Lights of a small-town celebration
Husband Walter surprised me with a pleasurable fix for my addiction to Christmas lights this weekend. Friday he advised me to pack for an overnight stay.
Saturday morning we set out early with the destination still a mystery to me. We wound up in Canton, Mississippi, a small town about 20 miles north of Jackson, Mississippi, our state’s capital city.
The historic town square was charming. The old courthouse held pride of place in the center, and merchants had their store fronts dressed for the season.
We have seen so many towns in our state that have fallen on hard times. Their old town squares are dominated by decaying, empty, boarded up buildings. Some have attempted revitalization through demolishing original structures and replacing them with buildings that are graceless boxes.
Although there were some For Sale signs up, Canton has avoided both those extremes. We enjoyed a stroll around the square with peeks into shops and a few eateries. We also stopped into the Welcome Center, where I was delighted to see a Christmas tree with Victorian-looking ornaments and an antique sleigh that took up half of the premises.
We were back for an evening in the square after lunch, check-in at our motel, and a needed rest. We had learned that a dedicated group of volunteers start “dressing” the square and setting up animated indoor tableaus in September to prepare for the Nov. 23-Dec.23 Christmas festival.
Saturday night the square was filled with families with small children, couples and young people. All were vocal and obvious in their enjoyment and appreciation of the wonderland environment the volunteers had created. People of all ages were taking rides around the square. They kept the little “train,” a trolley, and two antique buggies pulled by real horse-power busy.
In the midst of tragic events that have dominated our thoughts and prayers in the past few days, I find hope in people of good will who have worked so hard to bring moments of innocent enjoyment to others and a sense of unity to their community.
Husband Walter’s photo of a family entering the square’s homespun wonderland.