Chapter 11, Mrs. Poppy’s Party
Preparing for Christmas is big in the Ray household and there are many secrets in the mix. Everyone is waiting to see Margaret’s face when she gets a talking doll on Christmas morning. In addition to her new English bob, she has big eyes in a serious face. The long black lashes seemed not so much to shade them as to make them bigger and brighter (foreshadowing!). The Rays trim the tree on Christmas Eve just like my family. Betsy hangs her new red ball. They add strings of popcorn and cranberries. Finally, the candles are lighted. Bits of live flame danced all over the tree, and it’s a Christmas miracle that the house doesn’t burn down. They read Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
The next day there are stockings and gifts and the first appearance of joke presents. Betsy got one of her own much-chewed pencils “With Sympathy from William Shakespeare.” Betsy receives a copy of Little Men. It is a happy day, and there is no post-Christmas letdown because the following day is Mrs. Poppy’s party.