Page 1

Village Living

| December 2010 |

neighborly news & entertainment for Mountain Brook

Village Fashion - pg 9

Allison Adams - pg 12

Volume 1 | Issue 9 | December 2010

Going Griswold For Christmas “Mary Ann’s Lights” Still Shine By Jennifer Gray Two Mountain Brook families host a decade long Christmas tradition that would do Clark Griswold proud. Meg Garrison Krawcyzk and her brother, Sims Garrison, grew up loving Christmas lights. Their family each year rents a large van along with Julie and Bill Meadows’ family and drive around town singing carols and looking at Christmas lights. “This is our forty-first year of the light tour,” Meg said. “We cram five families into the van now that we are all adults and have our own children. No one misses. You come back in town for this.” In 1999, Meg was home for Thanksgiving visiting her mother, Mary Ann Garrison, with her husband Craig, her fiancé at the time. Meg and Craig remember Mary Ann, who passed away last year, saying, “I’ve always wanted to do my house up like Clark Griswold.” Craig confessed he had always wanted to try that too. Mary Ann also had a six-month-

December Features 4

• Holiday Decorations


• A’Mano


• Antiquities


• Village Fashion


• Village Sports


• Christmas Book


• Living Nativity


• Kari Kampakis


• School House


• Spartan Band


• Calendar of Events


Pre-Sort Standard U.S. Postage PAID Birmingham, AL Permit #656

• Letter to the Editor

Front Row: Margaret Krawczyk, Kathryn Garrison, Parker Garrison. Back Row: Emily Krawczyk with Mom Meg Krawczyk, Alice Kate Krawczyk with Dad Craig Krawczyk, Alicia Garrison, Sims Garrison

old grandchild, Parker Garrison, that she thought would enjoy the lights. So deciding to start their own

Christmas light tradition that would rival Griswold’s (played by Chevy Chase in the 1989 movie Christmas Vacation), Mary Ann,

Meg, Craig, Sims, and Sims’ wife, Alicia,


Mountain Brook Resident on “Jeopardy!” By Rick Watson Let’s play a game. Contestant one: I’ll take Local Celebrity’s for $1,000. Host: Alice Jackson Contestant one: Who is the only person from Mountain Brook, Alabama, to appear on the game show “Jeopardy!”? Host: That is CORRECT! Each year, thousands of people try out for a slot on the popular game show “Jeopardy!” Very few are chosen, but Alice Jackson of Mountain Brook ran the gauntlet of tests, interviews, as well as personal evaluation and managed to capture one of the coveted slots on the game show. Alice and her husband Matthew Jackson of Mountain Brook both love “Jeopardy!” She said they try to watch the show daily. Back in January, a promo came on explaining how to become a contestant and they decided to give it a shot. “My husband is good at ‘Jeopardy!’ too,” Alice said. She doesn’t recall how they decided, but ultimately she was the one who did the online version of the game which was the first step to becoming a contestant. Once online, the questions came fast and furious, she recalls. “Everything was timed and the questions were really hard.” She thought she’d bombed her tryout.

Ne Ne ew w Ic Ic ce ed ed Mias Mi as

Local “Jeopardy!” contestant Alice Jackson

But in April, she got an email saying she had made it to the next stage, and asked if she could attend regional tryouts in New Orleans on June 12. Alice told them that date would be problematic because a new baby was on the way and would be about five weeks old on June 12. She asked about other possible dates, but none of them seem to work either, so after a brief family discussion,

Add more color to your cleansing Perfect holiday gift for everyone on your list! Wrapped and ready at

2901 Cahaba Road • 877-9773

they were New Orleans bound. Alice’s parents came up from Fort Walton to sit with their three year old daughter Ann Monroe, and newborn son Otto, while Alice and Matthew went to New Orleans. Alice didn’t do a lot of cramming to prepare for her tryouts. Her husband bought her a Shakespeare for Dummies book, and a friend bought her a copy of The Intellectual Devotional, which is a book that covers a wide range of topics similar to those that might appear as questions on “Jeopardy!” She also felt confident that her Master’s Degree in Art History from the University of Alabama in Birmingham, where she currently teaches part-time, would serve her well in her quest. “I tell my students all the time that art history is about so much more than just art. Art history touches on religion, politics, mythology, and many other topics,” she said. “I keep telling them that what they learn will come in handy someday.” When they arrived in New Orleans, she met with producers and took yet another test which was much easier than she expected. “I’m not sure why, but the test at the tryout was much easier than the online test,” she recalled.

