The Adele Grage Center hosted several artists showing their work during the recent Holiday Art Walk.
Driving through Atlantic Beach at Christmastime is no different than any charming small town anywhere. No snow, sure, and a beachy backdrop, but I’ve never found the Christmas spirit lacking due to absence of snow and cold weather. Around here, we do get Fall Fashion Weather (finally you can break out the sweaters and boots and long sleeves though my kids still run around in flip flops and shorts with their hoodies), and Fall Fashion Weather suits me just fine.
At the center of town – Town Center – is a roundabout, where the cities of Atlantic and Neptune Beach meet. The ocean is just a few yards beyond this point. The grassy center there is perfect for something permanent, like a large sculpture but those arguments have been made and the cities council tossed away their chance to place the ‘Girl with Sea Turtle’ there. It would’ve been great, a real focal point to complement the attractive and walkable street scene and as prelude to the beach…but that’s all history now, and we do still have the lovely Christmas tree to greet us at this time of year.
The other night as I was slowly circling the roundabout in my car, I paused for a few seconds to take two photos of the Christmas tree.* The person in the car behind me honked their horn at me to ‘hurry up’. (You can discern the ‘HURRY UP I AM NOT WAITING’ honk from its more polite ‘tap-tap’ counterpart: one’s defiant, the other’s a nudge.)
In the roundabout, where one inherently drives slowly, I took two photos: the first one flashed from my car window into the dark night; I proceeded a few feet, then paused to shoot one more, and then: HOONNKK. The car following me just had to show its impatience. Can’t a person shoot two pictures of a prettily lit Christmas tree (taking all of 7 seconds tops) without someone blowing his horn petulantly behind her?
Last week The Beaches Leader reported that a drunk driver actually plowed into this tree, knocking it askew and toppling the “gifts”, and then drove onto the beach and into the night, eluding the police!
The cities straightened up the mess and now it’s nice again, for those of us who want to admire it… I think it’s de rigueur to drive slowly through the roundabout, take one’s time and admire our towns’ Christmas tree. I really couldn’t believe the audacity of that driver behind me! What makes you actually honk your horn at someone if it’s not an authentic traffic situation?
Since we just painted our house we didn’t do much exterior decorating this year (well, that’s my excuse anyway). The truth is my husband abhors the whole process of stringing exterior lights, so few years ago he bought two non-photo-worthy contraptions made of wire and lights and meant to resemble a snowman and some other gaudy thing (a gumdrop snowman?). He likes them because you just take them out of the box and plug them in and the kids like them because they create an instant-Christmas ambiance (for them) so I’ve kept my mouth shut and try not to notice them. It’s the least I can do since he does so many other things without complaint. I have a better idea for next year’s exterior, and I love a palm tree done up right for the holidays. This home and its trees caught my eye tonight:
Merry Christmas from the neighborhood.
*two pictures were taken in one drive-by, the third, tonight.
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Jeannie Greenwald is a blogger, neighborhoods / 'go local' evangelist, hobbyist photographer, and degreed psychologist.