This is a confusing time of year for me and Lucille Bell. For instance, someone brought a tree INDOORS and nobody has gotten in trouble over it yet. Today a miniature village appeared, as it does every year like Brigadoon, and Lucille Bell packs up her bags and moves in until it goes away. She only leaves it to eat or use her litter box.I don’t know what is going on so I have asked in a guest speaker, Patti, the woman who lives in my house to comment.
Patti: thank you Gracie. The tree is a hard one to explain as is the fact had we celebrate two major holidays by believing strangers break into our house in the middle of the night and one of them is a giant rabbit. I’m going to let explanations of those go by for the moment, but there is another thing on my mind. The miniature village.
I don’t know what this tradition is all about, but I can tell you this time of year you will find miniature villages everywhere. These feature happy little winter scenes from a bygone era with little people throwing snowballs and attending church.
I, too, have a miniature village. I inherited it from my grandparents. I think they gave it to me because of all the grandchildren I liked to play with it the most. I would sit in front of it for hours playing with it and rearranging the houses. There is an ice pond that my grandpa made from an old mirror and carefully etched its shape into a stryofoam base and then grandma would spray fake snow around the edge. To make the village look more realistic grandma would bring in twigs to stick around the village like trees. All the houses are wooden blocks with cardboard wrapped around them. There is a smaller church, a gas station, a diner, and numerous houses. A larger plastic church would light up the scene with a soft glow when you plugged it in.
What made this village unique was except for one lady on skis, there are no people in the village. My grandparents were big animal lovers, so instead animals are what you find in my village. Some of the animals defy explanation as to why they would exist in a winter scene like the alligators, frogs and turtles; but there are also bears, deers, skunks, chipmunks, ducks and various birds.
After I inherited the village I was a little embarrassed by the alligators in particular, but I would never think of leaving them out. I would, however, hide them under a tree. The first time I plugged in the church, I came into the room to find it on fire. I used the wrong wattage bulb. Still I will not replace the church with its melted roof.
Over the years the village has suffered a lot of wear and tear. As Gracie says, Lucy likes to encamp in the middle of it, and though you might not think sleeping on top of steeples and pine trees is comfortable, she perseveres. Unfortunately, she moves and as a result there has been some damage when things get knocked to the ground. The deer family in particular have suffers with their long delicate legs, so now only one of them has a full set.
At some point my own family decided that giving me new houses to add to my village would be a good present for me. So, now I have fancy ceramic houses that light up without conflagration and a whole set of happy villagers doing happy things.
This week, I found I was a little resistant to setting up the village and we are only days away from Christmas. Honestly, I would say crabby would be a better description. What was wrong with me?
Today I forced myself to set up the village if only for Lucy’s sake, and then it all became clear. Although, I love my family’s thoughtfulness in trying to add to the scene, because they know how much I value my village, I want my old village back. The village I remember from my childhood. I left all the ceramic houses and happy villagers in the box and only put out what my grandparents gave me. I did put in a ceramic bridge from the new set, so the turtle would have a place to hide from the bears and alligators, but everything else is from the original village. I even put the baffling alligators front and center for the first time this year.
I look at my village and feel happy. To others my village might look a bit menacing with the bears, skunks, legless deers laying on their sides, alligators in the ice skating pond and fire damaged church, but to me it is joyous. I love that the pond still fits into the styrofoam and that the styrofoam itself is so pock marked with holes from places grandma stuck twigs into it that there is no level surface left for a bear to stand.
I was having trouble finding my holiday spirit this year. Today I found it.