Ina stood alone in an out-of-the-way corner by the men’s shirts so that she could watch the children play with the toys on the large table. Every year before Christmas the Orofino Mercantile welcomed the children to play with a selection of toys. Ina supposed it must generate sales for the store – or at least goodwill. Her heart went out to the young mothers who also stood watching their children. Just looking at them, she knew she was not the only one whose Christmas would be skimpy this year. She hoped that this table of “played with” toys would be given to needy children on Christmas Eve.
Christmas in town was so different from Christmas in the country, mused Ina. Goods in the stores, the hustle and bustle of shoppers, decorations here and there, carolers singing on the street corner – all served to announce the holiday season. Back at her country home, all was quiet and ordinary until Ina would make certain that Christmas was a memorable occasion for her family and friends.
Ina shook herself from her reverie. Shirley was off on a secret mission of her own, and Ina must finish her list as well. She had just stepped into the aisle when she came face-to-face with Nina Portfors. She and Nina were old friends. In fact, Ina’s daughter Pearl was married to Nina’s brother Al, so they had family in common and were glad to see one another.
Nina said she was anticipating a fun Christmas with her little granddaughter, Harriet Lee, just a year and a half old and such a delight! Nina continued that Harriet was already talking intelligibly but laughingly related that she sometimes confused words, as little ones do. At present Harriet's word for “Grandma” was “Banana.” Ina told Nina that she, too, looked forward to sharing Christmas with her granddaughter Sadie and about the rag doll she was making for her. As they parted, they wished one another a “Merry Christmas.”
|Kathy, c. 1952|
Little did these two dear ladies imagine that before another twenty years would pass, they would have a granddaughter in common.
Shopping finished, Ina and Shirley met Ed at his car for the return trip to the farm. It had been a most satisfying trip to town. KW