Christmas morning at Longwood Gardens
Complete darkness doesn’t arrive here until 10:30, so there’s plenty of time for other entertainment. People gather in droves at the city park, and bonfires stud the shore of Lake Michigan. Fireworks start going off up and down the coast long before dark.
As darkness falls, another lantern is prepared for flight.
Nothing says the Fourth of July more than a small town parade. And nobody does it better than the small Western Michigan town of Ludington. Everybody turns out to celebrate the country’s birthday. One parade participant estimated the crowd at 30,000, quite a feat for a town of 8,000.
People start lining up chairs at dawn. When the show gets under way at 2 in the afternoon, spectators are packed three and four deep on the sidewalks for the entire one mile route.
Youngsters know to be prepared for the concussion when the cannon goes BOOM!
Not every beauty was participating in the parade. A few were watching it, and hoping for candy.
Future Miss Ludington.
Also marching in the parade were gymnastics and dance groups, the Rotary Club’s Briefcase Brigade, Smokey Bear, a young fife and drum unit, and a string band that had me wondering at first how the Mummers got here from Philadelphia.
The 4-H Club and Mason County Sherriff’s Office each brought their equestrian units, with the obligatory clean-up crews, who got big cheers from the crowd.
This entire 2-hour spectacle was just the warm-up act for the main attraction…
For those who aren’t familiar with them, I have no idea how to describe them and do them justice.
Philadelphians might look at it this way: Take a really good brass band, throw them in a vat with the wenches and clowns of a Mummers Comic Club, stir it up, and what you’ve got is the Scottville Clown Band.
Rowdy, bawdy, and hilarious, these guys are also very talented musicians. They come from all over to perform many times over the course of a year. They also sponsor music and performing arts scholarships and fund a band shell in Scottville.
Keeps watch by day and by night;
Alert, he’s perched atop the ridge,
A jolly sort of sprite.
The bridge is old, none go across
Its glory days are past;
Few see the knight, to their great loss
They hurry by too fast.
Tedium does not plague the soul
Of our solitary deer,
For close at hand is a fishing pole
And a frosty mug of beer.
I do not know from whence he came
Or whither he may go,
Or why he thought, in Heaven’s name,
To watch here in the snow.
But he remains, though cold his post
In Mother Nature’s fridge;
So join me in a heartfelt toast:
As the year comes to a close, our souls protest the darkness of the oncoming winter. We must have light! Little wonder that many of our varied holiday traditions glow with strings of twinkling bulbs and shiny baubles.
On a cold, dark night, the holiday displays at Longwood Gardens are a particular delight for the eyes and the heart.
On entering the Main Conservatory, visitors are greeted with a towering tree trimmed in glass, glitter and feathers. White flowers and greenery line the dark pools and fountains.
In this season of light in the darkness, I wish for a world without war, famine, poverty and pollution; a world where every creature has a healthy and protected home; a world where all people live in peace and prosperity.
Whatever your traditions may be at this holiday season, I wish for you good friends, good food, and good cheer!
Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher. – William Wordsworth