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The former Daily Statesman is now The Dexter Statesman and currently does not have an operating website.

Life in a Small Town

Posted Tuesday, December 16, 2008, at 11:29 AM

This is the Best in Advance this year, folks. This display on Blair Street features flashing lights and music. The back yard is also decorated. A young man named Rod McClellan won the Christmas light contest, hands down.
The Advance Christmas Light Tour

When the mayor asked a group of us to get together for a one-time committee to judge the Christmas lights in Advance, I seriously wondered if we'd find anything to judge this year. I'm not sure if the Depression Grinch has stolen Christmas, but there seem to be fewer lights this year than last. This situation may not be unique to our town; a friend and I have toured the old section of Charleston for the last two Fridays - and there's not much of a show down there, either.

Anyway, I call the other four committee members, and we agree that we'd better get cracking before the ice storm moves in!

I've lived in Advance only about 33 years, so I find the local conversation quite colorful. I sit in the back seat of Doug and Billie Hiett's truck, while Chester Powers drives and we three women pack in the back seat, chattering like magpies.

We drive up and down practically every street in Advance. For some, all we have to do is peer down them into the darkness.

The down-home conversation goes something like this:

Billie: "No need to go down this street (It was all dark). There's all widows down here."

Doug: "Disqualify those lights over there: The deer fell over."

Emma: "Oh, look, there aren't any lights at the park - The churches usually have displays out there. I wonder what happened?"

Chester: "This is a pretty good one. Who lives here?"

The conversation promptly turns to who lives in the house, who they're married to, who they USED to be married to, where they USED to live, whether they once owned a business that went bankrupt, whether they like to go out to the Griffin's auction at the VFW on Friday nights, the names of every child and grandchild, where each of their relatives live, and how everyone in the family died (if they're dead).

I have a great deal of difficulty following this conversation, but I manage to absorb some of it, though I can't use any of it.

I write the name of the house owner down on my little notepad, along with the address, and we move on, weaving through the darkness, looking for lights.

Emma: "Let's go try that new section by Tilley Street. They should have some good lights."

We luck out in that western subdivision and find the number three contestant, which features a cute little lighted ferris wheel. Most of the houses, however, are dark. At least one house has a bunch of cars in the drive and yard, and there is speculation on whether a party is going on and who might be there.

As we're traveling to the east side of town, we unexpectedly see a large number of lights through the trees.

Everyone: "Hey! Look! What's that?" Lights flash and music plays, as we circle the block to check out a modest little house on Blair Street, which is in an older section of town.

We pull up and watch as 20,000 lights twinkle and sing from the front and back yard. Then the conversation starts again.

Emma: "Whose house is this?"

Doug: "I don't know." (and if he doesn't know, no one does.)

Me: "Okay, I'll go knock on the door and find out."

A handsome young fella opens the door and doesn't shoot me, which is a good sign.

Me at the front door: "Hi, I'm Madeline from the newspaper, and (motioning to the truck) we're the mayor's committee to choose the best Christmas lights in Advance. What's your name?"

Chester: (hanging out the truck window)"Are you serving egg nog??"

Rob McClelland cheerfully comes out to the truck, and Doug introduces him around to our little committee, who proceed to find out all about him in five minutes. His life will never be his own, from now on...

Rob tells us that he has, in fact, been doing this display for several years, adding lights every year. It may be a small town, but none of us has ever seen these lights - so what does that tell you? We drive all the way to Cape to look at lights, but we overlook those right at home.

After we get a winner and two runner-ups, we head back to Doug and Billie's for coffee, pecan pie, and more good-time conversation.

When I get home, I call Rob McClelland and tell him he won first place and to go to the bank Tuesday and pick up his savings bond. He's thrilled. He says the picture in the paper would have been enough. If the photo doesn't get preempted by a picture of the ice storm, it should be in the NSC tomorrow.

Oh, yeah, hometown papers - winner of the Christmas Light contest, first tomato of the summer, most unusual squash - That's where it's at, folks! Small town America continues through war, depression, and political unrest! Life is good!

