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December 9, 2012

Christmas Time's A-Coming

“Christmas time’s a-coming – and I know I’m going home”
-      -  Patty Loveless, “Christmas Time’s A-Coming” (video after post)

Even though we don’t live in a winter climate, our little hometown of Carmel Valley takes Christmas time pretty seriously.  For proof, you need look no further than this weekend’s annual festivities that never fail to draw virtually every man, woman, and child in town – partly due to the fact that almost everyone is involved in some capacity.

And since this is the weekend, we’ll use this as a starting point for an extended Random Shots of Beauty, which may also be rightly called Random Shots of Christmas, or even Random Shots of Life in a Small Town.

The fun gets underway with the approach of a helicopter to the Valley’s abandoned old airstrip …

… that carries special passengers from the North Pole.

It’s Santa Claus and Mrs Claus, escorted by a fireman.  It’s worth noting that in Carmel Valley, firemen are right up there with Santa in terms of admiration from local kids – which is exactly as it should be.

The Advantages of Being a Girl Scout in Carmel Valley, Part 1: the local troop gets first dibs at greeting Santa after touchdown.  It’s a great advantage to have …

… because as soon as they’re done, Santa gets the complete rock star treatment.

In case you doubted that Santa’s arrival is a big deal here: See that guy in the Hawaiian shirt?  He’s a United States Congressman.

After the Fly-In, our one-street village hosts a Christmas parade that tells you as much about the town as it does about Christmas …

… beginning with another star turn by the local fire department in an old-school fire truck.

Advantages of Being a Girl Scout in Carmel Valley, Part 2: the local Brownies get another featured role in the big day.

Then again, the local dirt-bike kids also get their spot in the show …

… as do a lot of farm equipment, usually towing a load of kids.

In an old ranch community, you know you’ll see a lot of horses …

... and in our part of California, this is the only kind of snowman most of us will ever see.  Also, did I mention the tractors?

Of course, the nicest tractor is reserved for the star of the show, fresh off his helicopter landing, along with some lucky kids who get to share the ride with him.

I don’t know whether it’s the impending joy of the holiday season, or the yearly reminder of what a special place this is to live – but our annual Christmas parade is one of the many things that makes Carmel Valley feel like home.

And continuing last weekend’s reference to our family’s favorite Christmas songs is this one from a Patty Loveless album that – seeing as how I never considered myself a huge bluegrass fan - took me completely by surprise when it gradually became one of my most-loved collections a few years ago.

“Christmas Time’s A-Coming” by Patty Loveless (click to play):

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