I just spent one of the most fun weekends I’ve had in an extremely long time with old friends and new friends in a little Bavarian style town in the Cascade mountains. One friend, Deb, I met in high school (40 some odd years ago). She became my best friend and even served as my maid of honor at my wedding. The other, Mel, I met as a 10 year old (50 odd years ago) and also went to high school with. They both fell away over the years but now were suddenly back in my life after a nearly 36 year separation! The new friends are friends they’d both known for over twenty plus years. I was invited to come along on their traditional yearly Christmas trek which has been going on for almost as long as they’ve known each other. This little town tucked away in the mountains goes all out each year dressing itself up as a Christmas village with carolers, Mr. and Mrs. Claus and Father Christmas wandering up and down the main street giving photo opportunities to the visitors alongside an assortment of animal characters for the kids. On main street is a town square with a stage located next door to the sledding area for the kids. All the shops along the main street are decked out in holiday style and every shop offers something tempting whether it be clothing, candy, hats, wine tasting or fishing gear, it’s all there for you to look through and wish for or buy. It’s a marvelous place to be during the Christmas holiday and the room we stayed in was right across the street from it all with a balcony from which you could look over the huge crowd that spreads out from one end of the small town to the other during the nightly tree and town lighting ceremony or just stand and watch the entertainment happening on the stage directly in front of you. People watching is one of the main highlights as you look down on all the heads which are covered in a wide assortment of hats, many of them from the crazy hat shop in town where people line up and sometimes stand for hours to get their traditional holiday hat which could consist of anything from a chicken drinking a beer to something the Grinch would wear with stripes and spirals. I even saw a whole Bavarian village go by on the top of several men’s heads as they walked together through the crowd. A marvelous place to reacquaint myself with my friends and get to know new ones.
I quickly found out there are several unspoken but seriously adhered to rules which must be followed in order to belong in this group: Rule #1: drink as much as you want as there is no need to drive anywhere. Rule #2: shop as much as you like when and wherever you like and Rule #3: have the best possible time you can; three rules I had no problem following!
During one of several trips into the shops we ended up in one that sold almost exclusively purses and bags of all kinds whether you were looking for something to go with your Christmas party outfit or something to hike with or put your laptop in. I had absolutely no intention of buying a purse since I already had several I wasn’t even using but to get into the spirit of it all I picked up a bright pink leather purse that, should I ever be interested in a bright pink leather purse, might just be the one I’d buy. As I was wandering around checking in periodically with my friends and their finds one of the workers announced that everything in the store, regardless of price tag was now $21! WHAT!? That $80 pink purse in my hands suddenly became a much less crazy idea and just as I was about to launch out into a search for another purse, one of my companions called me over to a rack in the back of the store. I had mentioned in passing to her I was looking for a red purse so she showed me three. Now I had a bright pink purse and a red one I found appealing. However, she wasn’t done. On the next rack she showed me a lime green shoulder satchel. Now, with no intent whatsoever of buying anything, I was now owned three purses in bright, fun colors. An impulsive buy that turned into a metaphor for the relationships I had at one time given up but now had back with my two oldest friends. Like those three purses when they came together, it was clearly meant to be and I am now one of the luckiest people alive and have the purses to prove it.