Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Runways for Santa

Every year, the south Louisiana levee system sees bonfires lit on Christmas Eve -- lighting the way for Pere Noel, or Te Clause, whichever French term you choose.

In our neighborhood, a couple of weeks before Christmas, on a Sunday evening, we do something similar with luminaria bags lighting the streets.  It almost looks, as Bigger Girl notes, like runways for Santa to land on.

It's a fun time, when lots of neighbors turn out to greet each other and share hot cocoa and cookies provided by the Civic Association, and admire each other's decorations.

We stop by one house that always has one of the couples who've lived in our neighborhood longest dressed as Santa and Mrs. Clause.  They have a really nice decoration set up, too.

Santa and Mrs. Claus, giving out hot cocoa and cookies.
Mechanical Santa in front of gift display -- he sings!

The fire department, as long as they are not called away, bring two trucks and a pick-up truck pulling Santa in a trailer.  They make the rounds of the neighborhood, throwing candy.  This year, the Santa had a megaphone, and was calling out so vehemently and throwing candy so vigorously that Bigger Girl said he had to be mainlining his cocoa!

From a distance, the fire trucks just look like big blurry lights.

Santa loves to throw candy!

There is one house in the neighborhood that always goes all out for the Christmas decorating.  This year, the gentleman couldn't put his things up, he's now in a wheelchair.  One of his sons and a cousin came in to town specifically to set it up for them, and two young neighbors, age 6 and 9, directed the men as to where each piece goes.  It was as lovely as ever.

Their display dazzles.

Everyone stops to walk past and lingers a bit.
It's not quite cold enough to be the North Pole, but we can pretend.
They decorate the whole yard, porch, and everything.

Santa heading into the swamps!

The Gator, whose name is Claude, actually has two funny stories associated with him.  One, he is a real gator, stuffed, that the lady of this house shot while on a gator hunt.  Her husband told her that for her 43rd wedding anniversary she could have a big diamond, or an alligator hunt.  She went hunting, and got Claude.

The other funny story is that when #2 Son was young, he loved to put his head in Claude's mouth and pretend he was an alligator tamer.  They people who live here don't mind that, and they don't mind if small children get in the sleigh on the lawn for a picture, too.

My camera doesn't do the sleigh and lights justice.

It's always a fun night, and this year we had Young Jacob with us, too.  After all, as the people who go all out to decorate will tell you:

This says it all!

Today is:

Christmas Festival in Salvador -- Salvador, Brazil (begins around now, lasts until New Year's Day)

Clean Air Act Day -- US (passed this day 1963; a day to give thanks for the air we breathe)

Cookie Cutter Day

Daniel the Prophet's Day -- Orthodox Catholic Feast Day

Feast of Babalu Aye -- Yoruba/Santeria (celebration of the healer of deadly diseases)

Feast of the Fairy Godmothers -- Fairy Calendar

Hagoita Ichi -- Sensoji Temple, Japan (sale of specially decorated paddles, called hagoita; through the 19th)

Icelandic Yuletide Lad of the Day, Askasleikir -- Bowl-licker, who hides under the bed and snatches bowls set on the floor to lick them clean

Kasuga Wakamiya Festival -- Nara, Japan (rarely performed traditional dances at a festival held every year since 1136)

National Day -- Bhutan

National Maple Syrup Day

Procession of Agnios Dionysios -- Zakynthos, Greece (one of the biggest festivals of the year, when the relics of this island's patron saint is honored)

Saturnalia begins (through Dec. 23) -- Ancient Roman Calendar (festival for Saturn, the planter god)

Sow Day -- Orkney Islands, Scotland (ritual slaughter of a sow for the Yule feast)

St. Lazarus of Bethany's Day

Take a New Year's Resolution to Stop Smoking -- Tanyrtss, the 25th annual campaign goes through February; make the decision now to improve your life and health next year

Wright Brother's Day -- US

Anniversary Today:

Tiny Tim weds Miss Vicky, 1969

Birthdays Today:

Milla Jovovich, 1975
Duff Goldman, 1974
Sean Patrick Thomas, 1970
Mike Mills, 1958
Bill Pullman, 1954
Wes Studi, 1947
Eugene Levy, 1946
Chris Matthews, 1945
Ernie Hudson, 1945
Bernard Hill, 1944
Tommy Steele, 1936
Bob Guccione, 1930
William Safire, 1929
Willard Frank Libby, 1908
Arthur Fiedler, 1894
John Greenleaf Whittier, 1807
W. L. Mackenzie King, 1874
Joseph Henry, 1797
Deborah Sampson, 1760

Debuting/Premiering Today:

"The Simpsons"(TV), 1989
Turner Broadcasting System(Cable TV Network), 1976
"El Pessebre"(Casals' Oratorio), 1960
"On The Beach"(Film), 1959

Today in History:

The Ostrogoths of King Totila conquer Rome by bribing the Byzantine garrison, 546
Sultan Nasir-u Din Mehmud's armies in Delhi are defeated by Timur, 1398
Pope Paul III excommunicates England's King Henry VIII, 1538
Go-Yozei becomes Emperor of Japan, 1586
Shimabara Rebellion: Japanese peasants led by Amakusa Shiro rise against daimyo Matsukura Shigeharu, 1637
Congregation Shearith Israel of NY purchases a lot on Mill Street in lower Manhattan, to build NY's first synagogue, 1728
France recognizes independence of English colonies in America, 1777
Aztec calendar stone discovered in Mexico City, 1790
NYC traffic regulation creates first 1-way street, 1791
Opening of the first legislative assembly of Lower Canada in Quebec city, 1792
The US state of Kentucky abolishes debtors prisons, 1821
General Ulysses S. Grant issues General Order No. 11, expelling Jews from Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky, 1862
First performance of the Unfinished Symphony by Franz Schubert, 1865
Violent riots in Montreal, as workers demand work or bread,1875
France declares Madagascar a protectorate, 1885
George Brownell patents a machine to make paper twine, 1895
A first prize of 100,00 francs offered for communications with extraterrestrials, but Martians are excluded - considered too easy, 1900
The Wright Brothers make their first successful flights, 1903
First flight of the Douglas DC-3 airplane, 1935
Ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and dummy Charlie McCarthy first appear on TV, 1936
The SALT I talks begin, 1969
Fernando Collor de Mello defeats Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the second round of the Brazilian presidential election, becoming the first democratically elected President in almost 30 years, 1989
SpaceShipOne flight 11P, piloted by Brian Binnie, makes its first supersonic flight, 2003


  1. What a nice neighborhood. Reminds me of my daughter's neighborhood.

  2. What a delightful neighborhood. I would love to live there, although we have nice neighbors too. Just not this fun...or flaky.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

  3. Santa on an alligator? Now that's a first. Never seen it before. LOL!

  4. How brilliant to live there you don't get many neighbourhoods like that about any more :-)

    Have a santatastic day ;-)

  5. Oh how fun is that! I love the idea of the neighbourhood getting together like that. I really like those lit up arches and the runway for Santa.. is such a pretty effect. And that gator.. too funny.

  6. Your neighborhood sure has a lot of holiday spirit. Great traditions. I wonder what people would think if I put a 'gator on my lawn.


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