Saturday was the day we had been working towards on successive Tuesdays. It was the day of the Christmas Fair at church. And I had no idea what I had gotten myself in to.
Perhaps I should back up. On Friday night, I stopped by the church to drop off my cookies for the bake sale table. I went in through the back door, into the basement, and found myself surrounded by people putting out table cloths, putting up dangling snowflakes, organizing ornaments for sale, putting price tags on wreaths, and one nice lady trying to move a table by herself. I quickly set down my piles of cookies (9 dozen to the church, 4 for me, 20 for Mike – that’s a lot of cookies!), and helped her with the tables. This particular lady, Nancy, had been very nice to Kate and I during our forays into crafting at the church. She was responsible for the silent auction, and discovered that she needed another table. We set up the table cloth for it, and once I had put my cookies in the choir room along with the piles of pies, cakes, cookies, and other sweets, we started arranging the items.
I’m not entirely sure how I got myself so involved in this whole thing. Oh, wait, yes I do. Kate! She is in love with Christmas. When they talked about having workshops for making Christmas crafts, she knew we were going to have to be involved!
Next thing I knew, I had been volunteered to work at the silent auction with Nancy. Kate arrived at the church on Friday night about when I was going to go home to drop off her cookies. I was glad to see her, as it would help me actually walk out the door. We had to get sleep so we could be ready for Saturday’s insanity!
Kate came by at quarter-’til-nine to pick me up. She said she would have made me drive, but it was cold out, and her car was already warm. After a tremendously long three mile trip down Main Street, we were pulling into the parking lot, which already had several cars lined up in it. We made our way inside, and were immediately greeted by insanity.
One of the fair co-chairs had also been very nice to us on our Tuesdays with crafting. Her name is Kathy. There are a lot of Kathy’s at church, so everyone calls her by her full name. Kathy saw us come in and said, “You need aprons.” I had heard about these mysterious aprons, but didn’t know what they were or where to get them. Luckily, as Kathy wandered away to solve thirty-five other crises, another lady who we hadn’t met before showed us the way. She brought us to the chapel (which I didn’t know existed), where piles of aprons with a graphic poinsettia on them were laid out. Kate and I both chose a large apron, due to it having pockets, and went back out into the main hall of the basement.
We immediately started helping Nancy make sure that everything was set and ready to go in silent auction land. She had been up late the night before, preparing, so everything was in fact in perfect order. The bake sale room, however… they desperately needed help. Kate and I both went in to help put things in baggies and stick on price tags. Kate eventually got herself roped in to working at the bake sale, smelling sweets all day long.
At five-of-ten, the minister went up to the microphone and we all prayed together. Then everyone hurried themselves to their spots (I joined Nancy and another lady who’s name I don’t remember).
“Open the doors!”
They had tried to warn us about the people. That when the doors open they just come pouring in. But it really was a sight to behold. The silent auction tables were very near the doors, but blocked off a bit by the jewelry table. Those poor people were massacred! Their artfully arranged necklaces, bracelets, rings, and brooches were in disarray in seconds. But the money started pouring in!
It took people a little while to figure out what exactly our corner was for, but once they did, we had a constant stream of people. One of the first people over was a kid who found a gift certificate for a local fancy restaurant. He was very excited, and wrote down a bid for exactly how much money he had in his pocket. Throughout the day, he periodically checked back to make sure that his bid was still winning. He told us that it was his mother’s favorite restaurant and that he wanted desperately to take her there for Christmas. We spent most of the rest of the day quietly urging people to bid on other things.
The two most popular items were a handmade, reversible fleece blanket with Red Sox logos emblazoned all over it and a gift certificate for the 111 Chop House in Worcester. I decided that I was in the perfect position to snipe anything I wanted, but also decided that it would be unfair for me to snipe more than one thing. So I made it my goal to get the 111 Chop House certificate. I also put one bid on a pretty glass Nutcracker ornament, which was one of a set of five pretty ornaments. Those were also quite popular.
I did successfully snipe that certificate, for a 10% discount of actual value, and I also “win” the ornament. After we announced the “winners,” and the fair started winding down, I brought Mike out to check out the wreaths. He selected one of the ones Kate and I didn’t make, but we forgave him because we didn’t make any that had the particular color ribbon he liked. At this point, I realized that I forgot my check book.
But with the magic of cars, I went home to get my checkbook, wrote out a couple checks to the Women’s Fellowship, pouted about how I had accidentally gotten involved in a “Women’s” group (ugh), and went home to crash. Okay, not really crash, we spent the rest of the day preparing for the purchase of our first live Christmas tree. And that was awesome. And here it is!