See “Jeopardy!”, PAGE 18


| December 2010 | Village Living

s y a


y p p


% 0 3

li o H


le a S

A Superlative Collection of Extraordinary New Furnishings

Constance Longworth Collection 2408 Canterbury Rd. , Mountain Brook Village • 803.4040 • Tues - Sat 10-4 Gift Certificates Available

Village Living

| December 2010 |

INDIVIDUALITY The gallery for the current economy

One-of-a-kind, competitively priced, new works of art to fit your individual needs.

Rose Decav Individuality Gallery offers eclectic, one-of-a-kind art, and is the gallery for the current economy with reasonably priced pieces and paintings for both the collector and first-time buyer. The gallery is now featuring award-winning artist Mary McShane and her beautiful mixedmedia pieces that fit into both traditional and modern environments. Owner Rose Decav paints unique abstracts that offer interesting colors, a sense of movement and texture, as well as a variety of impressionist pieces. Irene Burns paints impressionist landscapes and skyscapes, which are also featured in the gallery.

Irene Burns One of her pieces was acquired by the President of Costa Rica last year and now hangs in her office. Currently there is a trend to add modern paintings into traditional décor, a refreshing artistic touch. Individuality is the perfect gallery to find these modern pieces at an affordable price. Individuality’s one-of-a-kind philosophy is the gallery’s commitment to bring new original art and frequently change the gallery. To do so, paintings are often placed on sale to provide room for new art pieces, and Rose often contributes paintings for charity auctions.

Mary McShane

2913 Cahaba Rd., Mountain Brook • 535-0060 Tues., Wed., Thurs., 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. and by appointment



| December 2010 | Welcome Friends

Village Living Photo of the Month

Editor’s Note Holidays in Mountain Brook are something special. It’s always a treat to see the lights go up in the villages, a sure sign that Christmas is coming! This year the Bromberg’s tree will be back adding to the beauty of Mountain Brook Village. Come out Dec. 5 and enjoy the Christmas Parade and see the tree. We know you won’t want to miss anything going on in our city, so this issue focuses on celebrating the holidays in Mountain Brook. There are light displays that many of us have enjoyed each year for our entire lives. Make a night of it and invite some friends to go out looking at these displays to get you in the holiday mood.

The living nativity, faithfully brought to our community each year by Mountain Brook Baptist is featured in this issue. We also have a convenient listing of church events in the area. Mountain Brook’s Susan Mathews joins us this month to help make dressing for the holidays and everyday a little easier. Please make sure you email Susan with any fashion questions you may have. She is sure to have an easy solution. If you are looking for something to watch on TV that isn’t a holiday special, check out “Jeopardy!” on Dec. 28. Our own Alice Jackson was recently a contestant. Read all about her experience this month then tune in to find out how she did. We at Village Living truly wish you and your family the most joyous Christmas or Hanukkah this year.

Thank you Leadership Mountain Brook Caroline Dickens, Margaret Dodson and Meme Everette taking 1st, 2nd and 3rd in their age group at Crestline Elementary School’s annual Pumpkin Run.

Staff & Friends Contributing Writers Erica Breen | Christiana Roussel | Kari Kampakis | Rick Watson Laura Canterbury | Will Hightower | Holley Wesley

School House Contributers Alison Gault -Cherokee Bend Lauren Fowler - Crestline Bama Hager -Brookwood Forest Sherrie Futch- Mountain Brook High School Hilary Ross - Mountain Brook Elem. & Mountain Brook Jr High

Contributing Photographers Image Arts | Alison Gault | Kari Kampakis

Published by


Village Living LLC

Dan Starnes

Sales and Distribution

Editor Jennifer Gray

Creative Director Keith McCoy

Dan Starnes Angela Morris Catherine Cooper Loveman

Journalism Intern Lauren Nix

Contact Information: Village Living #4 Office Park Circle, Suite 314-A Birmingham, AL 35223 313-1780

Please submit all articles, information and photos to: P.O. Box 530341 Birmingham, AL 35253 Legals: Village Living is published monthly. Reproduction or use of editorial or graphic content without prior permission is prohibited. Village Living is designed to inform the Mountain Brook community of area school, faith, family and community events. Information in Village Living is gathered from sources considered reliable but the accuracy cannot be guaranteed. All articles/photos submitted become the property of Village Living. We reserve the right to edit articles/photos as deemed necessary and are under no obligation to publish or return photos submitted. Inaccuracies or errors should be brought to the attention of the publisher at (205) 370-0732 or by email.

Students selected for the program are Caroline Bell, Caroline Bowness, Tommy Bruhn, Robert Byrne, L.C. Carmichael, James Cooper, Tara Creeden, Grace Friday, Will Fullington, Kendal Jaffe, Victoria Karagas, Kathleen McKee, Hailey McManus, Emily Meisler, Alex Sherman, and Betsy Webster.

