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Leila Case: Magical moments launch Christmas season

As we rebound from a bountiful Thanksgiving, get ready for the Christmas holidays that are straight ahead.
The season received a magical kick start with two extra special events last weekend. The annual downtown open house on Thursday and lighting of the big Christmas tree at Rylander Park — the moment sparkled. Storefronts throughout the business district glow with brightly lighted Christmas trees made even more festive with shiny ornaments.
In fact the entire downtown area resembles a Victorian gingerbread village anchored at one end by the majestic Windsor Hotel, its architectural features outlined with twinkling white lights, while at the opposite end is the historic Rylander Theatre — the chase lights on the marquee proudly announcing “The Nutcracker” performance on Friday evening.
Scrooge would even be impressed and could the old grumpy Dickens character have been there, he surely would have had his spirits lifted.
Kudos to Heather Stanley, the Rylander’s most competent managing director, for booking the “The Nutcracker” performed by the professional Dance Alive National Ballet troupe attracted a sold-out crowd from here and afar. How gratifying to see the theater full of smiling faces from the orchestra section to the gallery.
The dancers, beautifully attired in stunning costumes, turned in a stellar performance that brought the audience to stand numerous times in thunderous applause.
If you missed the performance, hopefully Stanley will book this troupe again in the future. Let’s give her a standing ovation.
We forgot to make reservations until about 10 days prior and the only seats in the orchestra that were left at the time were at the very back of the theater except for two on the front row. Not wanting to peer over a tall man, I took those and wasn’t disappointed. Besides we had the opportunity to meet Albanians Carla Fincher and Tina Davis, who were so impressed they plan to return.
Among others glimpsed in the audience were Ruth Jones with her granddaughter, McKenzie Jones, whose attire rivaled that of the dancers’ costumes down to the silver shoes. Another group of young ladies and their mothers and some grandmothers were Angie Fletcher and daughters, Evelyn and Claire Fletcher, and grandmother, Diane Fletcher; Rachel Arnold and daughters, Sloan and Charlotte Arnold; Becky Short and daughter, Kathlyn Short; Emmy Reid with daughter, Ella Reid; April Jessup and daughter, Julia and Audrey Jessup; Emily Smith and daughter, Oliva Smith; Mary Ann Hammack and daughter, Anna Gail Hammack; April Duke and daughter, Maison Duke; Jessica Brown and daughter, Piper Grace Brown; Gena Legg and granddaughter, Caroline Wellons; and Leann Miller and daughter, Kayden Miller; and Barbara and Earl Gammage with great-granddaughter, Michelle Bush. Others sprinkled throughout the audience I recognized were Julie Megginson, Elizabeth Gerlach, Virginia Lanier, Joan Anderson, Drs. John and Patty Fennessy and daughter Reese Fennessy; Kent Sole and Shirley Litwhiler; Dr. Ben and Michelle Andrews; George and Jan Williams and Carol Anderson of Plains; Alene Reeves and granddaughters, Kate and Reeves Young; Patty Perles; Meg Usrey and her sister, Emily, and her daughter of Tifton, and Robert and Jennifer Parks.
Then there was the throng of University of George Bulldogs who made the trek to Athens to see the Georgia vs Kentucky University game, including Dr. Lou and Candy Riccardi, their daughter and son-in-law, Dr. Donnie and Kara McMickle, Miles, Louis and Madison of Macon; John Carroll, whose daughter, Caroline Carroll didn’t miss a step in the Georgette dance routines; while Mary Beth Easterlin and her brother, Will Easterlin, amateur winners in the RMS Classic golf tourney at the Sea Island Club last summer, were invited to follow the leaders at the RMS PGA classic last weekend. They were accompanied on the course by their mother, Mary Elizabeth Easterlin. All are from Americus.
Smile and say hello to the many visitors in town this week. Some include Dr. Charles Poole of Atlanta, and his sister and brother-in-law Carmen and Steve Boehme of Birmingham, who are visiting their parents, Nancy and Jimmy Poole, while Jim and Jean Buchanan hosted the Buchanan family for Thanksgiving that include Daniel and Pagie Lynn and son, Thomas Lynn of Statesboro, Jimmie and Joyce Buchanan, Jeff and Kathy Buchanan of Tampa, Kole Buchanan of Colorado Springs, Rich and Jennifer DeLong and daughters, Kaitlyn DeLong and Sydney DeLong of Richmond Hill, Jim and Betty Filbey and Jay Buchanan of Americus.
The dining tables are groaning all over town as former residents flock into town to share Thanksgiving Day with relatives. Joni Woolf and her daughter and son-in-law are hosting 47 around their table, while Ruth and Wendell Sanders are hosts to 30 from here and afar.
And get well wishes ring out to Billy Carter and to Phyllis Argo who are both recovering from recent    shoulder surgery.

Leila Sisson Case lives in Americus.