Life in the Shadows

After consulting her attendance book, Ada Sanderling has determined that Edward “Boy Ed” Hotchkiss, owner of the Hotchkiss Filling Station, hasn’t attended church services since 1997, the year she began keeping records. “You can’t worship and pump gas at the same time,” Boy Ed answered when confronted with the accusation. According to Miss Sanderling, Boy Ed’s wife, Edwena “Girl Ed” Hotchkiss, rarely misses a service.

Minister Westminster announces that the subject of this week’s Tuesday evening Bible study will be sin.

Several people have written in recent weeks to ask where I get my ideas, a question probably better addressed to an author of fiction. Though it would be nice to be creative enough to make this stuff up, when you live in Sycamore Shadows, imagination is unnecessary and material is plentiful. Usually after a walk around Marsuoin Park, a meal at Sotty’s or the Girded Loin, or a visit with a friend on their porch, I have enough material for months of columns. It’s deciding what to leave out that’s difficult.

A curious citizen wonders why Ethel Mayberry put a “Missing Dog” sign on the bulletin board at Freese’s Grocery when she knows it got ran over last week.

Willie Fimple is wants to know, “If a married man puts sunscreen on the bare shoulders of a woman who is not his wife, has he committed adultery?” Minister Westminster was unavailable for comment, but according to Jiggs Rabourne, church custodian, “He’s off to a good start.” Why are we discussing this in December?

You know the Christmas season has arrived when the employees at Mannikin Brothers Store begin wearing wear top hats to work.

Solly Crumpet says it’s strange to think that nearly everyone in town has been to Cleveland, but no one from Sycamore Shadows has been to outer space, even though it’s closer than Cleveland.

Shady Glen says he hates woodpeckers.

Retired English teacher Miss Helen Fetters, the “Atilla of Orthography,” is hosting a Christmas party on December 16, 7:00-9:00 p.m., at the Chibble Apartments meeting room. All former students are invited. I wonder how many are brave enough to attend.

Ada Sanderling says that the holiday angel-hunting display at Ballard’s Guns & Bibles is in poor taste, and that “feathers could be put to better use.” What use would that be, Aunt Ada?

Two citizens, both of whom wish to remain anonymous, report seeing an apparition in an upstairs window of Kentunhe Hill last evening, despite Nippy Keene’s assurance that his house is “not haunted by anyone but idiots who believe in ghosts.” The two citizens declined comment when asked if they believed the “apparition” to be Aedre.

Miss Ruth Churchill of this town announces her engagement to Mr. Roald Depp of Castor. I wonder if she’ll shave for the wedding.

This Christmas season, I urge you to remember a frequently overlooked component of a joyous and meaningful holiday: the recipient. Without their willingness to accept gifts, no one could experience the joy of giving. For those who selflessly accept many more gifts than they give, my warmest appreciation.

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