Sunday, December 8, 2013
Our county is small, just around 4,700 people or so, which works out to around 2.5 people per square mile. I can drive six miles to the post office and not meet one car coming or going. Something I just read says we aren't even considered rural, but a frontier. Who knew there was something more rural than rural?
So when our community has an event, it will be well attended, even if the temperature outside is 19 degrees. It's a chance to meet up with family and friends, have some Frito pie or a tamale, do a little gossiping, a little people watching, and buy art, crafts, and baked goodies from the folks at the tables and booths lined up on the elementary school's gym floor. Santa makes an appearance, too, so there are kids, lots of them, waiting for the old guy to show up.
This is my third consecutive Winterfest, always held the first Saturday in December.
The first time I went alone, knowing no one, feeling like everyone was leaning over to their friend from their perch on the gym bleachers, asking, "Who is that?" I felt self conscious, alien, and alone and quickly bought some baked goods and got the heck out of there.
Last year was a bit better, but this year was different. Maybe it's because I went with a friend, but that was only part of it. About half way around the gym I heard someone call my name, "Bridget! How are you?" Vicki was at a table selling baked goods with some high school students earning money for a trip to Europe.
A few steps later, Darlene and Jonathan stopped to chat. There was a short conversation with Veronica, whose hoop house we helped to finish last spring. Roger and his sister stood behind a table selling their Rancho Carmelo goodies and bath and beauty potions. Across from Roger, John and Pam's daughter displayed her home baked designer cupcakes.
I sat down at the bleachers and chatted with Rita who sold us some beef cattle about a year ago. She introduced me to her mom and I immediately missed mine.
From my perch on the bleachers I scanned the gym and spotted Betsy, our driver to Winterfest, and a new friend, Barbara. We all have the initials B.B. and may start a club.
After a lunch in a local diner, surrounded by friends both old and new, I went back to the ranch realizing something had changed.
This place feels like home now.