HIM Beth? It’s Brian. Are you coming?
ME Yeah. I’m just taking the chicken out of the oven.
HIM Great. I’m waiting for you to do the blessing. We’re
ready to eat right now.
ME I’m on my way. Bye.
I throw on my coat, grab the chicken casserole and my umbrella, quick walk across the road to the Stonewall Ruritan Club building (the old school house), filled with folk. Brian grabs my coat. Belinda and Dawn tell me a couple of announcements to give before the blessing. I rush up to the front, forget the microphone and begin to shout instructions. The waiting folk shout back at me to grab the mic. I do.
Announcements are given. Blessing said. Instructions for the food-line up given. Check, check and check.
It’s another evening where I live, except it’s December. So it’s even more festive than usual, the food even better than ordinary meals, more kids have come, the promise of a magic show and Santa’s arrival a big plus.
We gather. We talk. We laugh. We eat. We are entertained and feted by a grateful Volunteer Fire Department and Ruritan service club.
Just before Santa is to make his grand entrance, Dawn draws the last of the door prize tickets. Just before the last number, I wonder to myself whether it would be wrong to ask Jesus for my number to be drawn. Dawn shouts out my number and I do a happy dance as I go and claim my Santa placemat prizes.
If I lived in the city, I could go to a restaurant. And it would be lovely. But no one would call me if I weren’t exactly on time. No one would welcome me as a single woman to their table. There wouldn’t be kids running in the hallway, lining up to do crafts, getting their faces painted and watching a magician do his wonders, all in one place at one time. And for sure, no one would give me a present just for showing up.
Sometimes, living here is just about perfect.