Something magical happened on Saturday, this community found passion. For me, it was a short trip to that passion. I had just left it a few hours earlier on Friday evening at the Hickman County Elementary School Gym. A crew of volunteers and “Bugg” the janitor had just completed the set up of tables and chairs for the art show.
The normally harsh winds of early December blew warm on this Saturday with full sunshine to frame the start of what would prove to a day filled with promise filled with excitement and adventure.
On the first Saturday in this December, Clinton, Kentucky celebrated in mid America with purpose toward a new future as its citizens wove their actions of love of design, music, theater, and art into a new coalitions of civic pride and participation.
Three events this day would showcase the beauty of art, the spirit of faith, and the passion of youth caught up in the bright lights of a community on parade.
This was a day when over 500 hundred art lovers descended on the 7th Annual Arts, Craft, and Book Fair from 8:30 to 2:00 to shop for unique and one of a kind art, prints, wood, pottery, jewelry, and fabric. The youngest vendor was 12 with Dorothy Nell Harper at 95 being our oldest author and vendor.
Vendors came from Frankfort, Cadiz, Paducah, Mayfield, Fulton, Murray, and Hickman County.
Our customers came from Clinton (over 300) Fulton-South Fulton, Hickman, Wingo, Mayfield, Columbus, Arlington, Bardwell, Cunningham, Cadiz, Murray, Kuttawa, Benton, Paducah, and La Center. From Tennessee, they came from Union City, Martin, Dyersburg, and Huron.
Tour of Churches —Courthouse Steps
Many of the Art Fair customers went on Clinton’s first Tour of Churches sponsored by the Clinton Women’s Club. Some churches offered music and others offered food. All shared hospitality with visitors. Nine churches worked as a single event to bring the world of faith into this special day for the community.
One of the high points of the entire day would have be the first public offering of a new song written by Davis Henderson and performed by him. Henderson, director of the First United Methodist Choir, returned to Clinton after years living in New York City. His song told his personal story of what coming home is like for one who’s spent years i the big city. Davis did an outstanding job balancing his voice and music skills against the roars of cars, motorcycles and cheering kids running through the crowd.
Parade of Lights
Hats Off to a great job by all the leaders and volunteers of this year’s parade. The winners were Ist Place...First Assembly of God (Way to Go Melissa and gang) 2nd place Schwartz Family with Buddy the Elf and 3rd place went to Whitledge and Eye Care Associates with Whoville.
A total of 28 floats, not counting the usual fire trucks and other special vehicles that joined in. I estimate a total of 500 volunteers worked on the floats. Sheriff Green guessed there were a thousand people on the square to watch the parade. He tossed out eighty pounds of candy.
After a full day of working the Arts Fair and trying to recover from the week, Mary and I decided to watch the parade form our house on Jefferson Street, right where all the floats were lining up.
As I walked among the various floats I was struck with just how much fun it must have been for each crew to have stolen time from their very busy lives to work with new concepts and designs of folk lore, Christmas themes and storybook legends to bring into life a few magical moments on a wobbly platform being pulled by either a monster tractor or a really big truck, in pitch darkness, except for the soft glow of Christmas lights on each float.
Imagine being able to go back into time as many of us worked on floats when we were in high school.
About mid way down the parade line, I was hit square in the face with a bit of Christmas magic. There occurred a special few seconds in which the whole day and spirit of Christmas, small town living and new sense of community came together for me.
All this happened at the Women’s Club float where a young Mattea Lock was sitting as the woman of tomorrow when a woman with a clip board, in her mid forties stopped to judge the float. The woman with the clip board had just moved back to Clinton after being away for 27 years.
As I watched the interchange between these two women , I was struck by how their life journeys were intermingled for a few seconds as one was starting her life away from home and Clinton and the other was making a new life by coming home after many years away.
Then it hit me, all of us now in Clinton are at the same exact moment in time and space. With each twist of chicken wire into a sculpture waiting for the tissue paper, with each new story book character costume, or the forging of new pottery, writing a new book, painting a new scene or capturing life through a new photograph, we all are weaving a new tapestry of hope, excitement, and even adventure to dream big, to reach out to greatness to build a place to welcome a new future.
Just then, as the parade started its route up Jefferson Street, Mary grabbed my arm pointed the eastern sky with these words, “Did you see it, the shooting star?”
And yes, I saw the very last of its white trail. What a way to end the day in Clinton.