Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 37

RM

| NEIGHBORS

Santa Claus Lane

Vienna couple's Christmas collection lights up the holidays
by Zach Smith | zsmith@ruralmissouri.coop

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grinning jack-o'-lanterns. Yet even these seasonal displays pale in comparison
strange thing happens in Vienna shortly after Thanksgiving. The town's to the soft sea of red, green and white lights that illuminate the night from late
population suddenly grows by roughly a quarter. The new residents are fall through New Year's Day.
Keeping up with such a collection isn't just a matter of pulling each piece out
full of holiday cheer and they all stay at the same house. Chances are
that those driving through town have met the seasonal visitors but may of storage every year. Along the way, Jim's become adept at rewiring his lights
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not know their hosts. For nearly 40 years, Jim and Georgena
pointers are pure necessity, such as the organized system of stations so that
Fick's Christmastime display of hundreds of blow mold yard
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decorations has brightened holiday spirits along Highway 63.
lessons were learned the hard way, such as the need for stakes and bricks.
It started simply enough: Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus and a
"When the west wind comes through here, it really comes through
shepherd composing a humble nativity scene in the Fick front
here," Jim says. "We had one last week, and I found out the next morn\DUG-LPDQG*HRUJHQDZRXOGÀQGD6DQWDKHUHD0UV&ODXV
ing which ones I hadn't staked."
there, and every once in a while, a snowman, reindeer or a few
An update to the collection's inner workings helps keep the elecelves to round out the growing menagerie.
Vienna
tric bill manageable while maintaining its vintage appeal and warm
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said, you know, we ought to just have a winter wonderland and
less electricity than one month of summertime air conditioning.
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"A lot of these are 60-watt bulbs and only pulling 8 watts," Jim
When Jim retired as an area supervisor for the Missouri
adds.
Department of Transportation in 1998, the collecting took off like
Beyond bringing holiday cheer, some aspects of the display have a more per6DQWD·VVOHLJK0RVWRIWKHGHFRUDWLRQVZHUHSLFNHGXSDIHZDWDWLPHDWÁHD
markets around Missouri. Jim gives Georgena credit for tracking down most of VRQDOPHDQLQJ2QHJUHHQEXOELVOLWLQUHPHPEUDQFHRIDGDXJKWHULQODZORVW
the pieces in the present-day collection. As it's grown, word of the Ficks' yard to ovarian cancer, while a pink bulb pays tribute to many friends from the surVSUHDG6RPHÀJXUHVVXFKDV6DQWDULGLQJDURFNLQJKRUVHFDPHDVJLIWV2QH rounding area who have battled breast cancer. As long as Jim has anything to
snowman materialized on the porch with a simple anonymous note: "We don't say about it, he'll keep the lights burning. The collection doesn't go up or come
down quite as fast as it used to, help to set it up isn't always handy and rain
want it anymore. We hope you can use it." Jim could and still does.
There are a few unifying factors among the assortment of decorations, bearing and wind wreak their havoc. But bringing these old friends out of storage every
the names of now-defunct companies such as Empire, Poloron and Bayshore. year and setting them out for all to see has never lost its joy. For Jim, the whole
experience is almost as fun as the
Not the least of which is Jim's
smiles the decorations bring to
staunch insistence that all of his
those passing by and the stories
decorations be American-made.
he and Georgena have gathered
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over the years.
alone runs to 104 of all shapes
"People say, 'You can't ever
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quit because you've put Vienna
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on the map,' " Jim says. "And in a
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way, it has."
Throw in the carolers, elves and
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Jim and Georgena Fick's
Bethlehem, a train, a church and
Christmas display is located at
a school, and the cast of charac605 Highway 63 North in Vienna.
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Top: The Fick front yard along U.S. 63 in
to draw the most attention from
Vienna has been a sight of delights to the
passersby.
area's holiday travelers since 1982. Left:
"That's the most sought after
The couple's collection of Americanone," Jim says with a chuckle.
made blow mold yard decorations num"Everyone says, 'When you quit
bers over 150 pieces, including everything
doing it, I want that one.' "
from Santa and Mrs. Claus to snowmen,
And that's just Christmas.
reindeer, elves, carolers and more.
Easter, the Fourth of July and

A

37

DECEMBER 2019 | RURAL MISSOURI



Rural Missouri - December 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - December 2019

Contents
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - Intro
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - Contents
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 4
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 5
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 6
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 7
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 8
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 9
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 10
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Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 18
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 19
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 20
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 21
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 22
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Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 26
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 27
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 28
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Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 30
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 31
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Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 33
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 34
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Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 37
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 38
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - Cover4
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