The Gingerbread House is here. Next Friday the Haunted House will visit with us.
I was part of a third grade class room project.
I was part of a village.
It all started in the back of a fluorescently lit class room. The table had paint stains and scissor marks from endless years of art projects. It was laminated wood-grain with a metal edge around it.
The ingredients were all edible. Jelly beans, birthday cake glitter. Frosting, ginger graham crackers and toothpicks to shore us up.
Little candy canes and snow men made of frosting.
The kids were very good to only eat the left-overs. The poor teacher saw all the children gracefully through their sugar crash.
The girl who worked on me was a chubby girl with very dark hair, dark brooding eyes and out of place freckles.
The other kids were nice to her but far too cordial.
She had a lot of trouble getting my sides to stay up, like a house of cards I kept collapsing until a small boy in a worn out sweatshirt came over and helped. He held the sides up while the girl stuck toothpicks in. Graham crackers don’t hold up to the toothpick drilling. We all crack under pressure. A third kid came over and showed the first two how to use the toothpicks to prop the crackers while the frosting hardened.
At long last they settled for a flat roof. They called me the big box store of the Gingerbread Village.
The class decided to put all of us gingerbread buildings and houses together on two tables side by side in the lunchroom.
Some of the houses fell apart in the hallway during the transfer and the kids quickly glooped them back together on the spot.
Other grades displayed their own villages in the same room.
The next day was a sort of open-house at the school. Parents came and the children presented their villages. Each classroom elected a mayor who proclaimed village-hood followed by a brief overview of the display.
The best village got a big blue ribbon. Then the best house in each village and the most unique use of eatable candy and frosting were each awarded blue ribbons.
My girl got a ribbon because I was the only big box store. She smiled broadly and the kids who helped her joined her with hugs.
The girl’s parents cheered and clapped. But, the girl flinched when her mom came up to brush her hair away from her face to take a photo.
I was not the only house who noticed. The whole town, village felt bad. We know her father saw it and at least two teachers quickly looked away.
We all went home with the student most responsible for our being. The girl’s father put me in the back of the van but forgot me when they arrived at her home.
I stayed the night back there, my seams hardened and the next morning the little girl ate half of my roof and all of the jelly beans on the way to school.
__ Gingerbread Big Box Store