Success except for one woman’s greed

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 27, 2002

Christmas on the River, from the standpoint of someone who had never been here before, was outstanding.

It was a much greater experience than I was expecting.

There were a few things that marred what would have been a perfect experience, but I’ll get to them later.

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I wish there were room enough to mention the names of everyone who volunteered for the 1999 COTR.

There is not, so let me just say that your work was greatly appreciated by those of us who had never before been at the event.

I believe several people deserve special recognition for they took on the task of heading the committees that made the week possible.

Ronnie Jennings, Jim Parr, Mark Johnson, Mark Pettus, Rosemary Fish, Rob Fleming, Gary Holeman, Johnny Brooker, Joy Cassidy, Michelle Tangle, Tracy Stewart, Ann Parsons, Dana Freeman, Jennifer Roeman, Vickie Taylor, Danny Smith, Nikki Baker, Ree Quaid, Bobby Meigs, Dr. Judy Travis, Chrissy Brooker and Jay Shows were largely responsible for the success that was this year’s Christmas on the River.

As for COTR chairman John Wallace and Chamber of Commerce director Kathy Leverett, I am, as always in awe of your abilities and neverending energy.

Thanks to all of you for your hard work and dedication to Demopolis and its citizens.

From the lighting of the tree at the hospital to the fantastic nautical parade on Saturday night, the event was full of fun for all.

It was a pleasure to see the lanterns that were made by area children for the walk from the city landing to the park, and it was an honor to meet St. Nicholas.

Christmas on the Canebrake was another highlight. What a great use of something of which our city should be so proud.

The handbell choir was excellent as were the other choirs and soloists who entertained on Thursday night.

And riding through the streets of town in a horse-drawn buggy was like stepping back in time.

I can’t say enough about the barbecue cookoff. Wow, what a pleasant assault to the senses.

On Saturday, the arts and crafts show was fun and profitable for them (at least from me and my parents), and the parade was the best I’ve ever seen.

I’ve lived in several places and taken pictures at Christmas parades all over Alabama, and I can tell you this one was the best.

Then, the experience was capped off by the nautical parade and great fireworks. I’ve never seen anything like that. It was spectacular.

It’s not hard to see why the event has grown every year.

There was one experience I had that marred an otherwise perfect week.

On Friday night, my parents came and picked me up and we went down to the barbecue cookoff.

We parked on the city right of way adjacent to the apartments across from Mr. G’s, but in order to not park in front of a fire hydrant, we had to go through the apartments’ parking lot.

We were immediately accosted by a young man and his mother who live in the end apartment there.

They said, rather nastily, that it would be $5 to park there.

I thought, "What is this &045; Legion Field?"

We asked if they owned the apartments and the woman said she did.

I have found out since then that she lied and in fact, fraudulently took our money along with money from several others that night.

I paid the money because I didn’t want to cause a scene, even though we were on city property. I only wish the city had received that money. I would not have minded donating it back to the city of Demopolis.

Instead, we and several others throughout the night lined the pockets of a greedy woman determined to make money for herself from a festival that is supposed to showcase the best of Demopolis.

That certainly is not the best of Demopolis. I wanted to write letters of apology to the other visitors who paid her cash to park on city right of way.

This is not representative of the majority of Demopolis, and it’s a shame that one greedy woman has the ability to mar and otherwise good time.

I tried not to let it affect the rest of the weekend, but I wanted Demopolis residents to know there are some who would ruin a visitor’s trip into our city. If you see this greedy woman or anyone else who failed to represent our city at its best, let them know you don’t appreciate it.

Regardless of that experience, my first Christmas on the River was a very special one &045; one that I will remember for a long time.