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This past week had the overpacked quality of an overnight bag tested in its capacity to handle a four day stay. “I’m putting everything on the calendar,” my husband warned. “Everything.” Notifications from his smart phone soon overflowed my screen.

For two days, the tree we picked out at Carl and Dorothy Young’s farm waited in the garage before we could return the family’s attention to it. Our daughter’s priorities were such that she commandeered all the working holiday lights to string upon the porch and lilac tree in the front lawn. “No worries,” I told my husband as he looked up from empty hands, “we’ll pick up more lights at the hardware store.”

“The orange store or the blue one?” he asked borrowing of a funny line from Doktor Kaboom’s recent visit to Dayton.

“Weder,” I came back. “The yellow one!”

Jeremy took the kids to the village hardware store while I turned into the doors at the Presbyterian church. They would shop and I would join the rehearsal of Handel’s Messiah with the Yellow Springs Community Chorus and Orchestra. Inside the church, voices and instruments raced along Handel’s runs of notes; back in our living room, my family ran two new strands of colored LED lights round our happy blue spruce. Marking their success, our daughter added one green striped candy cane to the tree’s lit branches and, in that simple but elegantly ordained state, I found the winking tree when I returned.

Tuesday’s rehearsal at the church went well. However, I was nervous for Saturday, a day packed and perhaps over promised. At 8:30am, I was scheduled to open the Winter Farmers Market at the Senior Center; at 9:45am I was due for a full rehearsal of the Messiah with orchestra, chorus, and soloists. The day’s density did not diminish after the morning. It further contained a dance recital at noon and a play date for our dog Bellatrix at the later afternoon.

In August, we decided as a collective to open the winter farmers market one month early rather than wait for our usual start time in January after the new year’s arrival. I coordinated the new start dates with the senior center; since October ,we’ve been working towards opening the new season 9 December. The next big question was how to get the word out. With the help of Robert Hasek and Matt Minde, I prepared ads for the Yellow Springs News…one for the annual holiday flier and another for print. Together the vendors and I printed up flyers, updated websites, and worked our social networks. I even printed out two sidewalk banners at Spark Place, the maker space upstairs at the Xenia Community Library, using their enormous printers.

We loaded my car Friday night—EBT card reader, receipt book, quilt, tarp, notebook, pencils—and checked in at the senior center to minimize any surprises. We I would take first shift opening the market. Jeremy would take second shift and close the market at 11:30am.

Saturday was chilly. A biting 25 degrees. I set my alarm for 6:45am. As I prepared to leave the house, the minutes flew by. I was grateful for the time we spent the night before. Three…no four…vendors converged on the center as I unlocked the door. We took to our standard tasks of rearranging the furniture and raising the room’s temperature working in concert to ready the market. Just 15 minutes later our first customers arrived and were greeted with a great shout of joy and even a big hug. Ten regulars arrived by 8am and 20 people were ready to shop when the market opened at 8:30am.

Winter had arrived and we were ready.

The great room was once again full with voices and bustle. I admit difficulty separating myself from that room but soon I transitioned and joined other voices raised in another great room within the village. You can join us Sunday night to hear the community’s rapturous welcome to the season. Handel’s Messiah begins at 7pm. Come and we will raise hallelujahs.


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