From the icy hills of rural Tillman, Missouri, this is your small town reporter, Madeline, signing off on another beautiful, pre-Christmas morning. Y'all keep warm, y'hear?

Showing most recent comments first
[Show in chronological order instead]

No, you didn't say her name started with a "D." I looked back over Lovebooks' previous comments. How does "Dixie" sound to you??

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, Jan 6, 2009, at 8:48 AM

Did I say that? It could very well be a D name...

Darla? Denise? Danetta?

-- Posted by GONENOW on Tue, Jan 6, 2009, at 6:55 AM

You must be a good teacher, GN. You have that love of torture necessary to the profession!!

So, your sister's first name starts with a "D"???

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, Jan 5, 2009, at 9:39 PM

Lovebooks, my name does begin with L. Sister is closer to the beginning of the alphabet. I want GL to ponder a bit more before I own up. If your sister is helping you figure it out, you are probably right.

-- Posted by GONENOW on Sun, Jan 4, 2009, at 7:05 PM

Say hi to your sister,lovebooks! How long will she be in town?

-- Posted by goat lady on Sun, Dec 28, 2008, at 10:55 PM

Interesting! However, if that's the case, I'm pretty darned sure she's wrong about her older sister dating DD.

I guess the roses will have to wait 'til another time. Drat!

-- Posted by goat lady on Sun, Dec 28, 2008, at 10:43 PM

Ok, my sister is with me and she has a guess on who Gonenow is....drumroll......initials......LMet?

-- Posted by lovebooks on Sun, Dec 28, 2008, at 7:53 PM

mmmmmmm....I'm still clueless is Missouri.

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, Dec 23, 2008, at 12:10 PM

GL, I talked with Sis earlier to tell her what fun we've had. She confirmed the gold basketball necklace story I told you, so it was not a figment of my imagination. She might even check out the blog--but I don't look for that to happen for a few weeks. She's busy getting ready for all of the family to come; then she'll have to get over it all. Ha!

I also asked to be sure about Dennis. He and his wife were both killed in a traffic accident 3-4 years ago. How tragic for their families!

I told Sis about lovebooks, too. She knew you when, book lover. Ha!

You girls, and all of you readers, take care. Maybe someone else can solve this mystery?

-- Posted by GONENOW on Mon, Dec 22, 2008, at 7:28 PM

I'm trying to think of someone older who had a sister the same age as mine!

-- Posted by lovebooks on Mon, Dec 22, 2008, at 9:10 AM

C'mon, Lovebooks, figure out the clue!!

-- Posted by goat lady on Sun, Dec 21, 2008, at 6:45 PM

The guy that decorates that house gets most of his decorations from Ebay. He does his yard like that for EVERY holiday. His electric bill must be outrageous!

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Sun, Dec 21, 2008, at 5:50 PM

Don't blame me for your personal problems!! Haha! I have not ever been proven to drive anyone crazy, though I hear students make that remark quite often. No, maybe they said, "That woman is crazy!" (Do I really expect them to read ten pages of a textbook before they come back?)

I seem to remember a small, gold basketball on a gold chain...could have been a different person's, but I believe it belonged to your tall hero. I think it was only at our house for a short time though. (=

Small town--small world, huh?

Lovebooks, at one time you knew me, though I'm a little older than you are.

-- Posted by GONENOW on Sun, Dec 21, 2008, at 9:43 AM

Haha! You didn't miss the coffee meeting! I found out a bunch more about Gonenow on Noreen's "Desolate" post - but it's gone into archival oblivion & I can't remember how to access it. If we can't connect with her on this visit, it's gonna drive me CRAZY till she can come back again!

Her sister was definitely in my class, so I'm sure you know her!

-- Posted by goat lady on Sun, Dec 21, 2008, at 7:27 AM

Hey! I've been away for a few days! Did I miss coffee? I want to know who Gonenow is, dog GONE it. I'll have to go buy a rose, but you guys just let me know...

-- Posted by lovebooks on Sat, Dec 20, 2008, at 10:33 PM

Haha! No, you weren't, dexterite! I thought it was funny! You can stop for a minute, if you like, but then we'll shoo you off so we can talk girl talk. (Not "hen" talk...cluck cluck!)