Village Living would like to thank all of the students involved with Leadership Mountain Brook for their contribution this month. This group of students was assigned the job of highlighting some of our city’s best holiday light displays. They gave suggestions as to what displays should be featured in the article. Then they worked in teams and each took a display in a particular area of town. After interviewing a few of the people involved in bringing us all the beautiful displays each year, they wrote an article. The end product is our Holiday Lights story on the next page. Student members of Leadership Mountain Brook are Caroline Bell, Caroline Bowness, Tommy Bruhn, Robert Byrne, L.C. Carmichael, James Cooper, Tara Creeden, Grace Friday, Will Fullington,

Kendal Jaffe, Victoria Karagas, Kathleen McKee, Hailey McManus, Emily Meisler, Alex Sherman, and Betsy Webster. For those who may not be familiar with Leadership Mountain Brook, it is a program sponsored by the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce consisting of 16 Juniors and Seniors from Mountain Brook High School. The students were selected from 50 applicants nominated by high school faculty. The program started at the beginning of the school year and runs through the end of the school year. Over the course of the school year, students are studying four different themes centering around the main theme, “What’s great about Mountain Brook”. Thank you all for helping make this a special issue!

Meet our Staff Susan Graham Matthews Susan Graham Matthews, a life-long resident of Mountain Brook, has been surrounded by fashion since an early age. Her mother was part-owner of a dress shop in Crestline for 20 years. While attending Auburn University, Susan worked in a dress shop near the famous Toomer’s Corner and occasionally at the Atlanta Apparel Mart. After graduating, she worked in banking briefly where she met her husband Dean. In 2000, she opened her own clothing boutique in the heart of Mountain Brook Village. 10 years in the business and two children later, she took a break from the business world to focus her time more on her family. Susan still loves fashion and enjoys helping people organize their closets and personal shopping on a budget. Susan’s other interests are playing tennis and going to Lake Martin as often as possible.

Village Living

| December 2010 |

Circle of Friends Open your heart. Open your mind. Open your circle.

Visit our website at

Lakeshore Foundation athletes participate with junior high faculty in an exhibition game

Circle of Friends Week was celebrated throughout Mountain Brook Schools Nov. 16 – 18 and 29. The week’s purpose was to focus on the special qualities of children and adults with “extra” needs. Some of these challenges are invisible and some are visible. It’s hoped that this focus will teach understanding, patience, tolerance, and inclusion of these persons that will be carried throughout life. Everyone has talents and challenges. And, everyone is different. Students are reminded that it is ok to be different and to be you. They are encouraged to look beyond others’ challenges to their abilities

and strengths. In addition, it’s a time to honor the special education staff who are instrumental in the strides these students make. The week is organized and implemented by the parents of students receiving special education services. The week included fun activities, speakers, and a focus on how to include everyone in life. One event that the junior high hosted involved wheelchair atheletes from the Lakeshore Foundation. They played a bastketball scrimmage against selected MBJH teachers all in wheelchairs.

Holiday Decorations and Traditions in Mountain Brook By Leadership students



As the holiday season is fast approaching, the scenery of Mountain Brook begins to transform all around us. Garland and red ribbons appear amongst the villages, while lighted snowflakes grace the sides of the road. The holiday spirit is tangible as we break out our winter coats and the crisp, clean smell of cold fills the air. Houses seem to take on a personality of their own also, as lights and decorations become a must. As the years go by, some traditions, such as the decorative hay bale on Kennesaw Drive, become an anticipated occurrence. Other events, such as Santa on the Circle on Clarendon Road, the decorative trees on Lake Drive and the circle of lights on Mountain Park Circle, involve the entire neighborhood and bring them together. Some houses may appear to be a bit more overzealous than others during this special season, but the beauty of a dazzling, holiday filled spirit is still the same. A Holiday Extravaganza on Lake Drive Lake Drive in Crestline demonstrates how to perfectly blend a sense of community with the spirit of the holidays. Lake Drive residents Wallace and Marjorie Walker have been participating in the more than fifty-year-old tradition that joins the entire neighborhood together. While traveling down Lake Drive, you will immediately notice the vivid colored trees that are placed in front of every single house. “Now a days people can only find the single-colored bulbs, however, we will always use the big, classic, multi-colored lights, that really make our neighborhood special,” Mrs. Walker explains. Mrs. Walker also describes just how strict the decorations must be. Every Christmas tree must be a certain number of feet from the street, and on the first

