Published in the Rains County Leader on December 10, 2019:
At the end of last week’s column I mentioned that I was planning to be one of the vendors at the Christmas Around the Square event on Saturday. It took a bit more planning than some of the events I’ve done because it was my first outdoor one.
First of all, I had to plan for the weather. I know that everyone thinks the weather where they live is the most unpredictable, but if you’ve ever experienced a Texas Blue Norther and felt the temperature drop thirty or forty degrees in as many minutes, you know that Texas ranks pretty high on the volatile weather list.
I watched the long range forecast for several weeks, and the predicted temperature was consistently in a forty to sixty degree range. Of course, allowing for a ten to twenty degree variance along with wind chill, that could mean anything from a snowsuit in the morning to short sleeves in the afternoon. I settled on multiple layers and moved on to precipitation.
In the beginning, the forecast called for showers – not a good thing when you’re dealing with paperback books. The rain disappeared a couple of weeks before the event, but I felt like some kind of protection was a good idea, just in case. And even without rain, the afternoon sun can make a person look for a shady spot, even at sixty degrees. We had a carnival in our church parking lot a couple of years ago, and I remembered hearing someone talk about buying several pop-up canopies, so I posted on our Facebook page asking if anyone had one I could borrow. Almost immediately I received a response from a friend who had several, and after reading my column last week, two more friends offered theirs.
After the weather was taken care of, my next issue was the table. I don’t set up an elaborate display, but I do need a surface where I can display my books. Everywhere I’ve been before has been indoors and has always supplied some kind of table or desk where I could at least lay out a sample or two, but outdoor shows don’t offer such amenities. That’s not a big problem, because Pastor Jason doesn’t mind lending an occasional table or chair as long as they are returned in a timely manner and in good condition.
The problem is that, even though both our Pontiac and our Kia have large trunks, neither one will accommodate an eight-foot table. That’s when it’s good to have neighbors who have pickups. People in big cities drive trucks, too, but they’re likely to have a bumper sticker that says Yes I have a truck and no I won’t help you move. In the country, though, people who drive trucks seem to like to haul stuff around, even if it belongs to other people. I asked Dirk, the neighbor who I call the Garlic King, if he would mind lending a hand, and he immediately agreed. He not only met us at the church at 7:30 am to pick up the table and chairs, but he also came to the Square at 4:30 pm to help return them. Besides that, he helped us pop up the canopy and take it down – and he brought along three Christmas wreaths to add to my less than elaborate decorations.
At the end of the day, after books were all packed back into the trunk of the car and the table and chairs were back in the Fellowship Hall, I thanked Dirk once again for his help. “I don’t think we’ll have to do this again. If I end up doing more events where I have to bring my own table, I’m going to buy a table like some of the other vendors have. It folds in the middle and has handles like a suitcase so one person can carry it around easily.”
“Oh, I have one of those you could use,” he said. When I expressed my surprise, he said, “Yeah, I keep it around in case we need extra food service area. You can put it in your car because it just slides in behind the seat.”
Yes, country folks are prepared for lots of things, but most of all they’re prepared to help. Don’t get me wrong – I had lots of help when I lived in the city, but somehow it was different. People in small towns seem to enjoy really getting involved. Just one more reason living in the country is a good thing for this city girl.