Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Christmas (04/25/05)
TITLE: The Welcome Signs
By Pat Guy
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On the east side of town, on a large corner lot, stands a 25yr. old Blue Spruce tree. The Blue Spruce compliments the newly built City Hall.
On the limbs of this Tree, are permanently attached wooden ornaments, hand carved, by one of the townspeople chosen by lottery every year. The ornaments depict the Reason for a December Birth 2000yrs. ago. The Tree depicts how the townspeople felt about Miss Mimi.
Miss Mimi felt she had built the town. The townspeople just let her think she did.
Her life was quietly spent walking the streets of the Community, keeping the Namesake of the town alive.
Since the planting of Miss Mimi’s Tree, the townspeople have been careful about their city. Sidewalks, a library, swimming pool, youth program, youth sports, ball fields with lights, and two playgrounds complete with equipment. Miss Mimi attended each town meeting. “Her” children were going to have “safe” equipment, and activities to keep them “busy.”
Cars passing by, wave to those walking the sidewalks. Children pass old Victorian houses as they ride their bikes to school. Engraved stone street posts dot the city, and the graveyard lies in the middle of town, next to the church. Miss Mimi walked her route everyday.
The Chief of Police is known by his first name, but still addressed as “Sir.” The librarian calls when your new book is in – before it’s processed. If a book is overdue, “You can just pay it the next time.” If the bank teller makes a mistake, the money is returned. If there is trash on the ground – you pick it up. Miss Mimi taught “her” children values, under the shade of her Tree, or while they played on the “safe” equipment at the playground.
Yep, Miss Mimi felt she had built herself a good town – and the townspeople let her believe it.
And she was real proud of her Tree. She would check on it everyday. She knew every ornament, each person who engraved them, and the year they were engraved. But always, before she left to walk home, she pulled out her “hankerchief” to put a shine on the granite plaque that bore her name in honor. Miss Mimi was real proud of that plaque.
But the one accomplishment she was most proud – the one time she did get a little testy – was during the discussion about the City Welcome signs. She insisted on three. One for the North and South end of the city limits on the main highway, and one in front of City Hall. They had to be monuments, works of art, and worded just right. The townspeople felt too many words didn’t look right, and the monuments too expensive. Miss Mimi didn’t care. Miss Mimi didn’t budge. The townspeople gave in.
The years have brought their losses and gains. Time has added a diversity of people that share in the richness of this community. And Miss Mimi’s signs remind us of what our town is all about.
“The City of Christmas Welcomes You.”
“A Friendly Town….
Where we remember the Reason,
For this Sacred Season,
Miss Mimi’s raising a second generation now, by the stories we tell, in the shade of her Tree, as our children play on the “safe” equipment, on the playground. As they swim, play ball – stay “busy.”
“Miss Mimi built herself a good town.”
That’s what it says on her monument, in the middle of town, next to the church.
*There really is a city named “Christmas” in Florida that had a 25yr. old Christmas tree with wooden ornaments permanently attached – it recently died. Disney has donated another tree.
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