In Part 2, Scrooge McGrouch embraces the holiday spirit

Chris Bateman
By Chris Bateman January 17, 2015 10:04

As promised – and so you won’t think I’m a cheerless, scowling Scrooge all the time – below is my brief list of things I actually liked about last Christmas.

Dorothea’s Christmas: First a confession: Back in ’93, in one of my first Union Democrat columns, I scoffed at Dorothea’s as a useless bauble of a shop. I predicted it wouldn’t last and I found its owners at least partially  guilty in the demise of the hardware, drug, clothing and grocery stores that once thrived on Washington Street.

Well, over the decades the place grew on me: I’d wander into Dorothea’s once a year or so, browse among the music boxes, nutcrackers, gingerbread houses and incense-puffing elves, then pick out an ornament with a golden retriever or Labrador on it.

Owner Marcia Bennett was always cheery and cordial, and the all-year-Xmas business, contrary to my predictions, was booming. So, like many others, I was saddened when Marcia told me she and husband Duane were closing Dorothea’s and retiring.

I mean, what are we Sonorans supposed to do now? Go to a hardware or grocery store?


santa-hatParade weddings
: You’ve got to hand it to Sonora Bridal owner Julia Jones, who combined the talents of Santa Claus, Cupid and P.T. Barnum to kick off Tuolumne County’s 2014 Christmas season.

What did Jones do? Well, she entered a Sonora Bridal float in Sonora’s Christmas Parade. Then as 15,000 sidewalk spectators cheered and as “Here Comes the Bride” dueled “Jingle Bells” for Washington Street airtime, a real minister married lovebirds Jawn Serpa and Cheraya Bourquin.  Yes, the groom and bride kissed more than once, but neither they nor the crowd seemed to mind.

“We’ll do it again for the Roundup Parade and again next Christmas,”  promises Jones, whose Junction shopping center store already has a Vegas-style quickie wedding chapel. What’s more, she hints that imitation Elvises – which to me are far more palatable than fake Santas – may not be far behind.

Manzanita Christmas trees: After a unanimous vote from our three grown children, we again forsook Christmas tree lots, choose-and-cut farms and fake tree plantations at Costco. We went with manzanita – and here’s why:

It’s free, grows in abundance for miles around our home and is already a Christmasy red-and-green. It’s  easy to decorate, doesn’t shed and is quirky enough that friends think we’re delightfully off beat and might even be intellectual.

Not only that, but CalFire and the Forest Service think manzanita is a fire-prone nuisance species. If they know we were cutting a few off their land, they  would probably send us cash. Or at least Christmas cards.

 Copyright © 2015 Friends and Neighbors Magazine

Chris Bateman
By Chris Bateman January 17, 2015 10:04
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