Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Christmas with the Nitwitts

Robert Dalby brings yuletide cheer to his latest Piggly Wiggly installment

In his Piggly Wiggly series, Robert Dalby has created the slightly magical town of Second Creek, Mississippi, where miracles are fairly commonplace. And the latest in the series, A Piggly Wiggly Christmas, is no exception.

New bride and Second Creek first lady, Gaylie Girl Dunbar, has the idea to host a Christmas-caroling event in the historic downtown square. Most of the local church choirs eagerly sign up. Sure, there are a few glitches. All the choirs want to sing “O Holy Night,” and Lady Roth, Second Creek’s only fake royal, wants a solo. But with the help of her sister Nitwitts, a group of wealthy, slightly eccentric widows, each problem is solved to everyone’s satisfaction. Nevertheless, a disaster destroys not only the plans for the Christmas Eve concert, but perhaps the future economic life of the town square, as well.

This being Second Creek, of course, readers are never in doubt that things will come out right in the end. As the mayor, Gaylie Girl’s husband, points out, miracles happen in Second Creek. And he should know: he fell in love with Gaylie Girl more than fifty years earlier and waited patiently throughout her own marriage and widowhood to make her his wife. “I don’t live in an ordinary town,” he says. “I live in Second Creek, and I’ve seen too much happen here over the years that convinces me that there’s more to life than conventional wisdom has to offer.”

Gritty realism is not the world of Robert Dalby’s Piggly Wiggly series. But after a day of fighting mall crowds looking for this year’s must-have gift, there may be no better holiday treat than settling down with a cup of coffee and a Santa cookie and spending a few hours in Second Creek.

Robert Dalby will read from and sign copies of A Piggly Wiggly Christmas this week at public libraries in Crossville, Murfreesboro, Collierville, and Clarksville. Check Chapter 16’s events section for details.

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