Saturday, November 26, 2011

Get-together on the square

Awaiting the big parade on the northeast corner of the square.

OK, here are a few of my favorite things about Chariton’s official launch of the Christmas season, which occurs annually on the square the evening of the Friday that follows Thanksgiving.

The lighted parade, of course. But no parade pictures, sorry. If any photos I take at night anywhere of anything actually turn out, it’s an accident. It was a good parade, however. We all enjoyed it.

It’s dark. The square in Chariton at Christmas is lit up like a Christmas tree --- not a Wal-Mart parking lot. Outside the pools of light created by storefronts, streetlights and Christmas lights, it’s really dark.

It’s safe. Despite the darkness, I didn’t meet anyone (and there were a couple of thousand of us wandering around) who seemed to be feeling angry, anxious or threatened. When kids vanished, there was occasional consternation but no frenzy. They just reappeared.

It’s quiet, except for the sound of people talking to each other. No holiday songs blaring to enhance the “mood.” But the sound of hundreds of people talking to each other in a conversation that stretches around the square is amazing, if you listen.

Piper's owner Jill fills a candy order.

Stuff-the-store at Piper’s. This always happens. The trick is to squeeze as many people as will barely fit into this narrow old store for popcorn, cider, candy --- and just to look.

The variety --- of people. Everybody comes --- rich (we have some of those) and poor (more of those) and in the middle, old (90s) and young (weeks), skinny and not so skinny, overalls and cowboy hats to L.L. Bean. A smorgasbord for people-watchers.

Ben Franklin manager Sam visits with Shantel, our Chamber director.

Ben Franklin. The Pepping to Felderman transition is a genuine cause for rejoicing on the square, for the sellers, the buyers and ourselves.

The sense of community. Golly, we should get together like this more often.

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