Notes From My Knapsack 12-1-11
A December to remember
The candlelight walking tour is upon us!
Some leave town, some just lock their doors and settle in with a stack of movies (or stream a night's worth through their widget), and the rest of us embrace the insanity with open arms.
C'mon, we all know it's insane. The kids most of all, and bless 'em, they aren't yet sold on the value of sanity and sensibility, so they are most ready to run forward with arms open wide.
They glory in the red-suited fellow and his soft-spoken wife, elves on duty all around; they run to the kettle corn copper pot and the cocoa urn; they try to be more restrained in Monomoy House, but even the Lad still loves to count the number of Christmas trees and report back the census to President Knobel.
Older youth get to walk about more dignifiedly with candle-lighters to keep the luminaries burning, or shuttle cookies from inside to outdoor tables; many of this community's young people put their talents to good work in church chancels and other performance venues, with plays and recitals and concerts from the elementary school's daytime craft fair on the east side of the village, to Pilgrim Lutheran and the Newark High School strings in the evening where Cherry St. points to Broad Street and the west.
Everyone gets to share their talents; my afternoon challenge is that my friend Mary Borgia is singing & strumming at the United Church of Granville in the afternoon while the Lovely Wife is playing at the Robbins Hunter Museum (sorry, Mary!). Andy Carlson and some bluegrass desperados will be holding up Park National Bank, even as Spring Hills Baptist's musicians will be trying to make connections with passing audiences in Windstream Park.
And the hardest choice of all: St. Luke's Episcopal offers a sing-along "Messiah" at 8:00 pm, just when the Denison University Concert Choir performs atop College Hill in Swasey Chapel.
There are certain family traditions about where to go and what to do, but they can't be set in stone. Monomoy is only open every other year, certain groups in various churches come and go, and through the years there are new, changing responsibilities (setting out those luminaries, helping erect sets at Centenary, shoveling snow in front of the Avery-Downer House). We used to always start the evening, just before Santa & Mrs. Claus' arrival, with Don Snelling making the Lad a grilled cheese – times change, people pass, memories endure.
There's the walk through the Christmas lights behind the Buxton Inn, and the admiration of ice sculptures in front of the Granville Inn (weather permitting, of course). I see that the Soup Loft will have bean soup & cornbread: a new tradition, perhaps?
We can't dawdle, because Common Thread is starting down the street, and we might just get them in before the "Hallelujah Chorus." As I will always remember, thinking of the Granville Candlelight Walking Tour, the sound of a child's voice that might be my own, but is just as likely to be someone else's son or daughter:
"C'mon, let's go!"
Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and supply preacher around central Ohio; tell him your walking tour tale at email@example.com, or follow Knapsack @Twitter.