On December 1 at 4:30 and I was alone in the shop nervously waiting for the festivities to begin; for the good times to roll, for Holly Jolly to begin. In other words, for the shit to hit the fan. I know I sound like the Grinch. I feel like the Grinch. Am I actually the Grinch? Possibly.
Holly Jolly is the joyful Black Mountain kick off of the Christmas season. Thousands of people descend on downtown Black Mountain where the merchants stay open late and give out free refreshments and groups of kids perform on improvised stages all over town. Visitors come from all over the region to take part in this event, and local people come out rain or shine. Many country people from areas unmapped also show up for this event to gawk at life in the big city of Black Mountain. This year there was even a man leading a duck on a leash.
I dread this event. I know it sounds mean, but I don’t like hoards of people in the shop all at the same time. If I were more conscious of inventory, I’d probably be able to report exactly how much merchandise is stolen. Actually I prefer not to know. Ignorance is certainly bliss! I did get a letter in the mail yesterday from a young woman apologizing for stealing a ring and enclosing $5 to pay for it. “It was wrong of me to steal! Please forgive me,” she wrote.
I bought cartons of crappy candy at Hopey and put it out and kids ran in and out grabbing some, but sadly, there is still a great deal of it left. I’m begging customers to take some.
Ruth Pittard, town icon and leader of the Love movement (she stands at the corner of town square every Wednesday holding up a sign that tells passers by to love one another) helped out in the shop which improved my mood. And because one of the stages was located in front of the train deport, there was a phalanx of parents crowded in front of the shop entrance. This effectively kept a large number of people from coming into the shop at one time, so there was a reasonable number in the store at any one time.
Plenty of people I know came by to wish us well and do some Christmas shopping, and I ended up enjoying myself. I had several bottles of good Sauvignon Blanc hidden under the counter, and I offered some to the adults. Most of the other shops gave out cookies, and people were happy to have something to wash that nauseating sweetness out of their mouths. I, of course, joined each customer in a drink, which made the night pass more quickly.
Today is the annual Christmas Parade, which is very cute and very small town. Every Cub Scout and every Day Care group march in the parade, and people on the makeshift floats throw candy at the folks lining the streets. Little kids rush out into the street to scoop up as much candy as they can. This will be Max’s first Christmas where he knows what’s up, and he is psyched to get candy which he plans to store in his cute Santa hat. I gave him and Lucas each an Advent calendar with chocolate inside each door, and he couldn’t understand why he couldn’t open all the doors. Tonight he should be particularly wired, although Kate reports that “wired” is his usual state.