Holiday Craft Fair (Part 4) A Christmas Tale

Shana entered the macrame forest. It felt more like a kingdom. She vaguely recalled watching a documentary about the golden age of macrame, the 1970s, and it felt as far away as the reign of Charlemagne.

She found herself staring up at a green macrame Christmas tree that flowed down from the ceiling. It was decorated with hundreds of macrame ornaments. A macrame nativity scene caught Shana’s eye. It was life size and the Three Wise Men looked like owls.

The variety of items made from macrame staggered Shana as she meandered through the forest: apparel (including lingerie!), totes, purses, plant hangers, mobiles, necklaces, bracelets, hammocks, dog leashes, table runners, baby baskets, belts, earrings, lamp shades and the wall hangings of all shapes, sizes and designs. There were even animal designs: owl, whale, raccoon and beaver, yes beaver! Shana walked up to the beaver, touched it, pulled out the piece of beaverwood from her pocked and pretended to gnaw it like a beaver.

Was she losing her mind? Or finding something else?

Shana saw a dozen things she wanted to buy, but held off. She was going to commit suicide, right?

The exploring continued until Shana saw a white, orange and red macrame canopy that suggested a vendor or the kingdom’s creator might be lurking inside.

Shana approached and saw a woman sitting at table, knotting three cords, each a different shade of blue. Sleeping under the table were two black mutts wearing white macrame collars. The woman was dressed in a purple and black macrame poncho and was probably 60 years old. She had striking red hair and was fit as a fiddle.

“Hello, can I help you find something?” said the woman.

She kept knotting as she talked.

“I came to Gold Beach to kill myself,” said Shana. “I drove up from the Bay Area.”

“Well, pick out anything you like, for free. My present to you and then we’ll talk. My name is Nancy and the dogs are Perry and Della.”

“Okay. I’m Shana.”

Shana returned with the beaver.

“I love this thing,” she said. “And I don’t know why.”

Shana instantly realized it was the only tactile thing she had ever loved and that she hadn’t said the word “love” aloud since she was a child.

“You’ve got to name her,” said Nancy.

“Dolly,” said Shana, not knowing where the name came from. “Your stuff is incredible. I want to learn how to do this.”

“Sure,” said Nancy. “Come around the table and we’ll get started. It’s pretty slow at the moment.”

“Can I start with the beaver?” said Shana.

“Of course. It’s Oregon’s state animal, you know?”

Shana didn’t know, but now she did, and in the coming years she would come to know everything there was about Oregon because she would never leave the state and she and Nancy would become business partners and best friends, and Shana would build a tiny home overlooking a beaver dam.