Saturday of December all male members of the neighborhood are expected to gather to set up the Santa sleigh, reindeer and lights that are exhibited around the lake. One of the most intriguing details about this particular Lake Drive tradition is its history. The tradition was started because of a Lake Drive resident who ran a toy store and provided decorations to be displayed on the other side of the lake. The same theme is still illustrated today with the addition of a Nativity Scene and a star that is strung across the lake. Lake Drive has another exciting tradition each year: the jolly man himself, Santa Claus, makes an appearance on his four-wheeler for the neighborhood kids. The famous Lake Drive tradition is widely known throughout Mountain Brook. “I have even seen buses come by to stop and look at our decorations,” Mrs. Walker exclaims. The beautiful traditions of this street exhibited in the bright-colored lights, the decorations on the lake and Santa Claus on the four-wheeler truly signify the great character of the neighborhood and the pure spirit of the holidays. Santa Comes to the Circle on Clarendon Road When the holidays begin to draw near, a noticeable change can be seen throughout the city of Mountain Brook. Holiday cheer fills our community, and traditions, such as the Santa on the Circle, keep this joy living on. Santa on the Circle is an event that takes place every year on Dec. 21, 22 and 23 on Clarendon Road and has been a yearly tradition since 1972. On these three nights in December, kids from all over Mountain Brook, as well


Class. Elegance. Style.

Clark Antiques Gallery 325-1999

3205 2nd Ave. So.

(Three blocks east of Pepper Place)

Monday - Saturday 10-5

New shipment of accessories & antiques Unique items for holiday gift-giving



| December 2010 |

Village Spotlight

A’mano 2707 Culver Road 871-9093 A’Mano, one of Mountain Brook Village’s most unique gift shops, will be expanding at the first of the year into the space where the ABC store is currently located. The store, known for its distinctive and hand-made items, will add more accessories with the expansion, as well as offer some new lines. They also plan to expand on lines already in the store that are popular among customers. “It’s really going to be a great addition to what everyone already loves about A’Mano,” Owner Lynn Ritchie said. “We can spread out a little bit, and we’re really excited about getting in there.” A’Mano, meaning “by hand” in Italian, first opened in Crestline 13 years ago and moved to its current location at 2707 Culver Road a year after being in business. It is known for having one-of-a-kind items, and Ritchie says she tries to find things that are not carried in other stores locally. Some of these items include blown glass, functional pottery, jewelry, plaques, doormats, handbags and holiday items. Ritchie says they are known for their


By Lauren Nix

Business Spotlight

crosses, one-of-a-kind greeting cards and nativities. “We always try to find new and different nativities,” she said. A’Mano is the only store in Birmingham to sell R. Wood dinnerware, which is one of very few studio potteries in America that hand-makes each piece. Another wonderful feature of the store is the complimentary gift-wrap they offer on all items. Food items are sold at the store, as well, including cookbooks by local chefs. “It’s always been one of our focuses to support artists in Alabama, as well as nationally,” Ritchie said. A’Mano is known for having unique nativities that add character to traditional holiday décor, and something they have become known to carry, Ritchie says. Their greeting cards are also very unique and popular among customers. “We’re known for our cards,” Ritchie said. “They’re all different and unusual.” From jewelry to dinnerware, A’Mano offers a wide selection of hand-crafted items that are great for any person at any price range. “Really a gift for any occasion you can find here,” Ritchie said. For more information visit www. or give them a call at 8719093.

205-871-9093 2707 Culver Road

THE TOBACCO LEAF Premium Quality Imported Cigars

Left to right: Nikki Quick Schoel, Philip Powell, Marin Zanotti, Owner Lynn Ritchie

The Tobacco Leaf becomes Mountain Brook’s only package store

Now offering high quality distilled spirits

Holton Bell, Manager of the Tobacco Leaf

20% OFF

CIGARS AND ACCESSORIES with this ad - exp. 1-31-11 253 Country Club Park • Crestline Village



By Lauren Nix The Tobacco Leaf, Mountain Brook’s oldest cigar shop, will now also feature a package store. The purpose is to provide classic selections while also offering some more sophisticated liquor choices. With the relocation of the Mountain Brook Village ABC Store, the city will be losing tax revenues each year. “The reason I think it is a good thing is that the only ABC Store in Mountain Brook

is leaving and moving four blocks away to Birmingham, so therefore, we’re losing $35,000 to $40,000 a year in tax revenue,” said Mayor Terry Oden. “[The Tobacco Leaf], in my opinion, replaces the ABC Store.” Manager Holton Bell says the store will offer your typical selection of spirits, as well as specialty brands that customers request. “What we’re going to try to do is sell spirits that aren’t available at the ABC Stores,” Bell said. “So, if a customer comes in and requests a certain brand we’ll order it and have it in stock.” The store will also be open on Sundays and is planning to extend their hours to be open later than most package stores. The new hours are Monday and Tuesday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. “We feel like we’ll be able to accomplish many things for our customers with more convenient hours and choices,” Bell said. In addition to the spirits, the Tobacco Leaf offers a wide variety of premium, hand-rolled cigars and features over 300 brands, as well as humidors and accessories. The Tobacco Leaf is located at 253 Country Club Park in Crestline Village behind the Piggly Wiggly grocery store. Visit or call 868-9900 for more info.

