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Christmas Tea At Mrs. Jewel Armistead’s House
~~Two Hundred Methodists and You~~
by Beverly Carol Lucey

Five genteel women put together quite a spread one December Saturday. They are all from the Methodist Church in town. The big one.

If your friend Marianne from back home who went to Wellesley were with you, you would notice a whole lot more. These things need a discerning eye. Marianne knows her grape shears. Every piece of serving silver from here to Snellville is shined up right pretty and in use. They use the ornate punch bowl. They serve lots of fresh hot teensies and fluted cheese weensies. Phyllo mini crusts hold a dash of filling; micro candies and marzipans in holiday shapes are arranged in tiers. You think the idea is that once something approaches the mouth, it is never to reappear half eaten--hence, small is good.

Every room is thoroughly decorated from the cornice to the corners, and then decorated for Christmas. Bowers and bows and bulbs. St. Nicks from all over the world on mantles. Yule type villages all aglow and settin’ on cotton.

Serious window treatments. Crystal ornaments hang from tassels off the tables. These five women who organized the afternoon were gracious and smooth and did a whole lotta work to make it happen. Over 200 invitations went out and most folks accepted, rambling in and out between 2--5. You speak to a woman of 94 who thanks God every morning for giving her the strength to get up and says she’d been living in the same home for over 76 years now. She thinks. She wonders if you know the Beaufurts over in Almon because she wants to know what happened to their daughter that Went North. But you are sorry you can’t help her.

Jewel has always had a fondness for poodles so she was more than pleased to see you bring a big black one home named Miss Bessie Smith. None of the neighbors seem to know why you named your dog something other than Mitzie or Cookie. They don’t listen to black blues singers from the 1930s.

Jewel calls you, Huh-nee. Jewel tells you “Don’t go so soon.” Jewel says, ”Come on back and see us.” You think she doesn’t want you to leave, but then you remember that everyone says that down here. You didn’t spill anything. You did OK in your first social outing in the South.


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