Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Christmas at Jo's

For the women in Center Baptist Church, going to Jo's for our December meeting and annual Christmas party is part of our life's tradition. We know we will be greeted by luminaries in the yard as we get out of our cars as well as other outside lights. Inside will be old and new decorations--two gingerbread dolls were new this year--one from a niece and one Jo bought at the first Extension Bazaar recently.

I especially cherish getting to see the annual display of tiny ice skaters from Jo's childhood. Each year they skate on a mirror on a table in the living room. After we have sung from song sheets that are so old no one knows who typed typed them, we will hear a devotion and poem or two and have a business meeting before we move into the family room to enjoy the fireplace and beautiful Christmas tree there. In that room those who have drawn secret sisters will try to guess who they are before gifts are opened to reveal the sister. Last but not least, there will be excellent food because Jo Barger is one of the top cooks and most knowledgable persons about foods in the Midwest. We will move to the game room and find the pool table transformed into a large serving table filled with pretty and delectable choices. Most of us have a hard time choosing between the lime sherbert punch served in Santa Claus cups or the hot cranberry tea, and some of us indulge in both. Doing things mostly the same way from year to year has a certain comforting quality that makes such annual events special enough to bring back former members as well as new. Jo might decide to use a different punch some year, but I hope she doesn't!

Among the new ones attending this year were the two babies born to our church members this year. I know it was an effort for the young moms to bring the babies out, but we had lived and prayed through the two pregnancies with the mothers and we were thrilled to have Bobby Jo and Toby with us in their Christmas finery.

Getting back to our traditional song sheets with the words of carols and popular Christmas songs alike: I can always imagine some harried housewife or perhaps it was a working secretary already putting in a 40 hour week someplace laboriously typing the master copy for the memographed sheets. And then, she used green or red construction backs to staple the sheets on. Thus, they were sturdy and attractive. I wonder when she (or perhaps a committee) did the sheets if she wondered if this job had gotten out of control and she really shouldn't be putting that much time and effort into something for folks outside her own home. At this time of year, many women get trapped in those kinds of extra activities, and they sometimes find their pleasure spoiled by wondering if they should be involved at all. I am assuming whoever typed our song sheets not only must have moved from our community years ago but perhaps has already died. I am so grateful to that person. With the ease of computer typing, we could make new song sheets with half the effort--and someday we may have to--but I would never enjoy singing from the new ones as much as I have enjoyed using the old ones. I am grateful to that unknown woman who put herself out to make them. I think of her as I sing, and I wish I could tell her that her effort is still appreciated.

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