By Barbara Mellon
It’s mid-November as I write this, in some ways a dreary time of year. The vibrant hues of early autumn have given way to an engulfing grayness exhibited by winter skies and leafless trees. The political fervor surrounding the historic Obama/Biden vs. McCain/Palin presidential election has settled down; many of the colorful political signs have disappeared from our roadways and the media has turned back to covering other issues. What now?
For many, the advent of hunting season has their adrenaline flowing. Over the last few days I’ve been hearing the occasional echoing boom that announces a hunter’s attempt at bagging his prize. I find myself wondering about the percentage of hits. A hunter can roam the woods throughout the season without ever encountering a target; does every shot taken mean one has met with success? I am not anti-hunting, and am actually impressed by those hearty souls who supply much of their family’s meat for the year with their prowess, but the start of this annual event does give me some cause for concern. Watching camouflaged figures careening past our house on their ATVs makes me anxious about my dogs. The “girls” delight in roaming around outdoors, scouting out the scents and sounds of nature in our little piece of the world, so locking them indoors, even for their own safety, seems like punishment. In an effort to protect them while still allowing them freedom, I’ve tied streamers of bright pink plastic ribbon to their collars. To me they look awfully festive; my husband swears they’re so embarrassed that they’ll soon be in need of doggie therapy.
My own personal hunting season has started as well. Ladybug sightings are getting more frequent in the house, and I was forced to whip out my hand vac recently to remove a number of tiny bodies from the bedroom window. Hopefully we’ll see only a light infestation this year. Although the dogs and cats all enjoy chomping on the little varmints, I am totally disgusted when they join me in bed at night and start landing in my coffee mug. Yuck!
Other than the mighty snow of late October, we’ve been treated to only the occasional dusting of fluffy white flakes. My Southern-born self still delights in every snowy flake, flurry and fall. White Christmas, children on sleds, the camaraderie of neighbors sharing the trials of a blizzard all wrap my heart in warmth. This view is not shared by everyone, of course, as I’ve been repeatedly reminded of by Andes farmer Dick Liddle who good-naturedly snarls at my joyous delight of the white stuff.
A bustle of activity always accompanies the holiday season. Baking, shopping, visits with family and friends can quickly fill up the weeks before Christmas, Hanukkah and the other celebrations that take place this time of year. At Andes Central School, always a hub of the community, they will once again present two annual holiday events. On Thursday, December 4th, the entire school family hosts the Annual Senior Citizen Dinner for local seniors over 55 years of age. A delicious meal, entertainment by the students and plenty of congenial conversation adds up to a splendid afternoon. Then on Tuesday, December 16th, the entire community is invited to the school’s annual concert. The music and fun starts at 7:30 pm. Whether you have a child in school or not, stop in for a delightful evening. What can be sweeter than the voices of children in song?
Saturday, December 6th will be an extremely busy day on Main Street. To start things off, the Methodist Church will be holding their Christmas Bazaar and Luncheon from 11 am until 3 pm. A little shopping … a little eating… From noon until 3 pm, Santa will be ensconced by the fireplace at the Andes Hotel, visiting with tykes as they whisper their Christmas wishes to him. Then beginning at 4:30 pm at Bohlmann Park, there will be a tree-lighting ceremony complete with Christmas Carols. As part of the festivities, a fire truck will transport the jolly man in red to the site where more children (and in the past at least one adult I could mention) will get a chance to sit on his lap for that holiday chat. In the past, the Library has served hot chocolate and cookies to those in attendance, but due to the renovations being done on the building, everyone is invited to immediately head down to the Hunting Tavern Museum instead. By a blazing fire in the cozy parlor, there will be a tree to decorate and music by local minstrels who encourage all to sing along. To warm the belly, there will be homemade soup, bread and seasonal hot beverages. Maybe even some of those yummy cookies usually served at the library!
Also on the 6th, Al Bradbury, owner of one of the newest shops in Andes, Alfalfa’s at 72 Main Street, will be giving away free coats to mothers and fathers in memory of his mother. He calls the program “Mary Bradbury’s Coats for the Cold”, and will be running the event from noon on at his store.
The business community of Andes shows their spirit on Saturday, December 20th with their first Holiday Stroll. Many of the galleries and shops will stay open until 8 pm and will be serving holiday treats. Stop in to shop or visit, and be sure to admire the diverse styles of tree decorations at each.
A true Christmas event in Andes is the ecumenical musical celebration. The 30th Annual Community Christmas Cantata will be held on Sunday, December 21st at the Methodist Church. Starting at 7 pm, this year’s program will feature Emanuel, God with Us by Lloyd Larson.
Despite the dreariness of the late fall weather, there’s plenty to keep a body active and excited. So get going and enjoy Andes. What a wonderful place to be any time of the year. ~