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Christmas memories

Well, another Christmas on the River has come and gone.

The week-long COTR event is one of my favorite things about Demopolis.

Participating in the activities gives me a chance to re-live moments of my childhood while creating new memories with my own children.

My kids really enjoyed being at Bluff Hall last Thursday.

Although the baby didn’t cotton much to the Old World Santa, he did sit still long enough to have his picture made.

The 2-year-old loved looking at the cannon in the backyard, but when it came time to fire the darn thing it was suddenly time to go home.

My eldest daughter was on pins and needles waiting for her turn to sit on Santa’s knee.

She had made an "I want" list two days before that kept getting longer and longer.

After she presented the list in detail to the Big Guy, she came over to me and said, "Momma, I don’t think that’s the real Santa."

I said, "Why not? He looks like Santa."

She replied, "Yeah, but he talks like me and you, and everybody knows Santa don’t live around here."

I couldn’t help but laugh.

The daytime parade was a big hit with my folks, too.

The kids enjoyed the candy and the pageantry of the floats.

This was my 1-year-old’s first Christmas parade. He wanted a good seat for the doings, so he constantly escaped my hold on him to try and position himself in the center of the street. I had to drag him back to the roadside.

He didn’t quite get the concept of throwing candy, though. He was always picking it up and throwing it back to the floats. I think he thought it was a game.

While the pageantry of the Day Parade is always exceptional, Christmas at home was always a nighttime event when I was a kid.

Standing along the side of the road in downtown Gadsden with frozen fingers and a cold nose, I eagerly awaited the bands, the candy and of course, Santa Claus.

When I was in fifth grade, I had an opportunity to actually be IN the parade. My junior high music class was going to play Christmas carols in the parade and I had been selected to do a solo from Silent Night.

I was EXCITED.

But two days before the big event I developed a sore throat, a cough and a fever &045; the flu.

I had practiced my solo for two weeks and I knew every note to perfection, but ultimately mothers have the final say-so in these matters.

It was a no-go for the parade and I had to settle for listening to it on the radio from my bed.

Peter Jenkins played my solo part. I think I was the only one that heard him miss the E flat note that was so crucial to the piece.

The following Monday when I went back to school, Peter and almost everyone from my music class was out with the flu. Apparently the freezing temperatures on parade night were too much for them.

Christmas day at home was full of toys, food and family. I and my cousin "Tootie" would wake up at the crack of dawn to see what Santa left us &045; never mind the clothes, go straight for the toys.

We didn’t always get what we wanted, but we were always overjoyed with the day.

The Christmas dinner was spectacular as well. It had to be, because by the time all of the aunts, uncles and cousins gathered for the feast there were more than 30 mouths to feed. Of course, the best part of the meal was the leftovers served the following week.

Christmas in Dixie. Whether its childhood history or COTR treasures, these are the days that memories are made from, and I wish you and yours all the best the season has to give.

Merry Christmas.