By Mickey Howley
December seems to be the longest month. It is not any longer than any of the other 31-day months, but it has the shortest days and the longest nights and usually is pretty cold. I don’t know exactly why it seems so long to me, but it just does.
January comes a close second in perceived length, but doesn’t have all the hoopla that December has, unless you count college football bowl games and property taxes being due.
Nope, December is that end of the year deal that makes us feel older and to further compound that… just a dreary start to winter. And I’m fairly certain most of us don’t like winter. I’d rather sweat than shiver. But before you think I’m going total curmudgeonly Scrooge Grinch on you, December does have good points.
There’s Christmas…. I guess that’s about it. That’s not insignificant, however. I find it a pretty interesting study the transition from how a religious holiday has blown up into such a commercial season. But it has and the commercial holiday season is a very important economic measuring stick. Remember — Shop the Valley.
And even more interesting is this seasonal symbolism is how a 4th Century Greek bishop named Nicholas living on the Mediterranean coast of Asia Minor has metamorphosed into a chubby old guy living in the frozen north. Pretty creative stuff if you ask me.
Here’s what I most like about a Valley December. Lights on building upper parapets, you know the light chain at the top of the buildings, that makes me happy every time I see it. Thank the city and the hard working bucket truck guys it the electric department for that, that downtown glow takes real effort. The bandstand decorated by the garden club (okay, so they do the install in November) makes the center of town look festive. I like that early evening light, just past dusk where downtown buildings are glowing inside and people are out on the street. That always seems nice.
You might say that I’m playing into a certain commercial sentimentality about Main Street and I am, but I’d rather be walking and shopping and checking window decorations on Main Street sidewalk than traversing some huge parking lot to a big box store cave.
This weekend there is lots to do in the Valley. Friday night the horse carriage rides are back, sponsored by the Chamber and Main Street. Ride a horse drawn carriage around downtown and see the city from another perspective. Combine that with music on the bandstand and some late shopping and dining in one the Valley’s restaurants…you’ll have a great night.
Saturday is the Christmas parade at 1 p.m. Santa rolls through town, you’ll see every fire truck for 20 miles and the parade is always a good time. Later that afternoon there is a house tour in town sponsored by the Chamber—see this paper for details.
Saturday evening there will be three joint openings at Bozarts Gallery of the 7th Annual Holiday Miniature Show and Yalo Studio with the Mike Howard Show and J Clayton’s featuring Jim Hendrix and Natalie Rodgers. All openings start at 6 p.m. and go until 9 p.m. This weekend—Do the Valley!