Monday, December 7, 2009

The Village People

This is the story of the towns folk of Snowden. A little town quietly nestled in a verdant and fertile valley of farm land. Like all small towns this town has it’s main characters though there are so many more people we have yet to meet. Today I would like to introduce you to just a few of the interesting people who populate this sleepy little town. While I understand that it is impossible to truly know any one soul let alone do justice to their complex and unique personalities I hope to at least give you a peek into the lives of some of the people many of us see as we pass by the holiday displays but rarely take the time to look closer. Perhaps if we did dare to peek inside those warm glowing windows we might find someone just a little like ourselves.

Please meet Poor Mrs. Henderson. She tells everyone that Mr. Henderson has passed away even though what he did was a lot more like run away —with a stripper named Rocky that is. Rocky wasn’t named for her good looks or even her good times but rather for the inventory of her head. Everyone in town knows that Mr. Henderson ran off with a stripper. Everyone in town attended his funeral and offered Mrs. Henderson their most sincere condolences.

And then there is Old Mac Gower’s farm. He grows Christmas trees and no one fully understands how this is done as a profession but grow them he does. Mrs. Mac Gower raises silkie chickens and keeps a garden. Her personal favorites are Brownie and Buttercup. The others are Hazel and Henny Penny. She always seems happiest when working in her garden or watching the antics of her beloved silky chickens.
Last winter their place was flooded out by the great 100 year flood which hit for the third year in a row. At this rate they should be good for the next 300 years or so. Local farmers took in Mac Gower's animals till the water subsided and they could go home again. The townsfolk banded together and helped them get back on their feet and out of the mud.

Jake and Sara, that's them there on the bridge beneath the falls. Jake is new in town. He recently moved here from the big city. He and Sara have been dating steadily since last spring. He thinks that Sara is everything a small town girl should be, wholesome, honest and pure. And Sara intends to keep it that way as long as she can keep that stupid Scott Jacobson quiet, not to mention his pesky sister Marla. Besides, it doesn’t count if your drunk anyway. And how was she supposed to know that those cute little Jell-O poppers were spiked with vodka? Everyone knows stuff like that doesn’t count. Not really count anyway.

Mr. & Mrs. Johnson founders of the Currier and Ivy League School. They are sitting on the park bench near the back of the campus. They are high school sweethearts who married in their Junior year of college. They worked their way through school and opened the Currier and Ivy League school for juvenile delinquents. They believe that with the best educational opportunities children from wayward backgrounds will turn into productive members of society. They work hard at setting a loving example of upstanding behavior within a loving and respectful environment. They also understand the importance of sending a strong and powerful message. Mr. Johnson throws a pretty mean eraser coming in a close second to Mrs. Johnson’s skills with a ruler. There is rarely any trouble out at the Currier and Ivy League school. Besides it’s all the way out on the edge of town. The ruckus usually dies down by the time any news of it makes all the way into Snowden proper. The troopers only had to visit a few times.

And then all about Santa Claus and his Homies. The big man in the red suit otherwise known as just plain Santa in these parts has lived here before there was even a foot path cutting through the fields. He and his little Homies have always kept to themselves up there on the hill doing who knows what at all hours of the day and night. You can hear all sorts of hammering and such with sounds of power tools the likes of which no one can identify. He’s been brought up on charges several times for disturbing the peace and few times for running some sort of holiday militia. The charges were dropped though because no one could find any actual laws against owning a cache of plastic guns or Transformers. No matter how disturbingly annoying they were. The new comers in town are from the big city and have never trusted the old guy. One year Santa received a Christmas card with one of those modern messages that read “Watching you and your's this holiday season” He figured it was a new version of the more classic “Wishing you and your;s a happy holiday season.” Santa just laughed and rubbed his beard as he said “Well, times sure are changing boys.” He didn’t understand these modern holiday sentiments but his Homies were catching on and they started spiking the reindeer food with E-Lax. Oh, it was going to be a very special holiday season alright.

Icicle Falls is the tallest and most beautiful falls in the valley. The lodge was built around the same time the hydro plant was put in. Both were built by Worthington Myers and his partner Ida Smalls. Some years later the fish shack opened up down below. It is a favorite place for romantic moments and when the ice takes the pond in winter it is the very best place in the world to ice skate. A few years ago someone wanted to open up a casino down below but the deal fell through. No one could quite understand the need for a gambling establishment when everyone knew perfectly well that the gambling was good as it gets whenever you ate the fish at Fishy Abner's Fish Shack. Boy that ol’ Abner sure knew how to roll the dice with a fish order.

