Tuesday past at Needlework Night was the annual post-holiday Leftovers Party. We hold two of these each year, one the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, the other the Tuesday after New Year. Each needleworker brings some leftover food—the rules are very specific: no cooking; no prettying up; just haul out the plate with the cling film cover and bring it along—and drink.
After New Year, each attendee also brings a leftover present for the Rude Santa gift exchange (the one where you can steal each other’s presents).
So no one, least of all Jack (who had to fly solo that night because I was out of town) thought anything about the brown paper-wrapped package sitting on the end table alongside one of the shelves. The Needleworkers pulled leftover Christmas crackers, ate cheese ball and fruitcake, and traded stories of in-law hells, house guests from hell, and drunken office party hellraisers as they swapped crockery, sweaters, cookie tins and other “I don’t want this” presents accumulated during the 2012 holiday run.
But as the party ended and everyone began putting on coats, pulling off their paper crowns, and tucking their new gifts for old into their needlework baskets, the package still sat there. Jack picked it up. It definitely contained books.
“Anybody forget this?” he asked. All demurred. Jack shrugged and tore open the paper.
You guessed it: Fifty Shades of Grey, the trilogy.
“All right, ‘fess up. Who left these?” Jack said with a laugh, waving them above his head amid the women who form Big Stone Gap’s library board, hospital auxiliary, and church vestry committees for every conceivable denomination.
They all looked shocked. As if, said their lightly mascaraed eyes beneath the sensible pageboy haircut variations.
So, we have another set of Those Books in the bookstore—or had. Someone bought them Friday afternoon, half off retail since they were used. There were some yarn strands left as bookmarks in a couple of passages, but in a small town, it doesn’t do to pay close attention to who’s working with which fibers. Live and let knit.