As the temperatures were dropping tonight like Black Friday prices and horse-drawn carriages were making the rounds of Highland Park neighborhoods, HP Mayor Margo Goodwin in a Christmas red coat, Christmas tree broach, black gloves and light-blue mask prepared to officially kick off the holiday season by lighting the Landmark Pecan Tree.
Nearby, HP Director of Town Services Kathy Stewart reported that it had taken four days to install the red and green lights on the tree. At the age of 70, Landmark is still a spry little thing, which means that as she grows more lights will be needed in the years to come. After all, her mama Monarch Pecan Tree had lived for more than 150 years.
One person, upon hearing that, remarked that they didn’t know pecan trees lived that long. Responded another, “They do in Highland Park.”
Upon his arrival, Santa was immediately welcomed by Margo and her grandchildren, who would be taking part in the streamed lighting ceremony.
Not only was Santa picture-perfect, with an incredible ho-ho-ho, he also donned a mask, setting an example for all good little girls and boys.
Right on cue, Margo and her husband, Bill “First Husband” Goodwin, took their places at the podium as the Goodwin grandchildren gathered at a big red gift box under Landmark to welcome the people streaming the event online.
Margo then formally welcomed the online guests and provided a brief history of the tree lighting as the dogs of passersby barked their approval. Margo admitted that unlike years past, when they had photo booths and activities surrounding the ceremony, this year was different due to COVID-19.
Little did Margo know that COVID still wanted to play a part in the tree lighting.
Keeping things right on track, Margo gave a countdown and told her grandkids to pull the switch on the box to light up Landmark. They pulled. Nothing happened. They pulled again. Still nothing. Grandma Margo rallied them to try again. Yipes! Nothing again. Then, with Santa looking on with a smile and a wink, Landmark finally lit up.
One person in the crowd was heard to say it was so typical of 2020.
Santa then stepped up to the podium. reminding all that Friday, December 11, was the deadline for delivery of the Christmas requests to be made to his HP mailbox.