Monday, December 19, 2011
Each year we went to the Christmas Bazaar held in the high school gymnasium. Mom dressed us up for photos with Santa. When we got too old for Santa, we dressed ourselves in our holiday best. One year I wore a deep green velvet dress my mother made for me. It was the prettiest dress I'd ever had. It was long, to the tops of my shoes with white buttons and a high neckline.
Years later, I found the dress in the bottom of my mother's cedar chest. My brother, bless his teenage heart, had cut squares out of it to use for cleaning his guns.
The grade school kids sang Christmas songs. Frosty the Snow Man, Silent Night, Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, Up on the Housetop, one of our favorites. A couple years in a row, David S. would put on the reindeer suit his mother sewed for him and entertain the crowd while we squirmed on the wooden bleachers and sang Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
In high school, I dated David S. for two years. I rarely teased him about his days as Rudolph, but if I could have gotten him to put that suit on just once....well......
The gym's wooden floor was protected by canvas tarps stretched across them and taped down. You had to be careful as you walked in your dress shoes. Many a kid caught their toe in a fold and went down, scattering candy canes and other collected loot when they tumbled.
There were tables set up in large squares and moms stood behind them. I can't quite remember what was on the tables. Crafts, I think. We kids walked around in clumps, chattering about the upcoming school break and wishes for snow. We shared our hopes about we hoped we'd find under the tree. We told on ourselves about snooping for gifts.
My favorite part was the Cake Walk. Folded metal chairs were set in a circle and you walked around it music played. When the parent who manned the record player lifted the arm and stopped the music, you looked at the number on the chair in front of you. If your number was called, you won a cake that somebody's mom had baked and brought wrapped in a box or in a Tupperware carrier. At the beginning of the night, I liked to look at the tables holding all the baked goods. My sweet tooth has always been one of my downfalls.
At the end of the evening, we'd gather near the lobby. Our mother would stuff us into our coats reminding us to make sure we hadn't lost a mitten or a dreaded knit cap. We'd go outside making smoke with our warm breath in the cold air. Stars flickered overhead in the winter sky. We'd climb into the car clutching our loot with our mittens and watch as Christmas lights made smudged kaleidoscope shapes on the fogged car windows as we made our way home.