Wednesday, December 12, 2007

a silent night - guaranteed.

Every year, the city of Willoughby decks out the downtown area for the holidays. Shortly after Thanksgiving, the city holds a lighting ceremony. People pack the street, standing out in the cold, waiting. Schoolchildren sing carols, the mayor makes a pronouncement and for a few moments the lights are turned off and the street goes dark. There is an expectant hush and then a countdown begins. 5, 4, 3...2...1...and then, TA-DA! Downtown Willoughby is suddenly a magical place. City hall is covered in twinkling lights, the shops are all decorated, the trees lining the sidewalks are lit, Christmas carols are piped in, and the little park area and gazebo are made into a winter wonderland with lights, displays, and even a little house where children can visit Santa.

This little park is triangular, it takes up the space that is left by the fork created by the branching of the main street. It is a well used space, and well tended. There are picnic tables, a gazebo used for summertime bandstand concerts and wedding photos, bench swings and a Civil War monument encircled by a rose garden. At the very tip of the triangle is an old cement horse trough (now used as a planter), a fountain, and a cannon. (I just called the service department and spoke to local historian Neil who says that our cannon is from Fort McHenry and was aimed at the house of the mayor of Baltimore during the Civil War.)

During the holiday season the city of Willoughby also displays a creche, or nativity scene, in the park. To my knowledge, no one has ever complained. (not surprising, though...the high school is called "Home of the Rebels" & no one has ever complained about the occasional display of the confederate flag either.) The creche is protected by a layer of plexiglas, just in case of vandals...and one might think that the placement of the creche sends a message too.
It makes me chuckle every time I see it.

(it's tough to disguise a cannon. click to see.)

8 comments:

raven_albion said...

I think there was a time, though, when the South High Rebels football team couldn't use rebel flags on their uniforms or something? I remember T. saying something about the boosters not being able to sell hats with rebel flags...and that his dad bought a bunch when he was in VA visiting the grandkids and brought them back and sold them at cost to fans. (He wasn't a booster, so the 'powers that be' couldn't prevent him. Made me laugh.) It was a while ago now, and my memory is fuzzy on the specifics (but not that long ago, since I've only known T. since 1998...oh. Maybe it was a long time ago.)

Breda said...

Raven - Yeah, I don't think the school is allowed to sell rebel flag items (officially)...but it doesn't seem to stop the parents and fans of the football team.

Hunter said...

So, Breda, any information, data plate, etc. on that cannon? Using the signs and cars behind it, guessing at their distance, that appears to be one honking big gun.
Not that I'm a size guy or anything, but that seems much larger than the usual courthouse square eight or twelve pounder.
Hunter
Substitute Librarian in Alaska

Breda said...

Hunter - I will go on a field trip tomorrow and make a full report.

Tam said...

Hunting for whiny anti-nativity scene protesters over a baited field is legal in Ohio?

That's kinda cool!

alcibiades mczombie said...

...gave proof through the night that our Christ was still there...

(Had to try it.)

Allura said...

I dunno. My town puts up two nativities. The one with the live animals is dull, and so heavily fenced in to protect kids from being nipped (and protect the animals from the kids) that it defeats the purpose. The one at the train station is this neon plastic monstrosity that lighs up, and I do object to it - it's TACKY. I much prefer the next town over that has an old-fashioned sleigh filled with wrapped gifts on the lawn of city hall: it's elegant and fits a town of victorian & colonial style homes.

Matt G said...

Nativity scenes all around are being considered for renovation. According to PawPaw, his grandson has new ideas.