Red Neck Christmas and more

Some events hubby begs to attend such as the Finney’s Christmas Wonderland in Crossett and the Red Neck Parade in Monroe, La. He found both while surfing the Internet. I agreed to go if we could check off items on our ‘to do list’ while near each.
Tuesday, a few friends accompanied us to Finney’s and exclaimed many times, “Oh look over here …” as we traveled down the lane of brightly lit displays. In 2015 the Finneys won the ABC light show contest. The 20 minute drive begins with lights announcing, “Jesus is the reason for the season.” Nativity scenes, wooden cut-outs spell the names of Christ from Isaiah, enlarged Bible passages cover Christ’s birth, and angels high in the trees reiterate the theme. In between we looked fast to see the winter wonderland light show with elves, a train, snowmen, merry-go-round, Ferris wheel, decorated trees, a tunnel of lights, reindeer, huge snow globes and projected light shows. Definitely worth the drive.
Saturday, we checked off the last item on the ‘to do’ list and lined up along the four lane highway to watch the Bawcomville Red Neck Parade. We stood beside young parents and lots of little girls with pig tails wearing summer clothes. The sun shone bright as police cars cleared the street. Most of the parade watchers carried a flimsy shopping bag, sturdy orange bucket from Halloween or a stiff paper Christmas bag to carry parade throws.
Being in competition with pre-schoolers on either side of us, only a few parade folks tossed things our way. One took pity, “this is for Grandpa.” and tossed him a bundle that proved to be a black, slightly used polo t-shirt, in his size. Guys on the mud spattered four-wheelers and jeeps flung us paper wrapped candies. A girl sitting high up in the truck cab tossed us a plastic ball. A package of Ramen Noodles came out of a four-wheeler jacked up a couple extra feet. The man tossing toilet paper, unwrapped each package, loosened the end and then hefted it our way. His vehicle trailed streams of snagged TP. Someone sitting on a plaid covered couch tossed us an individual serving box of Frosted Mini-wheats. When the lady on the plain wooden float motioned, I walked over and she handed me canned fruit. Not something I wanted flying through the air at me. With few decorations, no costumed riders or fancy floats, recycled beads, past freshness dates on some sweet rolls, this event met expectations for its title “Red Neck Parade”. Horses announced the end of the parade and the surge of a couple miles of cars caught behind the parade.
We gathered up our haul and prepared to go home. “Next week is that live display of the ‘Streets of Bethlehem’ at the mall,” my ever eager travel companion said. I googled the event. Wrong. It started in a couple hours.
We went to lunch and then to the mall where first we heard the singing of a group of Baptists before we saw them dressed in robes, sandals and head cloths. The merchants of the re-enactment of the first Christmas town eagerly told us, “a baby was born in the stable of the inn.” We wandered the streets where a carpenter made holes using a primitive wood drill, the money changers guarded their coins and sellers offered live donkeys, goats and birds .
And then our energy and enthusiasm faltered. We had seen and checked it all off our lists. It was time to drive home, flop into grandpas’ lounge chairs and take a nap. So we did.