91. Spotlight on Crepuscular Meadows: The Anything Goes Church revisited

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91. Spotlight on Crepuscular Meadows: The Anything Goes Church revisited

Mrs. Mumble decided to visit the Anything Goes Church to see how they were proceeding with their plans for the Autumn festival.

The writer has already mentioned the Anything Goes Church in an earlier spotlight, and what he said earlier bears repeating:

" one building over from the Town Hall on Walter Street was the Anything Goes Church.

It had once been a Methodist Church, but you know how it is when some of the most important parishioners get bored with things and decide to move to the small town next door because they think they can be big fish in a small pond. Well, the outflux from the Methodist Church went to a federated church in which Baptists rubbed elbows with Unitarians, and Quakers had to deal with pretty much any other denominations that wanted in.

This had an unexpected boomerang effect. The Methodist Church, feeling unwanted and neglected, decided to put up the big umbrella as well. Heck, they welcomed people who weren't even Christians. Kwanza parties? Sure, why not? A couple of Jewish families took turns introducing the congregation to the finer points of Rosh Hashana and Hanukkah."

It was an attractive L-shaped building that was never finished the way the builders intended, due to lack of money. (This was understandable, as they were building in the late 1930s, when no one had much money.) The congregation had been around since 1830, so this wasn't their first building, and what the builder had managed to build (a rectory and a community center, which was used as a sanctuary) were certainly very attractive. Made of stone and stucco, with an attractive slate roof, the building was comprised of two stories. The ground floor was of fieldstone.

Mrs. Mumble found two pumpkins on the front steps of the community center, and a large poster on the door, which said: "Come to our Autumn festival on September 22. Prizes, live music, exhibits of local garden products, and a raffle to benefit our overseas charities. Suggested donation $5.00"

This sounded like a reasonably fun event to attend, Mrs. Mumble reasoned. But what was that about the local garden products? This sounded like a harvest festival, which would have made sense for a country town where most people had gardens or farms, but she didn't know anyone in Crepuscular Meadows who grew vegetables, or at least not anything worth showing off at a festival.

Then she remembered that there was a greenhouse in town, run by the people who lived next door to the cuckoo house. Geppetto Conti's brother Guido owned it, but was no longer involved in the day to day operation of it.

As greenhouses went, it was in an out of the way place, but Guido sold his produce to the local variety stores like the one that Jim Betts owned. Did the greenhouse also grow pumpkins and other large, showy items that could be displayed at a harvest festival? Well, they wouldn't have to be grown *in* the greenhouse. If there was garden space next to the greenhouse, they could grow there.

On a hunch, Mrs. Mumble hurried back to her house (as fast, that is, as her sore joints would allow), picked up the phone, and called up Guido to ask him.

"Why, yes, we donated the pumpkins on the church steps," he admitted, "and we will be showing our best eggplants, broccoli, squashes, and a very large field pumpkin on the day of the festival."

Mrs. Mumble couldn't remember whether she had ever noticed such a festival before. She had done some gardening in her youth, but had restricted herself to flowers. Yes, that must be why this festival had eluded her.
It wasn't on the radar for the local flower gardeners. Plus, she suddenly remembered that she had never been a member of the congregation, or indeed *any* congregation.

She made a note to attend it, and decided to go around town suggesting that other residents check it out.

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