Christmas seems to have come to the Valley over the past weekend.
Thursday night you really missed a treat if you were not in town. At six o’clock the Town and Country Garden Club hosted the official lighting of their beautiful tree on the pavilion in Railroad Park. Mrs. Santa (Pat Ray) did the honors. In her remarks she stated that she was filling this obligation for Santa, due to the fact that he was so busy at the North Pole at this time of year. All the youngsters and young-at-heart were delighted with the ceremony—who doesn’t enjoy viewing a beautiful Christmas tree, other than the grinch?
Seems that Smokey Bottom BBQ was also a big hit. Heard they sold completely out. I’m not surprised, because when I was in the Park the line was very long. My mouth was watering, but I didn’t have time to wait.
Following the tree lighting, many merchants remained open until eight o’clock. Shopping was brisk and everyone seemed to enjoy shopping, the great fellowship, and delicious refreshments, supplied by the Main Street Association and participating merchants.
The Herald was one of the participating businesses. We were all decked out in Christmas finery, with the featured decoration being a beautifully trimmed tree. Jessie and Jack Gurner had worked on this project for many hours, putting old-fashioned big colored lights in place and then adorning the tree with hand-made ornaments. These ornaments were provided by art students of Imagination Station, Instructor Anissa Wilkinson. Many of the ornaments depict businesses in the Valley, with others that are just in the Christmas motif. All are beautiful and very professional. We think we have the most beautiful tree in town and certainly the most creative and interesting. Thanks Anissa and students for sharing your wonderful ornaments with us and area residents.
Among the last visitors to the Herald Thursday night were Toni Hill and Clay Ashford. We remarked that weather for Saturday and the annual Christmas Parade was predicted to be perfect. This brought on reminiscing about prior Valley Christmas Parades. In the 50s, 60s, and even early 70s Water Valley had parades that were superior to Memphis and Jackson. I came in the late 50s and Ed and I would often attend the Memphis Parade. It was not as elaborate as our local parade. Often in the Valley Parade there ten to 20 floats, many marching bands, several unique units, clowns and other things of interest. The floats were of professional quality, many of them constructed by the Junior Auxiliary, Garden Clubs, Jaycees and Jacettes. Many of the churches also entered floats, as did most of the industries and even some of the businesses. Many of these were made in the National Guard Armory and they were month-long projects. Both Toni’s (Dot Trusty) and Clay’s (the late Kathryn Ashford) Moms were very much involved with these parades. Clay was telling about one float, which was in a parade prior to my coming to the Valley. Says that JA had designed and built a beautiful float. It was the last to leave the Guard Building and his mother and the late Harold Allen were left to get it to the parade line-up. Harold being the driver, began pulling the float out of the big doors, with Kathryn directing. They found the float lacked abut a foot on each side clearing the opening. Clay says his Mom reported that Harold took off his cap, scratched his head, got back into the pickup, revved it up and brought the float through. Once out of the building, he and Kathryn quickly put it back together and got it into line, just before time to roll down Main Street. Clay says that it really did not seem much the worse from the catastrophy.
The themes for these floats were very elaborate, with detailed costuming—mostly designed and hand-made by local seamstresses.
Clay and I have excellent recall and we do enjoy visiting.
We discussed the parades stopping for a time and then being resurrected by the Tri-Lake Fairground Association several years ago. The first of these was mostly a parade of fire, construction, farm and other equipment, with the motorcycles, the band, clowns and a few other unique units. A chicken truck accidentily got into the parade and no one knew it was not supposed to be there—the driver got off at Blackmur Dr. This parade was well attended—The Valley does enjoy a parade. The parades have continued and they are getting better each year. We do appreciate all the effort of Parade Co-Chairs J. C. Womble and Michael Redwine and this organization.
Events of the weekend concluded for me Sunday afternoon with the Community Band Concert. I was given the honor of being on the gate, which I always enjoy—get to see and visit with everyone. Even with the drizzle, still more than a hundred came out for this event. If you missed it you really missed a wonderful afternoon of beautiful Christmas music. It was great to see former band member, Julie Tubbs Putman from Madison. I have known Julie almost since she was born and she always been a delightful person.
I was included in the fellowship following the concert and was at the table with Doc (one of the organizers and charter member of the band) and Theresa Edgar, James and Ernie Caviness of Calhoun City, band members and long-time friends, and Band Director Stanley Crow. We of course remembered Ed and this is always a lot of fun for me and it seems to be for all his friends.
It’s always great to visit with Carol Sartain Shields, who keeps Ed on the stage by playing his sax—I do appreciate this. She played a solo and it was wonderful. Visiting with many members of the band and many former members was so much fun—thanks for including me.
The final event of the day I didn’t get to attend, but heard it was delightful. First Baptist Children’s Department presented their Christmas Program and Woodland Hills had a couple of grandmothers who attended, so I got to hear about it—sounds like I missed a great presentation.
During the next few weeks there will be many more Christmas Cantatas, Children’s Programs, and other events. Attend as many as possible—they will all be great.
Today (Tuesday) is Daughter-in-law Celeste’s birthday. I finally got her a card in the mail yesterday—she always get a belated wish from me. Jim called and told me about her birthday present from him—requested by her. After asking what he was getting her, I was shocked by his reply. “I’m giving her a goat!” “Well I hope it’s not a real one,” was my come back. “Oh, it is,” he continued. Then I wanted to know if they didn’t have ordinances against livestock in Las Cruces. He’d had enough fun so he confessed what was happening. It seems that there is a program—which lots of folks in the Valley know about—where you can purchase a goat, pig, cow, etc. in honor or memory of a person, to be given to someone in depressed nations. These gifts are of long-term benefits to people who are in desperate need. Celeste says that she doesn’t need anything—which most of us don’t—and she would like her birthday to make a difference. Pretty great daughter I’ve got. Happy Birthday, Celeste, and I hope you enjoy many, many more. Love you.
Tuesday the Beer Referendum will finally be put to rest. Do get out and vote.