Someone once asked, “If you could jump into any book, which one would it be?”
For half a second I considered the world of sparkling vampires, but I can’t do that much overcast weather. I need sun. So my choice was obvious–the world of Harry Potter. And not as a muggle. I need the powers of the wizarding world, of course. No way I’m missing out on cool things like Diagon Alley and Hogwarts.
Recently I had an experience that was straight out of the pages of a novel, and unfortunately, it was nothing like Harry’s world. In fact, it was more like a scene straight out of The Help.
There are plenty of stereotypes about the South. I’m sure you can name them. But some of them aren’t stereotypes. Some are true. Including the ones that involve women in the Junior League.
Before you read any further, let me pre-apologize to anyone who happens to be a member of the Junior League, inlcuding a few friends of mine and my own sister, who is a member of the League in Nashville. Individually, I mean you no harm. Collectively, y’all scare me.
During each holiday season I have the joy and priviledge of being a part of a Victorian group called The Queen’s Carolers. We do parties, events, holiday gatherings, etc, in full costume, of course. It’s really fun.
Recently we were asked to sing at a holiday tea hosted by the local Junior League.
**I am not a member, nor do I wish to be. It’s not my cup of tea, after all.**
Anyway, I was all for it. These gigs are usually not that bad.
But by the time I was finished with this particular gig, I was wishing that Minnie would step into the room and serve one of her “special” pies.
It began when I arrived at the time I was instructed (in full costume, no less). I was immediately pulled into a back room by one of the founding members of the Junior League of America…okay, she was just an older lady. But she told me that I was early. I explained that I arrived at the time I was instructed, and she lectured me about what time my group was supposed to sing. (FYI–I’m not the leader of the group, and seeing as how I was the only one to show up “on time,” clearly some wires were crossed.) Mrs. Founding Member then told me to wait in a back room.
Was she hiding me? I pretended like I was a magical Christmas surprise, not a non-member she wanted to get out of the main room.
While waiting for the rest of the group to arrive, I people-watched through the door as the other members trickled in. Most of them were wise in years, and there was, apparently, a contest to see who could have the biggest hair. Also, jewelry was on display. I’m surprised some of those women could even use their hands because they were so weighed down with costume pieces. And the dress code ranged from casual to elegant–one lady was dressed for a ball, not a tea.
As I waited, several members of the League wandered into the room where I stood because there happened to be a coat rack. Most of them smiled and commented on my “cute” costume.
One woman came in and held her coat out to me. When I didn’t take it, she said, “Is this where you are supposed to hang up the coats?”
I smiled politely and replied, “I’m not sure. But I suppose you could hang it right there.”
I guess she thought the “help” was dressed in costume for the season.
When it finally came time to sing, I was already sweating to death in my costume. When we began, most of the ladies ignored us completely, talking over us and downing champagne faster than I could get out the soprano part for Carol of the Bells. A few of them smiled our way. Some of them even clapped along, but for the most part, they ignored us.
Mrs. Ebenezer Scrooge, clearly not a fan of Christmas carols, shot us a look of death. Barbs from the eyes and everything.
Finally our director began to explain the history of the song Silent Night. His German pronunciation of Stille Nacht wasn’t perfect, and suddenly the room was alive. Who knew we’d walked into a den of German experts? It took several awkward moments of listening to them correct him before they finally let us sing. At that point, the song had lost some of its majesty.
And at the end of our set, most of the women look relieved, but not half as relieved as I was. Only a handful of the women offered us light, complimentary applause. (C’mon people, we’re aren’t half bad as far as caroling groups go. I mean, Disney hired us for the promotion of A Christmas Carol a few years ago. Seriously. We kind of rock–Victorian style.)
Oh, and the one dude in the room clapped. He clearly looked to be having too much fun with all those women.
Needless to say, when it was over, I bolted as quickly as I could. Into the rain. And of course, the parking lot was nowhere near the building. I know this is not the direct fault of the Junior League but it was their event, so…
Yes, yes. I know I’m being a little judgy by saying that these women were snooty. If they had taken the time to notice us, trust me, they would have been judging us too. Just a whole lot of ugly judging going on from all sides. Again, not my cup of tea.
Some of those women were so bitter-lipped that they might not even have noticed Minnie’s “special” pie. You have no idea how badly I wanted to break into a good old gospel rendition of one of our songs. But it might have given some of those old ladies a heart attack.
Share with Me: If you could jump into a novel, which one would you choose and why?