So what does reading have to do with fashion? Those two subjects don’t usually go together, unless, of course, you’re reading about fashion, which I wasn’t.
First, I’ll tell you about the reading. I started my day very early, for a non-morning person, by driving to Barrow Elementary School in Athens to participate in their Guest Readers event. The parking lot was almost full when I got there just before 8 AM. On my way in, I watched three extremely tall athletic-looking young men emerge from their vehicle wearing University of Georgia sweatshirts. They looked like basketball players and this was confirmed later by Andy Plemmons, media specialist at Barrow School, who organized Guest Readers Day.

These tall guys were just the beginning of the big crowd of community leaders and local celebrities and parents and grandparents who gathered in the media center to look over the tables covered with books waiting to be read to kids in grades one through five. Cardee Kilpatrick, former District 10 Commissioner and Mayor Pro Tem of Athens during the time I was a councilmember and Mayor Pro Tem of Winterville, and I enjoyed a brief visit as we posed for a group picture before heading off to the classrooms, escorted by student guides, to read.

I brought my own book, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson, to read to Ms. Slongo’s fifth grade class. It’s one of my all-time favorite holiday stories and the kids seemed to enjoy it, too. After reading them the first chapter, I asked if they had questions, and boy did they! This class had read my book, Gone From These Woods, together a few weeks ago, and their faces were familiar to me from my recent authors’ visit. I enjoyed chatting with them about reading, writing, lots of bad cousins and a few good ones, and, of course the Herdmans from the Christmas Pageant book. I left them my copy of the book, so they could finish reading it together in class. Once you’ve heard chapter one of Barbara Robinson’s classic and hilarious story, how can you not read on?

So what does fashion have to do with all of this? Nothing, of course. But do read on.

Back in Winterville, I stopped by our favorite gathering place, the Winterville Post Office, a hub of local news and sometimes gossip, to pick up my mail. The mayor was there, chatting with Bobby Cook, a member of the Commercial Bank’s board of directors, a contractor, and former car dealer. Jim Mercer, the mayor, was attired in his usual plaid shirt jacket and casual pants. So, no this wasn’t the fashion part of my day (sorry Jim). And then I headed over to Watkinsville, fifteen miles down the road, to deliver a signed copy of Gone From These Woods for the authors’ basket raffle at their holiday market event this coming Saturday and Sunday (let’s hope it doesn’t snow too much this weekend). Things looked festive in the OCAF building, but no, that’s not the fashion part of this blog post.

Fashion came at lunchtime when I attended the Athens YWCO Holiday Fashion Show Luncheon at the Ann Florence Center. My high school classmate, Kitty Meyran, is the director of the YWCO. Our table included classmates Jan Lanier, Donna Griffeth, Eleanor Mason and Eleanor’s daughter-in-law. We were treated to a real fashion show, emceed by Sonia Steffes of Sonia Says. Beautiful models, Amy Malone, Brenda Blanton, Crysty Odom, June Turnell, Kiz Adams, Mary Mills, Matt Dixon, Patsy Grimes, Rubelene Norris, Tammy Gilland, Tracie Hedges and Winona Evans entertained us with dazzling holiday outfits and accessories. At one point in the show, Sonia surveyed the room to see which tables featured ladies who had “accessorized.” Okay, our table wasn’t mentioned. Maybe we need to work on that.

On the way out I enjoyed talking to Lola Finn, a retired principal and former member of one of the writers groups I belong to. I also got to catch up with Pat Brittian, another retired principal (from Winterville School) and Cissy Alexander, a member of the Athens High School Class of ’68.

I think this was the first time I’ve ever combined reading with fashion in one day. The fashion luncheon was a fundraiser for the YWCO and Guest Readers Day at Barrow Elementary raised my spirits considerably when I saw the interest and excitement about reading and writing and bad cousins and the Herdmans in Ms. Slongo’s fifth graders. Not a bad way to spend a Thursday in December. Now it’s time to get back to writing . . . but maybe first, I’ll accessorize.

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