-- Posted by goat lady on Sat, Dec 20, 2008, at 7:50 AM

Forgive me, I was being disrespectful dropping in on your coffee appointment. I know you have too much 'hen' talk to cover. Enjoy.

-- Posted by changedname on Sat, Dec 20, 2008, at 7:46 AM

Well, well, I guess I should have figured that we were being eavesdropped on...(Okay, gn, how would you correct the preposition in THAT sentence!!:))

I wonder how many people will show up at our rendezvous with a rose in their hair???

If you old Dexter history buffs haven't checked out Noreen's story & pic entitled "Desolate" on the front page (to the right), the comments are getting very interesting! The topic might warrant special treatment by some blogger who just might be eavesdropping on THAT conversation!

Well, gn, if you can work something out, I'm willing to drop everything and make a mad dash for the coffee shop on a moment's notice. Only bad time for me is Monday mornings. Deadlines loom on Mondays.

-- Posted by goat lady on Fri, Dec 19, 2008, at 10:09 PM

Goat Lady, I reviewed the archived blogs you mentioned. I would have had fun with those, too. I know a few of the houses and folks discussed.

I don't think my memory is quite as good as yours, lovebooks, but I remember lots of things for which there is no explanation. Of course, there are things I should remember and DON'T! (like geometry proofs or what year the War of 1812 was fought.) As for history of the small town of Dexter,I believe Mrs. Proffer taught Missouri History in the 60's, too. I can't remember why I didn't take it--probably because I took music classes and didn't have many electives open. She lived on the corner of Walnut and Castor--I always liked that house, too. OOps--that was one of the former blogs. I guess it fits--small town talk, you know.

-- Posted by GONENOW on Fri, Dec 19, 2008, at 9:35 PM

I'll see how it works out. I'm not sure if we'll be passing through to pick up Mom, or if we're going to spend a few days in town before we kidnap her. She is calling the shots. I'm going to my niece's house in SW Mo. (the daughter of my sister/your classmate) I look enough like my mom and sister that I might not need that rose. HAHA! We are always so rushed when we're there that I might have to keep the suspense alive a bit longer. Funny to be doing this with so many unknown folks following the saga. Ha!

-- Posted by GONENOW on Fri, Dec 19, 2008, at 4:30 PM

What an interesting "small world" dialogue between gl and gonenow! I hope it continues; this is is so interesting!

-- Posted by swift on Fri, Dec 19, 2008, at 3:52 PM

If it's appropriate, I'll wear a red rose in my hair and being a gentleman, I'll be easily identified.

-- Posted by changedname on Fri, Dec 19, 2008, at 3:38 PM

My husband disliked W.J. VERY, VERY much, so we could never talk about him.

Hey, I would make a trip to Dexter to have coffee, girl! I would even wear a red rose in my hair! You'd have to wear one, so I'd know which one you were! So would lovebooks! Maybe her sister will be in town over the holidays. I would recognize HER without a red rose!

C'mon, let's do it!!

-- Posted by goat lady on Fri, Dec 19, 2008, at 2:25 PM

W.J. used WORKBOOKS??? OH, NO!!! What happened to him?? When I had him, he did it all with lecture, and he was SO interesting and entertaining that we hung on every word. I actually took NOTES! (I never did that! Heck, who am I kidding? I barely listened in most of my classes! Frivolity was my middle name!)

I still remember the speech he gave us as an example, when he taught speech. LOVED that class! LOVED English III! LOVED World History! LOVED Drama! Oh, my....you get the idea. I was nuts over that man!

Maybe he was burned out by the time you came along. I know all about burnout!

W.J.'s current events discussions opened our eyes to the world outside Dexter. I might never have had the nerve to leave, if it hadn't been for him. I cried when I found out that he had died...

