Advent 2021 – December 8

December 8 – Sue

“I like the idea of celebrating friendship too.”

The next person to step up was another member of the Terrible Trio. Sue Elder ran the museum in town, and had been one of Molly’s friends since before she could remember when. Her mother and Molly’s mother were thick as thieves, so it probably wasn’t surprising that their daughters were too.

Sue’s dark hair was cut in a sleek bob, and Molly strained to see what ornament she’d brought. Not the tea cup, she was pretty sure, probably for the same reason why Molly hadn’t chosen that one. The cups were very delicate, and although now she knew that Jade wouldn’t let any of the ornaments break, she hadn’t known that beforehand.

“I’ve lived in this town all my life, and I’ve never wanted to live anywhere else,” Sue said, cupping her ornament in her hand. “One of the things I like about Carter’s Cove is how everything is treasured, no matter how big or small. I don’t know if that’s just us, or if the town encourages it, but I appreciate it more than anyone can imagine.”

When the grey clouds drew away from her, Molly and Schrodinger were back at the Daughter of Stars Middle School, although this time, they were outside. It was a cold, snowy day, and judging by the age of her former self, Molly figured they were about 12 or 13. Past-Molly, Past-Sue, and Past-Lai were seated on swings, but they weren’t swinging. Rather, they were watching a pair of cardinals flutter around a tall bush with dark berries.

“That’s a black chokecherry,” Past-Sue said. “They are good for the birds because their berries last all winter.”

“Can they really survive on just berries all winter?” Past-Molly asked.

“They can, but they eat other things too,” Past-Sue said. “Mom says they like seeds and suet too. And they will eat things like peanuts and popcorn.”

The three looked at the birds for a while in silence. Then Past-Lai said, “We still need to figure out what kind of project we’re going to do for the Winter Solstice.”

Past-Sue sighed. “I wish Noemi was here this Christmas. She always has good ideas.”

“Yeah. It just doesn’t seem like Christmas without her,” Past-Lai agreed, and Past-Molly nodded.

Where’s Noemi? Schrodinger asked. Why isn’t she with you?

“If I remember correctly, her family went to her grandmother’s that Christmas,” Molly said. “She didn’t want to go, but her mother insisted.”

Well, I guess that’s okay. Family is important.

“Yes.”

Molly watched her younger self and two of her three best friends as they tossed ideas around, none of them really happy with any of them. In the meantime, the bright red cardinal male and his brown and red mate continued to pick at the berries, both of them chirping occasionally, as if asking the other a question.

Then Past-Sue’s eyes widened. “I know! Let’s do a present for the cardinals and the other birds!”

“How?” Past-Molly said, frowning. “I mean, what do you get for birds?”

“And how is that a project for Winter Solstice?” Past-Lai asked practically.

“Because it’s a decorated tree!” Past-Sue said, bouncing excitedly on her swing. “What if we do strings of popcorn and cranberries, and make ornaments out of suet and seeds? I bet my mom would help us, and then we can take pictures and make a whole presentation!”

Past-Molly and Past-Lai looked at each other, and then at Past-Sue. “You know, I really do like that,” Past-Molly said. Past-Lai nodded, and Past-Molly continued, “I bet my mom would help too.”

“Let’s go find out!”

As the three ran out of the playground, the scene faded, and Molly was back as Sue held out a bright red cardinal ornament to Jade. “This town taught me that the best way to be a friend was to offer friendship to others,” Sue said, looking at the cardinal. “And that everyone, no matter how small, deserves friends.”

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