By Betty Shearer
Robert Montgomery dropped by Wednesday to make my day. It’s always fun to visit with this kid. He was in to report that his friend, Al Hughes, had just made his first hole-in-one and says that after playing on some impressive golf courses, he had to come to the Valley for this achievement. Al, I’m sure that Robert is exaggerating—he usually does—but congratulations on this, be it the first or one of many.
The Christmas holidays got underway in a big way over the past weekend.
Jimmie and I spent the day Friday putting up her Christmas tree. Yes, this is an all day job. This year we began ahead of the game—Bill had already found the bins in the storage room containing the tree parts and toted them up the stairs—and it still took us all day. We took about 15 minutes out for a bowl of gumbo at lunch. That tree is a pain to assemble, but when it’s up you realize it’s worth the trouble—it’s the prettiest artificial tree I’ve ever seen. The thing is probably 11 to 12 feet high, and maybe seven to eight feet in diameter at the base. It is so full that it’s hard to get the lights and ornaments to hang properly.
I came on home, leaving her to the rest of the decorating. Couldn’t miss our Christmas parade on Saturday. And if you missed this, you missed the best parade the Valley has had in years—and they’re always great. All the floats were very pretty, but the show stealer was Seven Oaks watermelon sleigh. That was such an original idea and just adorable. I suggested that they make it a permanent part of the parade—might even let Santa and Mrs. Claus borrow it in years to come. Liz says she’s already formulating a design for next year’s event.
Now that’s what it takes—the Valley may become as creative with its parade as the Rose or Macy’s Parades. They advertise that plans for the next year’s parades start immediately. I do enjoy parades and like helping construct floats. The Woodland Hills folks would not know that from my help this year—didn’t make a single work time. I’ll do better next year. Our float committee did an excellent job, though, as did all others.
Congratulations to Dr. and Mrs. Paul Odom on being selected as parade marshals. Don’t think a better choice could have been made.
Thanks to the Tri-Lake Fairground Association, with J. C. Womble and Mike Redwine as Parade Co-chairmen, for providing this delightful Christmas event each year. We do appreciate all your hard work.
Pictures of the parade will appear in our Christmas Greeting Section.
Sunday morning, the Christmas excitement continued as the Woodland Hills Choir sang our cantata, “Bless That Wonderful Name.” Under the direction of Linda Williams, the 20-voice choir presented this musical almost flawlessly. Accompanying was organist Barbara Warren and pianist Sammie Cobern, who are excellent musicians. We had the best narrators, with Bro. Ken Izzard as narrator, Travis York as Innkeeper, Mike Redwine as Wiseman, and Sammy Anthony as shepherd.
It was good to have all our guests, especially Linda’s mom and dad, Robert and “Bootsie” Williams from Memphis.
Immediately following this service, I went to Mom’s and ate a quick lunch. Next Jimmie and I attended the Batesville Garden Club sponsored Holiday Open Houses. Especially enjoyed visiting the home of Penelope Respress on Panola Street. It was beautifully decorated, but what made this house so important was that Karen and William (Jimmie’s oldest son and his wife) had lived there for several years, and we just came to love it. When their boys came along, though, they had to move to the country. The house has very little yard – when you have active boys, space is necessary and their new country home is much larger and much more beautiful than the old house.
We also visited the home of Mayor and Mrs. Jerry Autry. Every room in this home was beautifully decorated. Jimmie was kidding Jerry about his decorating skills. He says, “Jimmie, I’d like to take some of the credit, but all I did was wax all these hardwood floors the old fashioned way—on my hands and knees with Johnson’s paste wax.” We told him we’d take that kind of help anytime. My favorite decoration at the Autry home was the Granny Smith Apple Trees on the front porch. These were accented with magnolia leaves and were so beautiful.
Here we ran into Bill’s sister, Emily, and her friend, and also Melvin Ford’s niece, Linda Thomas. It was so good to see them again.
Wound up the tour at The Garden District, owned by Bill’s niece, Joanna Patton. We got to see all the beautiful Christmas plants and greenery, and enjoy some delicious punch and cookies. It’s always great to visit with Joanna—she can brighten up any day. Didn’t buy a thing—it’s too early for me to decorate. You know I wait until the day before Christmas. No need to rush things.
Hurried back to the Valley, arriving just in time to attend the First Baptist Cantata, “All is Calm, All is Bright.” Under the direction of Rev. Erik Fearing, Interim Minister of Music, the massive choir and full orchestra presented this work magnificently. Soloist Ron Hart, Anita McGehee, Gregg Davis, and Jennifer Dean all sang beautifully. My favorite selection, Peace, Peace with Silent Night, gave me goosebumps. Narration was very professional, as always, with Bill McGoodwin and Linda White. Walked in with Tommy and he told me that Linda had been called in at the last moment due to the illness of Becky Carothers. Linda, if Tommy had not told me I’d have thought you’d practiced from the start—you were great.
Yesterday (Monday) March came back—temp and wind seemed exactly like March weather. However, this morning we have rain, still above normal temp, but the promise is much colder tonight. Don’t want any winter though.
Bob Tyler tormented me last week, when the threat of snow was in the forecast. He wanted it to snow—I didn’t. He even called from Jackson to tell he was sure it was going to snow. My reply was, “Good, I’m glad your going to get your snow down there and just make sure you keep it all south of me!” Isn’t it great to have such fun-loving friends—keeps life worth living.
Jimmie is hosting the bridge Christmas party Thursday night and if we make it through this, we may get in some Christmas shopping on Friday. We compared our shopping lists on Saturday and found that between us we’d bought exactly one gift—think we’d better get with it.