Doing things that aren’t common and normal is one of the benefits of living in a small town. I just saw a video about a community in Mississippi touting three generations of noodlers. Noodling is a sport where the fishermen wade into muddy lake water to ram their arms down into murky mud holes trying catch a catfish who is protecting her just laid eggs. That the angry fish will bite is guaranteed and coming upon snake is always a possibility. Those folks must really be bored. I’m sure there are noodlers who live in my community, but I don’t know any of them personally.

What we do, that most towns large or small don’t do any more, has been a tradition for 62 years. The first Sunday of December Branson lights a huge nativity on the hill across the lake from downtown. It signifies the official start of the adoration parade and for most of the longtime locals, the real Christmas season. It’s not the Winter Parade, the Holiday Parade or even the Christmas Parade, it’s the Adoration Parade and the theme is keeping Christ in Christmas, just like it was at the first parade 62 years ago.

There’s only one Santa Clause on the final float who throws candy out to the tens of thousand of visitors who come from all over the country. You can see almost everyone you know in a three county area on the streets the first Sunday in December. People line blankets up early in the day to save their seats for that night. No one takes or even moves the blankets and no one protests the event. If anyone did, some of the noodlers I don’t know might show up to set them straight.

I’ll trade big town conveniences for small town benefits without even thinking about it.

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