Archived Story

I’ll be dreaming of Natchez this season

Published 11:29pm Saturday, December 15, 2012

“I’ll be home for Christmas, You can count on me …” The song comes on this time every year and every year I dream and remember while it plays.

There is a towering bluff with an emerald blanket of kudzu. Someone once told me the lumps weren’t trees they were slow tourists. It made me giggle as a little girl, and even now I smile. I can see it without closing my eyes — the twin bridges toward the place that even 15 years later is still the only place I call home.

Many of the trees have lost their leaves but the magnolias and live oaks draped in Spanish moss still stand defiantly denying the changing seasons. Heading downtown is like stepping back in time. An old train station graces Canal Street, horse-drawn carriages still parked in front. The drivers of the carriages can transport you to a time when Natchez was a small fort or a bustling port city for goods headed along the Natchez Trace or just tell you the tail of a three-legged cat.

Treasures line the windows of a dozen antiques and souvenir shops, and the people who greet you there seem like they are inviting you into their houses.

All of this is dressed in wreaths of evergreen with ribbons of red and gold, poinsettias placed like jewels about the neck of a graceful southern belle. Somewhere downtown a church is bathed in candlelight. “Silent Night” drifts through the air like a magic spell spreading a sense of peace and warmth to the souls present there. I spent many a winter day in this scene dreaming of snow. I imagined that if I could just sing “White Christmas” enough times then surely God would hear me and grant my wintery wish.

No snow ever fell on Christmas while I lived in Natchez. I am not sure snow has ever fallen on Christmas Day in Natchez, but I know now that snow was never needed for Christmas to be perfect.

So to all my friends and family in this little slice of heaven, “I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams.”

 

Patricia Baker

Gilbert, Ariz., resident