The Shoals Celebrates Christmas 2015

Reader Contribution by Mary Carton
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In my neck of the woods, we celebrate Christmas. It’s called Christmas here, not Holiday. Many activities around the area have been going on and I’ve been busy attending and photographing them.

First up was an old fashioned ‘Country Christmas’ at the old Lagrange College site near Leighton in November. Next up was the various Christmas parades in the Shoals as the cities of Tuscumbia, Sheffield, Florence and Muscle Shoals are called. I was able to make it to the Cherokee and Tuscumbia parades. Park Blvd in Sheffield revived their neighbor candle light parade after years of inactivity.

Plantation Christmas at Belle Mont mansion. Built between 1828 and 1832, it is thought that Thomas Jefferson or one of his associates had a hand in designing the home. This is a major fundraiser for the restoration of the home which was crumbling when it was donated to the state. Ball room dancers and characters dressed in costumes of the time greet the many visitors and tell the history of the former plantation. Decorations consisting of a red cedar tree with handmade paper ornaments, fruit, cedar, holly, cotton, and other natural materials were that found in the home during its heyday.

The Tennessee Valley Museum of Art Trees of Christmas’ opened last week. The museum is filled with trees decorated by various clubs, businesses or individuals of the area. Next year my high school class is doing one with a theme of The Age of Aquarius since that was our prom theme. Now we need to start finding items from the seventies for it.

This past weekend Tuscumbia held ‘Dickens Christmas Ya’ll. Festivities started Friday night with a Dickens feast with all the characters of the Christmas Carol at the head table, ballroom dancers, and carolers. Saturday, the characters walked the streets posing for photographs with the many visitors. An old fashion carriage ride and the snow making machine were very popular even though temperatures were in the seventies. I had to chuckle when I went by a catalogue return store and there in the front door was a snow blower. Ivy Green, home of Helen Keller was also decorated in a style of that when she was living in the home. The weekend finished up with a Dickens English Ball at the Winston Home, the center building of Deshler High School. Built in the 1830’s, it was ordered burned by Union commanders during the War Between the States. A comment is written on the basement wall what the soldier thought about that idea. Later in 1874 a tornado hit the building and the stairs collapsed on Mrs. Winston killing her. Her spirit still lives in the building now used for social events. If not invited, she takes offense and has been know to spoil things.

The season wouldn’t be complete without going through the Wrights place. They were voted the best Christmas light display in Alabama.

My last photographing event of the year was Christmas at Pond Spring, home of Fighting Gen. Joe Wheeler. He is the only one in US history to be a general in the Confederacy and then the U.S.

The Hooligans have been working on their letter to Santa. I decided for this year’s Christmas card bows and garland would be worn for their picture. As with the last four, the pictures were all bloopers. I put a bow on Patches, then Levi, and as I was trying to get wiggle worm Blackie’s on, Patches already had Levi’s in shreds. In less than two minutes all the bows were history. So with three new bows and some garland, we tried again

Hooligans’ 2015 Letter to Santa

Dear Santa, we have been really good doggies this year. Mom says we haven’t been and need lump of coals and switches in our stockings. We love sticks, but can’t figure out what coal is.

That skunk that we caught trespassing kept throwing his tail up at us and wasn’t nice and we decided he needed to leave. It got behind some of Mom’s pots and refused to leave. We had to forcibly remove it and when he went over to Grandmaw’s place and we decided to chase it off from there. After all we have to protect her place also. Trying to get it out of her shed, we accidentally grabbed the siding when it slid under the wall into her shed and got under some bags of pine mulch. We helped scatter it for Grandmaw while we were chasing off the interloper.

Mom says we’ve been bad. Blackie won’t come and eat when Mom calls her, but she needs to check out the barn for mice first. Levi crawls in Mom’s lap when she gets home from work and fusses that he is getting her clothes dirty. Levi is just trying to get that hospital smell off of Mom. Patches keeps poking Mom in the back when she is getting food out of the wall bin. She just wants to be sure Mom doesn’t forget her. And can you believe she was fussing about us dragging mulch up the front walk? Here we are camped out protecting the house, and the pine tar stuff sticks to our hair like glue. Mom says we dug up some of her flowers. We were chasing after a critter and we can’t tell what is flowers and what isn’t. We did get those pesky moles, some snakes and some critter Mom called Alvin. We left our spoils of victory at the end of the driveway so Mom could see how we’ve been protecting the farm.

Mom says Patches hasn’t been telling her the battery was dead in her collar and sneaking out. She just didn’t want Mom to worry, and she didn’t until one of the neighbors was a stool pigeon. Mom thought she had spoiled Patches’s fun, but the collar wasn’t working and she had fun visiting until she was squealed on again and got a new collar.

So you see Santa, we’ve been good doggies. We need toys again as some critter walked off with our stuff from last year. Mom says not to bring Patches one of those tires with the rope as Patches like to whop Mom in the knees with it. Blackie wants biscuits that aren’t healthy. Since she has been having trouble with allergies, Mom won’t let her have wheat cookies, beef or chicken strips or apples or tomatoes. Blackie was pulling tomatoes off of the plant by the compost box and eating them. Mom was so mean, she pulled the plant up and threw it in the box so Blackie couldn’t have any.

Now that we’ve thought about it, Mom’s been the naughty one.

Merry Christmas to one and all from Patches, Blackie, Levi and Mom.

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