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Sledding at 58 degrees

Many communities in southeastern NC begin Christmas celebrations early in November. The town of Wallace (Duplin County) holds their annual "Christmas at Twilight" celebration on Saturday (November 17) from noon until 7 PM. Naturally, Santa will be there, and he will even bring a complete play area filled with "snow" so children can sled to their heart's content. The smell of hot cocoa and the soaring sounds of Christmas music always put a smile on my face, probably because I'm reminded of my own hometown.

As I was passing through Duplin county recently, I spied another sight that brings to mind Christmas memories- the FFA sign. You might be wondering what the FFA (formerly "Future Farmers of America") has to do with Christmas. Well, an apple or orange you enjoy around the holidays may very well have been purchased through an annual fundraiser from your local high school. Every November, local FFA chapters sell boxes of fruit to raise money for activities. From my tenth grade year through high school, I spent many an autumn day in our agriculture department, boxing-up fruit and making deliveries. I remember a young girl in our group who always managed to "out-sell" me every year. I've been married to her for many years now, and she still enjoys reminding me of her superior salesmanship to this day.

Another popular holiday tradition was the annual Beautancus Christmas parade (Duplin Co). The parade was much smaller than those held in larger cities, but just as fun. For those of you familiar with the area, the parade route originated near Swinson's store, and passed near my Aunt's house. All of the cousins would line her ditch, wrapped in blankets and lying as close to the road as safety would allow. This kept us within perfect range to receive candy being dropped by the parade floats. From horses to tractors, the parade was a blast. And in typical small town tradition, Santa came not in his sleigh, but rather on a fire truck.

I remember many cold parade days growing up, quite different from the warmer weather experienced at times this November. On November 11 and 12, temperatures climbed 70's, with a few locations approaching 80. For the record, the average high in Wilmington is about 68 degrees on a typical November day. Of course, the seasonal "averages" are created by a wide range of highs and lows. And as a wise reporter once told me, enjoy any day when the weather is quiet.

If you have not yet had a chance to browse through our new facebook page, take a few minutes. It's filled with climate facts and stories- and even a few surprise guests along the way. Here's the link: Chief Meteorologist Jerry Jackson

By: Jerry Jackson