small town christmas

Saturday, December 24, 2011

i grew up in a very small, west texas town. it was in the middle of nowhere, and it was positively filled with rockwellian magic. at the time, i didn't realize how many great things happened there, but looking back, it was full of wonderful people and it overflowed with charm, tumble weeds, and breathtaking sunsets.

the gas station i used was full service, and we had 'an account'. we also had 'accounts' at a ladies boutique, the pharmacy, and the hardware store. there were two grocery stores: the big one and the little one. if you needed regular items, the little one would do, but if you needed something fancy - like wheat bread or deli meat - the big one worked better.

the town was 'dry,' and my parents would drive 30 minutes to restock their supplies...they didn't know about the bootlegger, one-legged mary, who roamed across the tracks on friday and saturday nights. football and basketball were huge. for entertainment, we drove the 'drag'...from sonic to allsups and back. over and over and over again.

the land was flat, our hair was big, the streets weren't tree-lined, and the smell of burning cotton seed soaked the air from october through january of each year. no matter where you went, you'd bump into someone you knew by name. we left our keys in our cars and didn't worry about locking our front doors. trust was a basic pillar of that community.

each christmas, the chamber of commerce sponsored a tour of homes. i have no idea how they picked which homes would be featured, but it was one of my most favorite things to do each year. if your home was selected for the tour, you basically decked your halls to the nines, popped some delicious baked goods in the oven, prepared a festive punch, turned on the christmas music, and opened your doors to the entire community.

the tour lasted each night for an entire week. children were dressed in their holiday best each night - and somehow managed impeccible holiday behavior each night. lights twinkled from each window of the homes, and it really was a magical week in our tiny little town.

i was thinking about the impossible logistics of it all last much effort went into the presentation, keeping your home spotless for a week (restrooms & kitchen, too), keeping freshly baked goodies plentiful, keeping your children presentable, going to bed exhausted each night, and waking up to do it all over again the next day. with a smile on your face.

that was part of the magic that i never understood as a kid, but the ladies who lived in those homes did it out of the kindness of their hearts for the better of the community.

i'm not sure it's something that could happen anymore...willingly welcoming strangers to parade in and out of your home...opening your door to people you don't know...expecting so much from our kids...doing so much with nothing expected in return. times have changed. now, liability indemnifications would need to be executed and underwritten before anything so carefree might happen. society has changed.

although i'm sad my girls don't get to experience that same brand of small town charm, there are still plenty of other types to go around and keep us smiling. whatever the magic is that exists in small towns, i think someone should find a way to put it in  jar, sprinkle some glitter on it, fill it with water, seal the lid, and shake up the old memories from time to time...because sometimes you forget how quaint and fabulous things were.

my mom got here yesterday, and we are officially in christmas eve mode. there are cookies to bake for santa, treats to make for the reindeer, farewell letters to write for jerry, and plenty of good cheer to be shared (

whether it's the small town type, the big city kind, or something in between, i hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday.

i'll leave you with my most favorite christmas decoration ever:

cheers!! and peace...

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