I was talking with my new friend Sally on the phone last night and we agreed it's a wonderful thing that a group of us all arrived here in Barnesville at the same time.
Tonight, Christmas Eve, we will all go to hear Clyde (and our Olney friend Ela), both of whom are musical, at a Christmas Eve service at the Presbyterian Church in town. On Christmas, we will all get together at Jane and Clyde's 100-year old blue frame house just down from the library for Christmas dinner. All of these activities will include our teenage and young adult children (except for Sally's; her children are far away). Even Sophie is home, having returned from her visit with her boyfriend Lucas's family in Yellow Springs.
I'm appreciating Christmas in a place where there's little to buy and little to do. Downtown Barnesville looks not too different from downtown Bedford Falls (circa 1946) in "It's a Wonderful Life." Maybe a little quieter. The town has hung Christmas decorations from the street lamps on Main Street. You can still pull into an (unmetered) parking space in front of the store where you'd like to shop. While there are a straggle of stores with separate parking lots as you head east toward my end of town--some fast food "joints," a Save A Lot, Riesbecks, Dollar General and Rite Aid--there's nothing like a strip mall, mall or arcade of shops. Downtown Main Street shopping could be lifted straight out of the 1950s. For me it's a delight to live in a land time forgot. (As an aside, I'm rereading Emma for my reading group in Maryland and last night was charmed by a streetscape. Emma is waiting for her friend Harriet to pick out ribbon and so steps outside to watch the activities. One is a boy urging a donkey down the street (you won't see that in Barnesville but horses and buggies you will see) and another is a group of children staring in the bow window of the bakery looking at the gingerbread. That last image struck me as more Victorian or Dickensian that Jane Austen-like, but it was charming.)
All our snow is gone, but the grass has a golden cast and we still have some reddish leaves on the trees outside our south living room window. Plus the view of the red barn with the green roof.
I keep telling people, half jokingly, that Barnesville is still in the 1970s. That's part of what I like about living here. But where ever you are, feliz navidad.