Village Living

Antiquities opens in Mountain Brook Village

Antiquities Owner Nancy McClendon

By Lauren Nix Antiquities is Mountain Brook Village’s newest antique store and provides customers with a large and ever-changing selection. The store, located at 2421 Canterbury Road, has been open since Oct. 11, and Owner Nancy McClendon says she has thoroughly enjoyed being in the neighborhood. McClendon has been in the antique business for over 12 years as a dealer in both Birmingham and Atlanta, and she says when the opportunity to open a store presented itself she took it. “It was nothing I ever really planned to do, but circumstances were just right to do it,” she said. Most of the items at Antiquities have a French origin and approximately 90 percent are antiques. The store has an array of large furniture pieces and chandeliers, as well as small decorative pieces all having their own unique characteristics. “What I’ve found that people like is good quality pieces at a fair price and different and interesting pieces, and that’s what I’m trying to bring together in the

shop,” McClendon said. When an item is sold, McClendon begins looking for a piece to replace it, and therefore has an inventory that is constantly changing. Two of the owner’s friends also have pieces in the store, which McClendon says she thinks adds character and variety. “I think having three people with combined inventories really makes for an interesting shop, and I think we’ve got a little different perspective with three of us in here.” McClendon says she is always willing to help a customer locate a specific item they may be looking for and enjoys customers telling her exactly what they need. She also feels that being in the midst of other reputable antique stores is an added benefit and hopes that the neighborhood is a destination for people shopping for antiques. “That’s one of the great things about antiques is they’re never the same, they all have a little something different about them,” she said. For more information visit the store or call 870-1030.

| December 2010 |



| December 2010 |

Village Living


as other cities, come together and have a visit from Santa. As you will learn from anyone who has experienced it, Santa on the Circle involves elaborate decorations which include a large sleigh and flying reindeer. These decorations are made possible and set up, free of charge, by the city. Decorations can go up as soon as Dec. 1, though for many of us it is not soon enough. The city of Mountain Brook is a main component to why Santa on the Circle is possible, but it is the spirit of the three volunteer Santas as well as the residents of the neighborhood that bring everything together. Ruth Spencer participates in the tradition and jokes that if you plan on moving to Clarendon Road you are required to participate in Santa on the Circle as a part of your initiation into the neighborhood. This neighborhood tradition is a true example of communities that become a network of families that care for one other. Perhaps this winter you can stop by Santa on the Circle and take part of the holiday cheer with your neighbors and friends. Not Your Average Bale of Hay There are many different ways to decorate for the holiday season, and Mountain Brook resident Sally Bussman has found her own unique way to spread holiday cheer through the hay bale creations in her front yard on Kennesaw Drive in Cherokee Bend. Over the past year, Bussman has created an array of hay bale displays for just about every holiday. From reindeer to rose bouquets, her amazing creations never disappoint. When asked how she decides on a certain shape, she replied, “Someone would give me an idea, [but] I would try to not do the obvious.” The neighborhood response has been

one of overwhelming enthusiasm. Lauren Saag, a fellow Kennesaw resident, says, “The kids in the neighborhood love the hay bales. I look forward to seeing what she will do for each holiday.” The idea to decorate hay bales originated as a father-daughter bonding project between Bussman and her father. When Bussman came up with the idea, she knew her father would be more than willing to help. Even though the projects are usually time consuming and costly, Bussman knows that the true value of the creations are the time spent with her father. “You cannot put a price tag on spending time with your dad,” says Bussman. Her favorite creation to date is the 8-foot tall army tank she made to support our troops for Memorial Day. Although she will not be putting up the decorations this holiday season, be on the lookout for a new hay bale creation to be making an appearance in the future. A Circle of Light on Mountain Park Circle Moments away from Crestline Village, an age old tradition still remains. Starting in the late 40s, residents of Mountain Park Circle came together to display their holiday spirit. The legacy of the founding fathers Alvin Vogtle, Axel Bolvig, Bill Ireland and Paul Barcroft still lives on through Bolvig’s two great grandchildren who still live on the circle. The tradition begins with a neighborhood meeting the week before Thanksgiving where responsibilities and expenses are discussed and assigned. Then, on the second weekend of December, everyone eagerly gathers to spend their morning adorning the circle with Christmas trees. Each of the 14 trees is illuminated with three strands of colorful, old-fashioned lights, but it is the arrangement of ornamental mirrors that really makes this display unique.

