A few weeks ago Brooke and I went ” antiquing” in Walterboro… and had such a good time! In one store a little book (literally 6 ” by 6″ ) was seating on a table. I took one look and knew I wanted to read it. The writer was Jan Karon… author of the At Home in Mitford series with Father Tim . ( The series I read decades after it first appeared …bringing so much joy to so many readers… including myself.)
If you have twenty minutes…. you can read this delightful little story that leaves a smile tugging at your face with a life lesson worth remembering.
I will give you a short synopsis of the story… but nothing takes the place of reading it yourself …presented as only Jan Karon can write it.
The story begins in the home of Gene and Esther Bolick in the fictitious North Carolina mountain town called Mitford. It is the day before Christmas Eve… the day Esther goes to the store to get the ingredients she needs to make her famous two/layered orange marmalade cakes for seven lucky residents.
By the next afternoon, Christmas Eve, the seven cakes will all be sitting on the counter ready to put in the car for delivery following the 5 0’clock Christmas Eve service.
Oh how she would love to buy a package of the beautiful intricately cut paper doilies to put under each cake but the package is four dollars… and she can cut out her own cardboard doilies for free… frugal she is… still a deep sigh escapes her imagining them under her beautiful orange marmalade cakes.
A thought then comes to her… she has been making these cakes for years… has the cost for all the ingredients gone up over time and if so… how much? Surely not much over four or five dollars a cake.
Esther wakes her husband, Gene, up from napping on the recliner and asks him to help her figure out the total costs. He knows better than to argue so he grabs his calculator and lists the costs of the ingredients for seven cakes.
All goes well until Gene asks his wife what she wants to figure her time at? At her puzzled look Gene ( who had managed a warehouse for 37 years) repeats that she can’t get a ” realistic bottom line” without throwing in her time.
She settles on $15 an hour plus electric costs for heating the oven for several hours. When Gene calls out…$ 43 dollars a Pop” … they both scream in unison !
Immediately Esther starts shortening the list until she is down to one cake… even Father Tim and Cynthia don’t make the cut!
To settle their nerves… Gene turns on the television and a children’s choir is singing old favorite carols. Esther closes her eyes and suddenly each of the seven recipients emerge from the past… Esther remembers their heart-felt tears and smiles of sheer delight, their stories and how that cake has become their Christmas… the one thing they look forward to all year.
Esther listens to the children sing 🎶 ” How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given, so God imparts to human hearts… the blessings of his heaven.”
The next afternoon Gene ( with a hidden grin) loads all seven cakes in the car and grins even bigger when he sees his wife admiring the new paper doilies under each cake before she closes each lid. She only says” What difference does a piddling four dollars make in the grand scheme of things?”
After all, it was Christmas.
So until tomorrow…
Today is my favorite day -Winnie the Pooh
My two little neighbors ( Andrew and Avery) showed up yesterday bringing me a bag of goodies but before I looked inside when I asked what was in the bag… in unison, they replied ” LOVE.” ( they were right)
I invited them in and they gasped… ” Wow … this sure is a big room… then Avery asked ” Is it Santa’s workshop?” Made my day in so many ways!
A message from Bonnie James, a post reader, I have never met… was at Erskine College, for a musical concert her granddaughter was participating in ( her boyfriend played the trumpet.) Even though it was rainy and chilly she strolled the campus and commented on its beauty too… her sweet note made me nostalgic all day… remembering some of the happiest moments of my life spent there! Thanks Bonnie for sharing your first Erskine experience with me! Merry Christmas!
Beautiful blog! Miss you!❤️🎄❤️