Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Christmas tree in Portland's living room.

Last Friday after work I noticed a change in the demographics of those on the #14 Hawthorne bus, the one I catch on the corner beside my building. Families with little children. It took me over the bridge and through a few blocks before I realized these folks were on the way to Pioneer Courthouse Square for the Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Since it was not raining or even drizzling, I called Mama and told her I was going to stop off for it, too.

After walking a couple of blocks, I joined thousands packed side-by-side, waiting for that magical moment when the 75-foot tall Douglas fir changed from just another tall tree into a sparkling cone of glowing lights. Young women dressed like elves handed out candy canes while a favorite local singer, Linda Hornbuckle, wrapped her blues, soul, gospel voice around traditional Christmas music. By 6:11 p.m., right on schedule for the live TV coverage, the lights flashed on at the end of the communal countdown.

Lots of people stayed to mingle, like they often do at the most visited site in Oregon's most visited city. It's easy to see why Pioneer Square is known as Portland's living room since the brick steps that ring it make perfect places to sit and talk or read or people watch.

I headed for my bus and home, more determined than ever to get Mama and me a tree of our own. And to return to Pioneer Square, perhaps for Tuba Christmas on Dec. 9 and/or It's a Kazoo Christmas on Dec. 16. Sounds like great fun to me.

Oh, here's a link to a live camera on the square--the tents surrounding the tree are for this weekend's Holiday Ale Festival. Hey, maybe I should make that one, too. Afterall, I can ride the bus there and back, for free.

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