OTEY S Food, Fun, Music & Spirits Serving incredible food and good times for over 20 years. Kitchen hours Mon thru Sat 11am - 9pm

Book your party today! 224 Country Club park 871-8435 Follow us on Facebook or on the web @

One of Sally Bussman’s hay bale decorations

These mirrors hang in the trees and reflect the lights creating an array of unparalleled enchantment, an idea that came from Ruth Trusslow’s brother who worked on Hollywood sets. To top it all off, a star is placed in the center of the circle, along with wreaths on the door of each house. To celebrate the completion of their display, residents gather on Sunday night for a neighborhood dinner.

These decorations have been put up each and every year with one exception. In 1973, during an energy crisis, President Nixon asked people not to burn outside Christmas lights and so the street, abiding by his request, decided to postpone their tradition until the next year. This holiday season make sure to grab your friends and family and drive down to Mountain Park Circle to experience this holiday attraction for yourself.

Village Living

| December 2010 |


A sequin cami from Stella Blu is perfect for a office to holiday party look.

Village Fashion By Susan Matthews Not all of us know a lot about fashion, but everyone wants to look nice and pulled together. In her column, Village Fashion, Susan Matthews helps solve your fashion dilemmas and even points you towards local stores where items can be found. You can email her your fashion questions at Q: I can only afford to buy one pair of tall boots this winter. What color should I go with, black, tan or gray? Cathy Marks- Crestline A: Gray or tan. They both go with black. Neutrals are this fall’s color pallets. Forget the old rule of only ‘gray with black’ and ‘tan with brown’. Tan boots with a black dress is right on trend. You can find great boots at The Pants Store in Crestline or Laura Kathryn. Q: What is a great jewelry splurge this season? Allison Collier- Mountain Brook A: Long layering necklaces are a big trend right now, so go with a thick chain, long watch or photograph locket. It’s timeless, and you can layer it with shorter necklaces. I’ve seen some great necklaces at Pappagallo, Snoozy’s, and Lulie’s on Cahaba. Q: What is a new twist on my boring black dress for all the holiday parties? Kaira Catenacci- Mountain Brook A: Instead of the expected red shoe and bag, this season try lace ankle booties and a rocker belt to spice it up! Laura Kathryn has great shoes and you can find great belts at Etc. Q: What is an appropriate look for the

Great ankle booties from Laura Kathryn

Neutral boots from Laura Kathryn work with any outfit

Cathy Marks of Crestline rocks her new fall boots

office during the day when you’re going straight to the office holiday party that night? Karla Wiles- Brookwood Forest A: Layer your suit with a gray sequined tank instead of a blouse, and maybe even some merlot-colored tights. Stella Blu has some great looks, so try there. Susan Matthews is a Mountain Brook mother of two. For 10 years, she was the owner of Susan G. Matthews, a boutique in Mountain Brook Village.

Lulie’s on Cahaba has great necklaces for layering

Susan Dumas of Crestline in a vintage inspired navy and white photograph locket with a layering necklace as well. She has a picture of her two boys in either side of it.


| December 2010 |


Village Sports

Spartans finish successful season By Will Hightower The Friday after Thanksgiving, Hoover finished Mountain Brook’s season with a 44-20 win to advance to the state championship game. But just getting to the semifinals was a huge accomplishment for these Spartans, who no one expected to even make the playoffs. In an 11-3 season that included a playoff win over rival Vestavia, Mountain Brook exceeded all expectations. Junior quarterback Edward Aldag was extremely efficient all year. Senior wide receiver John McCrary stepped up with touchdown catch after touchdown catch. And senior cornerback Walker Cox returned numerous kicks for touchdowns, playing lockdown defense on the side. “We have a great group of seniors and juniors. There is a team energy and chemistry that I have never seen before as a coach,” said Chris Yeager, Mountain Brook’s head coach. The energy showed all year as the Spartans more than doubled their 2009 win total, winning enough games to secure home-field advantage for the first three games of the playoffs. Mountain Brook jumped out to a 17-0 lead against Northridge in their first round game, fueled by McCrary catching his fourteenth touchdown catch of the year. But the offense uncharacteristically gave Northridge the ball four times after turning