-- Posted by goat lady on Fri, Dec 19, 2008, at 2:18 PM

Can't wait--I'll check those sites later today. My grandbabies are on their way over. (the real ones, who are toddlers--not high schoolers)

I remember my sister having Mrs. McNutt. She wasn't wild about her either. I have another theory about why W.J. didn't like me, but I won't put it in here. I really think his reason had nothing to do with ME, but to one of my friends. I won't say more--until you know who I am. Then I might email you. By the way, my sister really liked W.J., too. Maybe he expected more out of me. I loved historical stories, but I was never a memorizer of dates and such. I also resented busy-work, so I often procrastinated on workbooks. I was more interested in the people and what they DID, not to when it happened. I learned a lot about being a teacher by knowing what I DIDN'T want to be. I did get along with him in drama classes and club.

I'm coming to Dexter soon, and it almost seems like I should give you girls a call for coffee. Ha! Lovebooks might even show up. I miss "home", but I've been "gonenow" for a long time, so I have two homes. Thanks for keeping me connected to my own small town home. It feels so good the first time I drive up the hill to town. Until then...

-- Posted by GONENOW on Fri, Dec 19, 2008, at 9:32 AM

Dolphin, I mentioned that house to a friend of mine this morning, and she told me which one it was --- I missed the "business" 60 on your instructions! I was thinking of the big highway. Now I know which one you mean! Yes, I've been by there in the daytime and have been AMAZED by all those inflated figures! Doesn't he always do that for Halloween, too? Where on earth does he get all those figures???

-- Posted by goat lady on Fri, Dec 19, 2008, at 8:29 AM

Gonenow, if you get a chance, click on "archives" and scroll down to "More Memories" and "Memphis Blues." We got started on old houses in the area - particularly Dexter - and the conversation rambled wonderfully all over the place! I think that's where I found out who lovebooks is.

-- Posted by goat lady on Fri, Dec 19, 2008, at 8:11 AM

Oh, my, W.J. was my favorite teacher in high school! He's the reason I went into English and history! Isn't that funny how different people react differently toward one another? Of course, even teachers change after they've been entrenched a long time.

Some of the influences were of a different nature. I had (I'm not kidding on this name!) Voicie McNutt for sophomore English. I positively hated her! I had looked forward to studying Shakespeare (probably "Julius Caesar;" that's the usual choice for 10th grade), but Mrs. McNutt totally RUINED it by not being able to make the kids like it! I didn't know then that I would be an English teacher (history was my first choice) - but later I vowed that I would make Shakespeare the highlight of my classes - which I did! We had SO MUCH FUN with it! One year we even went outside (in our sheets) and performed it on the lawn! Hahaha! I love English... (If I just didn't have to grade all those PAPERS!!!)

-- Posted by goat lady on Fri, Dec 19, 2008, at 7:57 AM

Okay, small town talk this is. I think Mrs. Proffer probably taught English, then taught psychology later. WE can understand why one might decide not to continue teaching English. Mrs. Godwin was at home raising her family by the time I got to HS. I did, however, become friends with her when I was a stay-at-home mom. She is a wonderful person! My sister loved every minute of her class. I was lucky to have Deloris Parmenter/Stanislaw for three years of English. She was terrific, and also the reason I became an English teacher. I wanted to be like her, only I've never taught in spike heels. She always dressed stylishly. (I go for comfort first.) Mrs. Parmenter was first a seventh-grade teacher, then moved to HS to teach honors for 11th and 12th grades. Some of us really benefited from that move!

I can identify with your husband. I had a similar experience with NHS and a MALE teacher, (W.J.) This particular teacher resented the fact that I often asked questions or challenged him. Perhaps I shouldn't have done that? Anyway,that was why I was black-balled. I wasn't like my sister--ha!.. (the nice one) It really hurt at the time, but now I see it for what it was. In my current high school, NHS membership is not awarded that way. One fits a formula, and unless a student has done something immoral or illegal he/she is accepted. We do have to write a letter about a person on the list, if we know of a reason he or she should not be nominated. The fact that we may or may not LIKE a kid has no bearing. The GPA must be 3.0 or above.

