News from the Tennessee Valley Living Today

Wendy N. McDougal

Organizers announce plans for annual historic home tour

Wendy's word

Things are not always as they seem, and we must learn to see these things in a different way. I was completely inspired during a recent trip to New York City and the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical "Wicked." What an experience!

For those not familiar with this spectacular production, the story carries you on a behind-the-scenes look at the witches from the beloved classic "The Wizard of Oz." It is truly a masterpiece, about which I had heard rave reviews before going myself. Now I see what the hype was about.

Many may never have the chance to see it on stage, but the message stays the same. One of the favorite musical selections, "Defying Gravity," encourages listeners to fly high and make dreams come true. Stand tall for all you believe in, and stop playing by the rules of someone else's game.

Set your sights on a dream come true today, and let nothing get in the way. You just might realize that what you have been seeing as an obstacle is actually an opportunity in disguise, and what others may not see as beautiful is a stunning marvel when viewed in a different light.

Now let's see what the "chatter" is for today . . .

Christmas tour

One of the highlights of the holiday season is the annual historic home tour. Plans are already under way for this festive time of holiday décor and tradition, so make plans today.

Under the chairmanship of Janice Gaultney and June Odom in Old Decatur and Gay Maloney, Sharon Rankin and Nell Standridge in the Albany District, the tour is slated for Dec. 9 from 3 to 8 p.m.

Volunteers promise some lovely homes this year, including two landmark homes loved by many from Decatur and surrounding areas, the 1920 Arts and Crafts Carpenter-Blake House at 712 Line St. N.E. owned by Steve and Claudia Blake, and the 1901 Queen Ann Victorian Gibson-Gaultney House at 305 Lafayette St. N.E. owned by Hal and Janice Gaultney. Interestingly, these two homes have recovered remarkably well from wind and fire disasters, respectively. Visitors will get a close-up look at how the owners seized the opportunity to update and enhance these fine homes.

Albany has three homes on tour — the 1911 Georgian-Italian Bragg-Geddes House at 651 Jackson St. S.E., owned by Phillip and Cindy Geddes; the 1905 Victorian Gray-Freeman House at 651 Johnston St. S.E., owned by Ricky and Sandra Freeman; and the 1912 Victorian bungalow Holloman-Rankin House at 1023 Sherman St. S.E., owned by Rex and Sharon Rankin. These homes have seen extraordinary restoration efforts, with much of the work, especially in the case of the Freemans, being done by the owners themselves.

Other attractions included will be Floral Christmas Decorating by floral designers Scott Willis and Kathy Gray at Westminster Presbyterian Church at 3 p.m.; a live Nativity scene at First Presbyterian Church at 5 p.m.; Journey to Bethlehem at First Baptist Church at 5 p.m.; "Life Makes me Laugh, Especially at Christmas" by Decatur's foremost humorist, Randy Cross, at The Princess at 7:30 p.m.; carriage rides available at The Old State Bank and Westminster Church from 4 until 8 p.m.; and refreshments at Carnegie Visual Arts Center and Westminster from 4 until 8 p.m.

Tickets are $10 in advance and are available at Parisian, Sam, Frank and Moore, Carnegie and Decatur-Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Tour day tickets are $12 at the Decatur-Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Old State Bank and Westminster from noon until 7 p.m. Tickets for both the tour and the Cross performance are $15. If you prefer to Cross and not attend the tour, tickets are $10. Groups of 10 or more should contact the Decatur-Morgan county Convention & Tourism Bureau at 350-2028 for group rates.

Organizers are delighted to announce the Historic Decatur Christmas Tour's alliance with Mainstreet Decatur, Carnegie Visual Arts Center, the Old State Bank and the Princess Theatre for the Performing Arts to bring the best tour possible to its patrons. Vendors for refreshments will include Java Jaays, Lagniappes, Simply Delicious, Bank Street Uniques and Backe Door Gourmet. Sponsors include Main Street Decatur, Shumake Furniture, Rankin, Shelton, Hunter, Balch Insurance, Mary Ann Scott and Ann Crane with ReMax, Decatur Inc.; Bank Street Antique Mall, Tammy Eddy Antiques and Gifts, Citizens Bank and Decatur Bankers Association.

Teacher award

Congratulations to Peggy Lamb of Walter Jackson Elementary School in Decatur for receiving the WAY-FM Crystal Apple Award for October.

Sponsored by Family Security Credit Union and 88.1 WAY-FM radio in Huntsville, the program seeks to honor outstanding teachers in our area.

Decatur Newcomers

Decatur Newcomers will have its October luncheon and annual silent auction today at Burningtree Country Club. The fun begins at 10:30 a.m.

This is the club's primary fundraiser. All proceeds go to local charities for the Christmas season. There will be great items available to bid on, and all ladies are invited.

Childcare is provided by reservation. For more information, call Stacie Thompson, 751-4773, or Patsy Grocke, 309-5845.

Coffeehouse music

Bimini Road will play at Java Jaay's on Sixth Avenue Southeast on Saturday night at 7.

Historical Commission

Lawrence County Historical Commission will meet Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Board of Education building on Market Street in Moulton.

Guest speaker Steve Turner will talk about Richard E. Payne, better known as Uncle Dick Payne. Payne was a well-known businessman in Winston County who attended the secession convention in Montgomery when delegate Chris Sheats said Winston County would concede from the Confederacy. At that, Payne laughed and declared, "We will have the Free State of Winston."

The public is invited. For additional information, contact Mignonette Kelsoe, 974-1500.

That's all for now. It's been great "chattin' " with ya!

Let me know what is going on in your little corner of the world. If it's special to you and features any of the great people who live in our community, then it will make a great Chatterbox item. E-mail me at ddchatter, or call me at 350-5730.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Wendy N. McDougal Wendy N. McDougal
DAILY Staff Writer

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