Chris Yeager’s Spartans exceeded expectations this season

it over only five times all year, letting their opponent back into the game. After Northridge made the score 177, they were driving to score again when senior linebacker Mel Wilcox jumped on a fumble to seal the victory. Senior running back John Beck contributed 148 yards on 29 carries in the win, setting up a rematch with Vestavia. The Rebels handed the Spartans a 17-14 heartbreaker in the regular season, giving Mountain Brook added motivation. The second game was another classic, turning into a defensive chess match. Both teams drove into their opponents’ territory

but couldn’t come up with points early on, carrying a scoreless tie into halftime. McCrary caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from Aldag to score the only points of the game, giving the Spartans a 7-0 lead that they wouldn’t give up. “Our defense played out of their minds,” commented McCrary. Junior Harry Reich forced a fumble and fellow junior Michael Resha recovered it, stopping a Rebel drive in the first half. The defense also had a monumental goal line stand early on that contributed to the shutout. The win over Vestavia was a major step for the Spartans, who moved on to a third

round matchup at home against Gadsden City. The Spartans won that game also by a scored of 20-13, controlling field position all night. Beck scored all three of Mountain Brook’s touchdowns, two on receptions and one on the ground. But the talent of Hoover proved too much for Mountain Brook in the state semifinals at Regions Park. A devastating 44-20 loss ended the Spartans’ successful season. Entering this year, the team wasn’t supposed to even have a winning record. Now, no one is doubting the power of these Spartans.

Mountain Brook Athletics begins fundraising efforts for baseball fields By Michael Seale Many Mountain Brook residents remember when little league baseball and softball were played all over the city on a given Saturday. There was tee-ball at Crestline, softball at Brookwood Forest and Mountain Brook Elementary, and then the rest of the baseball and softball leagues had to share three fields located next to the Jewish Community Center on Montclair Road. While so many of the memories of those days are pleasant ones, when the new Athletic Complex was constructed in 1989 behind Mountain Brook High School, parents and players breathed a collective sigh of relief as all grades were able to play in one location in a new and updated facility. Now, more than 20 years after the first pitch was thrown at the current complex, Mountain Brook Athletics has plans to improve upon the existing facility, but officials with MBA say they need help from the community with the funding for the project. Among the improvements planned for the baseball fields include four new batting cages - which would mean that each field would have two cages each – and covered bleachers, which not only would keep the spectator area shaded, but would also protect spectators from getting hit by foul balls. As well, the fences will be raised to eight feet on each field and new netting and backstops will be installed. Greg Ritchey, who heads up MBA’s baseball operations, said MBA board members listened to suggestions from parents and coaches in the community and decided on what improvements needed to be made. “We are addressing several needs that have been echoed for a number of years now throughout the community,” Ritchey said. “The existing complex is great, without a doubt, but there have been some small things that have needed improvement for a while.”

Rendering of potential new baseball complex

The project will require $330,000 to complete, and the hope is that the project can be completed by the time the 2011 baseball season begins in March. “The process will take approximately five weeks,” Ritchey said. “We are hoping to get these funds in place as soon as possible so we can go ahead and break ground.” MBA President Paul Sparks said he appreciates the cooperation the organization has seen from the City of Mountain Brook

and the Board of Education. “They have been very supportive of what we want to do,” Sparks said. “And I think everyone will really be impressed with the improvements we want to make here.” Sparks and Ritchey also said they have received guidance from the community’s representatives in Montgomery. “Representatives Greg Canfield and Paul Demarco, and Senators Jabo Waggoner and Steve French have assisted

us in securing some grants from the state,” Ritchey said. Now, MBA looks toward the community for the remainder of its funding. MBA is currently soliciting monetary and material donations, as well as donations of stock, all of which are tax deductable. Donations can be made to P.O. Box 530774, Birmingham, AL 35253. More information can be found by visiting www.


Spartans Start Out Hot

| December 2010 |


Cross Country Teams Sweep State

By Will Hightower Three games, three wins. Not to mention a barrage of points. That’s how the Mountain Brook High School boys varsity basketball team began their 20102011 season. On November 16th, the Spartans dueled with Hewitt-Trussville, their first game of the year. With new team member Ryan Austin having recently transferred from Hewitt, the team came out ready to dominate. And dominate they did, scoring an incredible 92 points to the Huskies 71. Jesse Gettinger, Brooks McElveen, Mario Stramaglia, and Austin all contributed over fifteen points. Two days later, in their home opener, the Spartans beat Pinson Valley 88-61, with Stramaglia coming up big by scoring 18 of his 22 points in the second half. Freshman Patrick Keim had a good outing with 14 points and several big defensive plays. After the win, Stramaglia, a junior, commented, “Our defense has to get better. It’s disappointing how many points we are

giving up.” The Spartans fixed that problem quickly, holding Parkway Christian to 39 points in the ensuing game, giving up only one field goal in the second half. Mountain Brook prevailed in that game by scoring 62 points themselves, Stramaglia, Austin, and Gettinger leading the team in scoring. The Parkway Christian game was the opening game of the Bryant Bank Thanksgiving Classic. As of press time, Mountain Brook was scheduled to continue in that tournament in a matchup with Gadsden City. The team will have to work its way through a difficult schedule as a result of being in the “toughest area in the state,” as coach Bucky McMillan said. “Most of the coaches in the state will agree that our area has the most talent.” But as of press time, the team was undefeated and averaging an astounding 81 points per game. Watch for this Mountain Brook team to make noise across the state as it advances through the season.