Let me tie this together for the small town aspect now. In a small town, the teachers know your mama, your daddy, and all of your brothers and sisters. There are no secrets. In our school, most parents don't know me except as their child's teacher. They don't know where I live, who my friends are, the list of my high school boyfriends--they know me for what I do for their child. That part is good, and yes, healthy.

They don't judge me for my family or my past. There is still something comforting in knowing the small town folks. I had a teacher who had also taught my mom at DHS. She is still living--Miss Schnakenberg/Mrs. Webb. That was cool, too! I must admit, I have had one student whose mother was in my class. She had him at 15 though. Let's hope I have a few more years before there are more.

-- Posted by GONENOW on Fri, Dec 19, 2008, at 7:44 AM

Am I remembering wrong? Could Mrs. Proffer had been teaching psychology all along and not English IV?? I remember that they had a mock court once, and my husband was the judge. It made an indelible impression on him.

Dolphin, I'll watch for that display the next time I'm in Dexter at night!

Wonderful, wonderful time of year! Magic, in fact!

-- Posted by goat lady on Thu, Dec 18, 2008, at 9:46 PM

Yes, she does! Haha! I thought you too might know each other!

I can't figure that out about Mrs. Proffer. She taught English IV when my husband took it, and he absolutely LOVED her! That was very unusual for him, because he had a healthy disrespect for most of his teachers -- though they wouldn't agree that it was "healthy..." He was once black-balled from the National Honor Society, because one of the teachers (forget which one) said he was "disreputable." We joked about the word all his life.

By the time I took English IV, Mrs. Proffer (I thought) was gone, and Mrs. Godwin was our teacher. We thought she was the most wonderful, elegant lady we had ever seen! My husband felt the same way about Mrs. Proffer and was sad that I never had her as a teacher.

Maybe she just took time off from English IV. I know that Mrs. Godwin taught only a few years, for some reason. Five, maybe? Wonderful lady! I met her again in later years, and she was even more remarkable than I knew.

-- Posted by goat lady on Thu, Dec 18, 2008, at 9:37 PM

You'll figure it out...our sisters are still friends. I'll leave you in suspense a while longer, just to see if you can figure it out by yourself. Does Goat Lady know who you are?

-- Posted by GONENOW on Thu, Dec 18, 2008, at 7:41 PM

Yep, it's me, Gonenow. Hmmmm, you have my curiosity going!

-- Posted by lovebooks on Thu, Dec 18, 2008, at 7:33 PM

GL, the house I speak of is...from Advance...turn right onto Business 60 from Highway 25, up the hill, and it's on the right at the top of the hill. So that would be the east end of Business 60. It's right beside Sherry Burnett Realty if you know where that is. But make sure when you go to see it, you go on a calm night so he has all his blow up pretties up too. I think you'll really enjoy it...I just can't figure out where he gets the time!

Do any of you remember that beautiful light display at the Dudley exit years ago (before they put in the overpass)? I loved that one SO much! I insisted my dad take me by that one EVERY year...but they don't do it anymore.

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Thu, Dec 18, 2008, at 2:03 PM

Hey--two comments this time.

1. Mrs. Proffer must have taken a few years off then, because I had her for Psychology. I still remember one of her philosophies: "Never take the same route twice, if you can help it, because you just might miss something. It is a sign of intelligence to seek different ways to arrive at the same destination." You know, she taught me that in the 60's--and I still live my life that way. I think of her often--at intersections here in my town or on interstate highways, if I can find a back way to get to the same place. She was a great teacher--and she did have pretty, blue hair.

2. I think I know who you are N.P. Did you have an older brother and a sister GL's age, too? I enjoyed your entry today.

3. Oops--I said just two! Both of the other teachers were privileged to have ME in class, too. Neither one of them were too happy about that. I did things my sister never would have done, and I made mistakes my sister never would have made. Neither of them were hesitant to say so in front of my classmates either. I learned that lesson--DON'T EVER DO THAT! I have, however, called one by his/her sister's name before. ha!