Emma and Sam, they are the little skaters beneath the falls there next to the fish shack. Emma is eight and has a mad crush on Sam who is ten. Sam isn’t quite sure who Emma is but will live to rue this day about eight years from now when Emma is a very sweet sixteen with a very long memory. Sam is currently pretending to tie Emma’s ice skates which she thinks is absolutely the most romantic moment in her entire life. And no doubt it is…so far. What she does not know however but will soon learn and never forget is that adorable Sam Masterson is tying her skates together so that she won’t be able to follow him around the pond like a love sick puppy. Poor, poor Sam. In exactly eight years and six months he will be begging like a starving dog while a beautiful and bewitching Emma refuses to even throw him a bone. Sam will get the gift of hindsight this Christmas-- to be opened at a later date.

Then there is the strange little train depot with its tiny trains from somewhere beyond the hills. The people there must be tiny indeed. The train depot is actually never used, on the inside. At least not by any of the locals. Mostly its for show to impress the visitors passing through. You see the depot was built years before when Claus was the only resident in the area for miles around. When the town first began to grow the trains only ran once a year and even then only on the coldest day of the year. Most folk had no reason to take a train that only went in and out of the mountains. They went west into the big city and never even considered the train or the depot. As the years went on the train began to make more frequent stops into the town of Snowden and it was soon discovered that the train and depot were built for very tiny people. It turned out that there was no way any normal sized person would ever fit inside one of those tiny little cars. This oddity was clearly another one of Claus’ suspicious holiday militia dealings. The towns folk were none to pleased with this and determined to let him and his tiny militia people know just what kind of town Snowden really was. So every year when the tiny trains begin to run, a group of towns folk gather out in front of the tiny depot to sing “Watching Over You This Holiday Season” “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Trouble” and the ever popular "Look Who's Coming to Town."

Mr. Emmet Simmons the photographer and his horse Nikon are always on hand to snap photos of the cars cargo and any shady characters. Occasionally out of town visitors will mistake Mr. Simmons for an actual photographer and line up to have their photo taken with the ever photogenic and personable Nikon. To keep up appearances and not blow his cover Mr. Simmons usually obliges and actually follows up by sending the portraits. After all he says "They did pay for them." Unfortunately Mr. Simmons is a lousy photographer and the portraits are rarely in focus unless of course there happens to be a train passing through at the time. Then somehow the depth of field is terribly out of whack so that no one is in focus, at least not the people posing for their picture. You can however clearly make out every single detail of the little passengers on the tiny holiday train.

Andy and his son Drew cut their own Christmas tree every year. Now that Drew is old enough to cut his own tree they have added a new tradition. Father and son decided a few years ago that they would cut two trees. One for their own family and one for another family who might appreciate a little extra help that year.

Then there is Carol from Carnation and her little flower shop. Carol is from the big city east of Snowden. She worked in an office for most of her adult life and she hated it. Carol always wanted to own a flower shop. It was her lifelong dream to live in the country and be surrounded by beautiful flowers. The idea of owning her own flower shop was just like heaven. She could spend her days surrounded by flowers creating beautiful arrangements and best of all she could share that beauty and peace with others. She saved and planned for years. She studied flowers and crafted her imaginary business plan. Then one day in February on a cold, bleak and grey Tuesday she walked into her boss’ pretentious office and handed him her resignation, walking away without a word. She hasn’t stopped smiling since.

Next is Mr. Lupine’s pet shop and veterinary clinic. He grew up on a farm in Snowden. He has lived around animals all his life and never once thought of being anything other than a vet. He knows every pet, livestock or farm animal there is in the entire valley. He has even mended the local wildlife on occasion. He saves his extra money every year to buy feed for those wild animals who might otherwise go hungry on those extra snowy days. It has also been rumored that he secretly leaves bales of hay for struggling horse owners. No one knows for sure but there are never any hungry horses in Snowden.

