the Christmas season, we went to Red’s instead for a writing session, and then on to Warrenton, North Carolina for lunch. She lived closer to our destination. One of our group was such a clown. She had made little round tags about two inches in diameter for each of us. They had a big red L in the middle and a black circle on the outer edge, and a black line across the L, meaning NO. This was like a sign that might say “no pets” for instance. It took some coaxing but finally we pinned these little tags to our sweaters and off we went.
We shopped at the Scarlet Rooster, delighting in all the treasures that the owner, Todd Smith, had gathered for his shop. After a bit, Todd said, “I’m not sure I should ask but what do the tags mean?” With some laughter we all gathered together and burst into song “Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel!” That was enough singing. I felt totally ridiculous. But it was fun.
We moved on to the Hardware Café for lunch. Halfway through our lunch a young policeman came in. He kept glancing our way and it was obvious he was curious. Finally, he couldn’t stand it anymore. “I’m sorry to interrupt but I just have to know. What do those tags mean?” We looked at each other grinning and chuckling. Someone said
“Ready?” On cue we sang “Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel!”
The policeman laughed with us, shaking his head as he walked away. It was very silly but a memorable and fun time, one not likely to ever be repeated.
One response to “More Christmases Remembered”
Arlene .. that is exactly the group I shoulda been in those few years ago. 😉 When I first saw you at tables in various “Fests” on the courthouse lawn, looking back .. I always wondered who the other women were with you. You smiled. One of the ladies always looked very mean.
The fellows, were always smiling. Many fests later .. I finally also met Sterling and Thomas. My first book purchase was Bedouin Turf. Sterling excused himself and said ‘don’t leave .. I will be right back’ He returned with a copy of First Friday and WAM with an invite. It was still several months until my neighbor asked if I ever heard of First Friday. It was via her that I came the first time .. and haven’t stopped yet.