-- Posted by GONENOW on Thu, Dec 18, 2008, at 10:08 AM

Ah yes, the joys of small town life. Where everyone knows everyone and embellishes all their stories to make them more "enjoyable". I have lived in big cities, burbs and the country at various times and nothing holds my heart like a small town. Unfortunately now there are far too few neighbors and too many folks across the street. I still love seeing the displays that people labor over. My dad usually has a pretty decent display in his yard but I am not sure if he did anything this year. I will have to call mom and ask. Thanks for the lovely picture and the memories of home.

-- Posted by SKDellinger on Thu, Dec 18, 2008, at 9:43 AM

Of course I grew up with all of us crowding into the car to go look at Christmas lights, and watching my mom slave over her plywood painted carolers that she always propped up in the front yard and put lights on. Also her red wreaths made out of cellophane that she hung in the windows. I remember complaining about those in high school ("Mom, you're putting RED LIGHTS in the windows!")

But one of my favorite Christmas decoration stories happened just a few years ago. One of my best friends is one of those who decorates her beautiful, quaint home very tastefully on the outside. She has won the prize a few times, and every year it's one of the "must sees" because it's just classy looking. So one night I grabbed my mom and off we went to take a quick look at the lights before everyone had theirs up yet.

We drove by my friend's house and she was out on the front porch, in the dark, all bent over and working hard on one of the displays, tentatively lit up so she could see the progress.

I had my mom roll down her window, and from out of the darkness of the street I yelled out, "IT LOOKED BETTER LAST YEAR!!!"

She immediately stiffened up straight, whirled around, and yelled out "I'M NOT DONE YET!!" Then she did one of those "looking over the stage lights" looks, and I thought she was going to hurdle over the evergreens. And she didn't even know who I was! It was so funny, and when she finally figured out it was me, she began stomping out to the street, yelling, "N____P__________, I'm gonna kick you!"

I still love to tease her about that because she is SOOOOO in to decorating her house! And it IS gorgeous!

-- Posted by lovebooks on Thu, Dec 18, 2008, at 9:23 AM

Hehe, maybe I will, Grandma...maybe I will! But, hey, it was fun looking through the old yearbook, anyway. I was amazed at how much younger my teachers looked than I remembered them - even Dale Teachout! I didn't get to high school in time to have Mrs. Proffer for English, but I remember her as being an IMMENSELY old teacher with blue hair. However, when I saw her photo as a class sponsor, I was struck by how relatively young she looked! (Immensely outdated - with her finger-waved hair - but not anywhere near as old as I remembered!) Same for Mrs. Totten. A spring chicken!

It's all a matter of perspective.

-- Posted by goat lady on Thu, Dec 18, 2008, at 6:43 AM

GL--I certainly don't feel too young, but I am a few years younger than you and my sis. Many people think of me as their OLD teacher. One boy told me he wished I was his grandma the other day. I laughed a lot. I suppose that's possible, but not probable. What a compliment though! Ha! You'll probably figure me out someday. Until then...

-- Posted by GONENOW on Thu, Dec 18, 2008, at 6:34 AM

Yes, gn, I've figured out that it's pretty much a hopeless task -- unless I just get a sudden flash of inspiration. You're too young to be in there, aren't you?

Dolphin, I haven't seen that house. Is it on the north or south side?

-- Posted by goat lady on Wed, Dec 17, 2008, at 9:09 PM

GL, you mentioned that house where the lights danced to music. Well, I'm sure you've seen the house in Dexter at the top of the hill on Business 60. Rick Murray has added more and more to that house every year...and now the lights dance to music on the radio station 107.9. It's very pretty...you should come see it, if you haven't already.

Great topic, MD. One of my favorite sayings is, "I love living in a small town...because even when I don't know what I'm doing...someone else usually does!"

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Wed, Dec 17, 2008, at 7:18 PM

I'm laughing--but I'm not in your Reveille. My sis is--and if you see a guy who looks like a fence-post, you'll know you found our brother! He would be in one of yours, I believe. Neither of them are in mine--I was the baby, which is why I could get away with flirting with the big boys! Let me know when you figure me out. (IF)ah ha ha!

-- Posted by GONENOW on Wed, Dec 17, 2008, at 6:16 PM

I'm getting out the old yearbooks!