And finally today, the Crack-in-a-Cup coffee shop. It is where I spend my days sipping a hot cinnamon Dulce latte. I try to avoid the lemon poppy seed muffins. Its something I do for all of us. Really, no one wants to see that. So I sit here with my steaming cup of crack in a cup and I watch the people go by. Sometimes even the tiny train passes through on it’s way back into the mountains puffing along its shiny little tracks. The children play in their eleborate snow forts acting out wars of innocence with snowflake weaponry. Lovers kiss beneath crystal waterfalls and insist on believing wholeheartedly in forever. The small town of Snowden carries on in all its quiet mysteries and complicated simplicities. Dreams are planted and some of them grow. Some of those dreams lay dormant for years only to burst forth without warning into unimagined splendor. Small towns like this live within in us all. They are the fertile soil of the heart and mind where Christmas has a magical way of living year round. The giving spirit, the hopeful soul and the ardent dreamer all come together during Christmas. It is a time when we all become little children and passionate lovers, choosing to believe wholeheartedly in forever just one more time.
A special thank you to Rosey Pollen at Dung Hoe who showed me how to put snow on my holiday blog.


  1. As I am reading this fluid, witty and touching text or tale really, I am reminded of Wilder's play 'Our Town'... also the movie 'Its a Wonderful Life' comes to mind. Our lovely narrator LeSan takes us down the snowy cotton streets of a wonderland of her own creation, where everyday little people live, work and play. All the human traits live here in love, betrayal, adventure, art, generosity of spirit and narrow prejudices of those we do not understand or cannot put into our molds. Santa can laugh it off. Magic is everywhere! (Yes please do stay away from those poppy seeds!) A wonderful village! I understand how these folks might be very demanding of your time. Oh My! and surprises too! I am so honored! Gosh! I can see how this village production must give you and all (including this writer) much joy! I love the times you take us into real time ... or so I think with the photo of a neighbors barn, then back into the imaginary quaint village with the golden glowing windows and shiny waterfalls. Truly Wonderful LeSan! Me thinks you are touched with a bit of genius. Brava!! Silent Night!(lovely rendition) Peace! Good Will! Kram, Carol

  2. Oh I love your little town LeSan, it's so sweet! I want to dive into the photos and meet everyone, have a go on the slide and skate on the pond. You've cheered up my day :)

  3. What a great village. I bet you had a wonderful time 'researching' all the citizen's lives.
    Great pictures of Snowden, and the beautiful area of the world you live in.

  4. Oh LeSan,

    I love your creative writing and letting us have glimpses into the many lives of the residents of the Christmas village.

  5. LeSan,
    I want to live in Snowden. You made it come alive! Thanks for enchanting me with this make-believe wonderland!
    Truly a work of art.

  6. A truly beautiful and enchanting story! You seem a kindred soul. And I think I know where your imagination took root.

  7. LeSan, how lovely to read your characterizations for the people of such a quaint town, as I hear the soft music and take in the gentle snow flakes (here at your blog, and through my window, here at home). Very nice!

  8. Oh, LeSan, I have lived in little villages like that, and I am here to tell you; IT IS ALL TRUE!
    You weave a wonderful story into your little village. I appreciate you taking time to do it, and I am so appreciative of your talent. You do have a gift! Thanks for sharing it.

  9. Dear LeSan ~ Once again you have mesmerized us with a lovely story. A Norman Rockwell little village. There may not be too many of these little places left, but what a joy when we get a glimpse of one. It does our hearts good.

    Thanks for a wonderful virtual get-away to Snowden. It is a lovely village.

    Thanks also for the snow tip. I added it to my blog too. It's the only snow we'll see.

    I love your pictures. The one with the green barn, oh my. And the misty scenes. I can almost feel the peacefulness and solitude.

    Hugs ~ FlowerLady

  10. LeSan, there is snow everywhere now. The pictures are so beautiful and the atmosphere is great. Can I come here to stay during Christmas?

    By the way, my Wordless Wednesday post today is dedicated to you. Enjoy!

  11. I'm honored that Buttercup, Brownie, Henny Penny and Hazel got to be part of this enchanting story. Just like everything else, you are an amazing story teller. My favorite Snowden story was Emma and Sam's. If Sam tries hard enough maybe Emma will forget...maybe not...

  12. I guess the picture perfect look of the village isn't as perfect as it seems. Lot's of real people with real stories. Who knew there were strippers, jello shots and juvenile delinquents behind the innocent facade of the village?
    I really enjoyed the stories and pictures!

