Toters Book Club (Terrific Old Teachers Enjoy Reading)
Yesterday was my book club Christmas luncheon, and it was one of our best yet. When we formed the group years ago, we wanted a neutral place with no food, cooking, cleaning or burdens for anyone. We meet at the library conference room, bring our own drink if we want one, do books only and go home with nothing but books on our minds. However, once in the summer we might meet for a tea luncheon and in December we meet for a nice lunch somewhere decorated for the season. Our book for December might be holiday or not, but it is always smaller or lighter since everyone is extra busy at this time of the year.
This year we went to Higdon Florist for a second time. The food is simple, sandwiches and soup only, but we eat at a huge cloth covered dining room table set among the flowers and festive decorations. It is restful and seasonal, a delight for us. This year’s book choice was both The Thanksgiving Visitor and A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote. Most of the women had read nothing by Capote and were pleasantly surprised by these beautifully written stories. I read them every year and have never tired of their profound and poignant simplicity. Capote had a strange upbringing in the South and grew into a troubled gnome of a man, but his peculiar life sharpened his storytelling.
A Christmas Memory is an autobiographical story of Truman and his elderly, rather simple-minded relative and their practice of baking fruit cakes together. Several readers cried at the end; Katie admitted she sobbed. So moved by the fruitcake story, she was inspired to bake each member an individual fruitcake. They were delicious!
These delightful Christmas stories launched us into sharing our own Christmas memories of how we celebrated Santa Claus as children, of our favorite gifts, and many memories of our childhood dolls. We shared and laughed for a couple of hours before returning to the bustle of shopping, grocery buying, and errand running. Those few hours were true Christmas because they involved food, laughter, friends, and a sharing of time and self with one another—the greatest gift of all.
Do you belong to a book club?