-- Posted by goat lady on Wed, Dec 17, 2008, at 5:59 PM

Okay, I won't tell. You may have seen me when I was a little tag-along flirting with my big sister's boyfriends etc. You didn't know me, except as someone's little sister, if you knew me at all. You might not have. I won't reveal anything intentionally. My fence-post has a computer, but I don't think he reads the Dexter paper on it.

-- Posted by GONENOW on Wed, Dec 17, 2008, at 5:22 PM

Haha! No, don't tell me who you are; maybe one day you'll drop a big enough hint that I'll figure it out.

My fence-post doesn't have a computer right now, so I don't THINK he has any way to discover the mean things I've said about him on the blogs! (Famous last words!)

Hey............I might just have an idea..... No, that won't work. Close, though... I'll keep working on it! Don't blow your cover!! Haha!

-- Posted by goat lady on Wed, Dec 17, 2008, at 4:14 PM

No, I'm not your sister--but you know MY sister. You might even know the fence-post. Is it fair that I know who you are, yet you have no idea who I am? Hmmm....I'd like to come to Bloomfield next year, but the drive is a bit long. I could tell you who I am, but I'd rather not tell the world. Somebody might come after me for political reasons. Ha! (Or someone might tell the fence-post what I said, though I've told him a few times!) This has been fun. We would have a good time at family reunions, wouldn't we?

-- Posted by GONENOW on Wed, Dec 17, 2008, at 1:45 PM

Christmas in Paris....Mmmmm...I can't even imagine!!!

-- Posted by goat lady on Wed, Dec 17, 2008, at 11:31 AM

Thank you for this sweet story. I agree that there is something special about small towns. Having grown up in Dexter and then living in big cities from Boston, MA to Paris, France I can tell you with confidence that I will choose a small town over a big city given the choice. Thank you again for this great trip down memory lane and Merry Christmas to all!

-- Posted by cheers4dhs on Wed, Dec 17, 2008, at 8:55 AM

Gonenow, are you sure you're not my sister??????? I could swear that you remember the same things I do!!!

Is that the fence-post brother???

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, Dec 16, 2008, at 9:47 PM

You're so right about that celebration in Bloomfield. As I read Corey's story on it, I thought, "I've gotta go to that next year!" It sounded like so much fun! I'm for anything that uses that beautiful old court house as a setting!

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, Dec 16, 2008, at 9:45 PM

The small town Christmas is still beautiful. Reading the story of Bloomfield's old fashioned celebration on the square made me feel very nostalgic. What a neat idea! I'd say the ones who didn't go probably wish they had. Hats off to the planners and contributors to that event. I'll bet it is even better next year!

I still love looking at the lights, only now I have to drive! It was much more fun when I could ride in the back of the station wagon trying to see the cool things before my brother did. Our tree doesn't have that FRESH aroma of the ones I remember either. (allergies, you know)

-- Posted by GONENOW on Tue, Dec 16, 2008, at 7:46 PM

When my kids were little, we'd all pile in my mom's big old Jeep Ranchero, which my kids called "The Gram-mobile," and go look at the Christmas lights. They'd "oooooohh" and "aaahhhh" around every corner - and if a display was especially good, we'd all clap!

It didn't cost a dime, and it was such good fun!

Gas is cheap enough right now to make a light tour economical. Get the kids out and go make a big deal of it!

There's a house in Cape that has the most fantastic light display hooked up - somehow - to a radio station. What a crowd they're attracting! You have to wait in line to watch it! (Don't ask me where it is - off Silver Springs Road somewhere.)

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, Dec 16, 2008, at 6:17 PM

Very nice story and a beautiful picture! MD, I love your stories!

-- Posted by swift on Tue, Dec 16, 2008, at 3:39 PM

What a nice story, I'll bet you all had fun and probably half the conversation couldn't be printed in a hometown paper.

Congratulations to the winner, very nice picture and display. Lots of work, thanks for your effort.

-- Posted by changedname on Tue, Dec 16, 2008, at 12:42 PM

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Madeline DeJournett
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at advancensc@sbcglobal.net.
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