  13. This sounds like a wonderful town. And the pictures sure reveal that, too. Thanks for sharing all this.

  14. Thankyou for sharing your little magical village...what fun and charm!

  15. CAROL~ Your comment was so wonderful to read and I savored ever word of it. I didn’t realize how much I had infused this little Christmas village with characters until I sat down in front of the computer screen. The real time photos sort of seemed like they needed to be there somehow. The valley our view looks onto seems to mirror every Christmas village I have seen. The little village is set up to reflect in the window that looks out onto the town so it seems natural to connect the two.
    I want to thank you for your compliments, they were extremely generous and I can’t begin to tell you how flattered I am. Of course I understand that it is the season of eggnog and perhaps some of us may have had a few nogs too many while visiting blogs. LOL Seriously, thank you. I hate to admit that I have never seen or read Our Town. I know of it only vaguely. It’s A Wonderful Life however is my all time favorite Christmas movie right after the Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

    NUTTY GNOME~ Nutty the slide is all yours! Watch out for those kids with the snowballs though. They play baseball in the summer so they’ve got a mean aim. I wonder Nutty, if you were to live in Snowden who would you be? What would your profession be? My mind is awhirl with ideas!

    LINDA/PATCHWORK~ Researching their lives? Oh too funny! Like I told Carol I didn’t realize I had given them lives until I sat down and then suddenly there they all were. I did have a lot of fun doing this post though. Who knew all these little people were living on my holiday table display? Thank you for coming over for a visit Linda.

    AZPLANTLADY ~ Thank you very much for saying that. It was fun being allowed to let my imagination take a spin on the ice with this. As a kid I always wanted to live in one of those wonderful cozy villages with their warm glowing windows where everything looked safe and perfect.

    ROSEY POLLEN~ Wait a minute don’t you already live in Snowden? LOL You have one of those warm cozy little windows that I always wanted to live in. Nope, you do live in Snowden. I have seen you at the corner market buying apples and pears. And you never have the right change!

    BRENDA/ COZY LITTLE HOUSE~ You do know where my imagination took root and I believe we are kindred souls. Funny how the internet connects people isn’t it? I’m glad you came by for a visit.

  16. JANNA QUALMAN~ I am so pleased that you stopped by. The blog snow was just to darn cute to resist. I picture your favorite little corner that you remodeled, so cute with the country mix decoration, warm wooden floors and you, looking out onto a gentle snowfall. How wonderful!

    JANIE~ I will be over with a coffee cake in one hour, put some coffee on. You can tell me everything. Just between us gals. No one else has to know. Do you have some paper? Oh, never mind. I’ll bring my own.

    FLOWERLADY~ Rainey I am so happy that I could send a little virtual snow your way. Rosey was a dear and gave us the link. The blog snow was too cute to resist. I am so glad you enjoyed my silly ramblings. I had no idea where I was going to go but those little people just seemed to be there. We moved out here just between two little villages like this a few years ago and love it. I think you are right that they seem to be a dying breed and that is a terrible tragedy. I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity to live here now.

    AUTUMN BELL~ Autumn Bell you are most welcome to visit for the holidays. You will have a great time. We’ll go to Leavenworth for the holiday lighting, get a tree at the local tree farm and I’ll even take you to see the Christmas ships and bonfires. Thank you so much for the post dedication it was a very sweet surprise!

    ANGELA~ I couldn’t help but think of your little silkies when it came time to talk about the farm. There is a little figurine of a woman feeding chickens and you naturally came to mind. I understand that Brownie is getting along very well now in his new home at your Mom’s place. I am happy to hear that. Oh, and your comment about Emma and Sam made me wonder about their story, hmm….

    CATHERINE~ You totally cracked me up when I read your comment. Everyone else saw this quaint little village and you put the Jello-O shots, strippers, and juvenile delinquents in one sentence. LOL It made a whole different picture. I am laughing as I type this. Thank you for that. I can just imagine the expression on your face and tone of voice as you stand there with your hand on one hip saying this. Too Funny!
    --whew…wipes tear from eye and tries to stop laughing….

    EILEEN ASTELS WATSON~ Thank you so much for stopping in. I like to imagine that this is a wonderful little town and like the rest of us it has its warts and little secrets but overall a pretty good character. I’m glad you came by for a visit.

    KIKI~ You are most welcome and thank you for taking the time to visit. I really appreciate that you took the time to comment. I am so glad that you did!

  17. Holy Snowden! That is one serious village. And one serious creative writing talent! Jello shots indeed.

  18. Terry how great to have you stop by! Thank you. Glad you got a kick out of the Jello shots. I had no idea all these people were living their lives out on my Christmas display table. ...I hope they don't expect me to buy them all presents.