Christmas, not holiday, parades abound in the Shoals this year. I hear comments a lot that there isn't anything to do here in the sticks, but I'm able to find a lot. I was able to make the parades of my hometown of Tuscumbia and down the road at Cherokee, and the boat parade on the Tennessee River. The rain started just as the Color Guard marched down the street at Tuscumbia's parade, but no one went home. I missed Sheffield’s, Muscle Shoals, Florence and Leighton’s.
The calendar of Christmas events has been overflowing with plays, symphony, concerts, and it never fails that I have three places I would like to be at the same time. The flu and sinus season has started early and our hospital has been full. My co-workers and I have been staying very busy.
I was able to make the Tennessee Museum of Art’s Trees of Christmas opening reception. Twelve Christmas trees are on display, all decorated by local individuals, civic groups and businesses. One was a Barbie doll tree. I collected Teddy bears and wasn’t into Barbie and didn’t realize there were so many different dolls.
Christmas in the Country at Lagrange College Site is a fundraiser for the preservation of the site. One day was dedicated to schools to show children how life used to be. The next day was a repeat for the general public, only homemade crafts were added.
The Plantation Christmas annual fundraiser took place at the Belle Mont Mansion. The home – thought to have design roots to Thomas Jefferson or one of his students – was saved from ruins and is slowly being restored. The home is decorated as in the 1800s, and volunteers are dressed in period costumes. Ballroom dancers and musicians grace various rooms in the home. Next year, I will have to be in costume also. I had more questions this year from folks used to seeing me photographing events, why I wasn’t part of the cast? I’m thinking maybe Maw Kettle?
My final event of the year was the Dickens Christmas Ya’ll in Tuscumbia. The Christmas decorated town was full of Dickens characters, vendors, runners and a horse-drawn carriage pulled by Clydesdales, Clyde and Pride. A Dickens dinner – complete with Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" on stage – was a sell out. Ivy Green, the home of Helen Keller, and the depot were decorated. Spring Park was full of lights and the Christmas train transported riders around the park and through the lights.
I finally got the Hooligans to attempt their Christmas card photograph and write their letter to Santa. Needless to say it turned into a fiasco just like the previous three years. They had a lot of fun. Blackie and Patches almost got into a fight over a Santa hat in my garden room. I shoved Blackie into the house and slammed the door until they both cooled down. The letter? Well, I’m sure Santa will put them on his naughty list. More on the Hooligans come Christmas.