The Mountain Brook High School Cross Country teams swept the 6A state championships on Nov. 13 at the state course in Oakville, Al. It was the 8th consecutive state title for the girls, and the third consecutive win for the boys. Pictured above are the competitors, along with the rest of their teammates, who dressed in cosume to cheer on their team. Senior Jack Morgan placed second overall for the boys, while 8th grader Caroline Kennedy won for the girls. Coaching the team are head coach Greg Echols and assistant coach Mike McGovern. A special accomplishment was the sub 18 minute time that all the MBHS boys achieved in the 5K.

By Will Hightower The Mountain Brook cross country dynasty has showed its power once again to the tune of state championships for the boys and girls teams. The girls team scored an extremely low thirty points in its win at Oakville, Alabama, easily beating the closest competitor by fifty points. Caroline Kennedy, Emily Bedell, Kendall Reed, Kayleigh Cochran, and Annie Newton were the fastest Mountain Brook girls. Four of the top five girls are either sophomores or freshman, pointing to the


very bright future of the program. The fastest boys were Jack Morgan, Mitchell Lloyd, Jack Monaghan, Pearce Mulkin, and Jack Miller. The boys team scored 52 points, easily beating out secondplace Hewitt-Trussville. Congratulations to both teams, who both are on streaks of winning the state championship. The boys have now won three in a row, and the girls have won an incredible eight state championships in a row, dating back to 2002.


LOWCOUNTRY lowcountry cooking is more than a culinary tradition. It’s a relaxed, welcoming attitude that makes everyone feel at home. It’s a commitment to keep things simple and uncontrived. It’s a state of mind.

121 oak street

mountain brook



| December 2010 |

Village Living

Christmas Book by Local Writer Emphasizes Giving By Gates Porter Many treasured Christmas stories often focus on the act of receiving, encouraging an attitude that is contrary to the true meaning of Christmas. However, in a new publication by local author Allison Adams entitled The Twelve Days of Christmas Giving, the practices of empathy and selflessness take precedence over more secularized traditions. “The idea for the book was a result of my hearing Rick and Bubba discussing the ‘loss of the meaning of Christmas’ in a broadcast prior to the holidays.” says Allison. “I had it on my mind and sat down and wrote it with the intention of emphasizing the Christ in Christmas.” Allison’s new children’s book, a selfpublished spin on the popular Christmas story, The Twelve Days of Christmas, focuses on acts of sharing with others by connecting each of the twelve days with a different charitable act. These helpful deeds are by no means extravagant; they are things any family can do, for example feeding birds and donating time to helping the homeless; however, Allison hopes that, little by little her book will help people in the Mountain Brook community and beyond to refocus their attention on the genuine meaning of the season of giving. “I am hoping that someday this book will become a part of every family’s Christmas tradition,” she says, “where each family has twelve gifts under the tree that they have to give away. “ As an artist, Allison has produced work in the areas of painting and interior design, but writing has always been her main passion. She published two books in Montgomery in 1995 while also being the author of the Birmingham Sketchbook, as well as having written for Southern Beauty. To this day, she continues to write

What can your family do?

Author Allison Adams

on her own and at times composes song lyrics while also devoting time to a series of children’s books based on the fictional adventures of her five-year-old daughter. Allison says that she manages to juggle time between writing and the busy task of raising a family of four children with the help of her assistant, Kristen. While it is not to be taken as a means of converting people to the Christian faith, Allison hopes that her book will help emphasize the true Christian side of Christmas to believers who have lost sight of the true meaning of the annual tradition amidst the pressures of an increasingly commercialized season. Indeed, according to Allison, changes as a result of the book’s

In celebration of The 12 Days of Christmas Giving, written by Allison Adams, Allison and her husband, Chad, who own Crestline Seafood Company, will be offering the community of Mountain Brook a number of opportunities to give back. This book, written for children of all ages, uses the 12 days format with ideas that don’t have to cost a thing, such as giving the gift of time by spending time with an elderly couple in a nursing home, taking a small toy to a hospital to put a smile on the face of a sick child, or taking a box of bouncing balls to an animal shelter. In the weeks that lead up to the Christmas Season, Crestline Seafood will be collecting items that will be delivered to area charities. Each charity will have a bucket inside the front door of Crestline Seafood, such as coats for kids (gently used is ok); items to share with Meals on message can already be seen in her own family, “My children are ages 17, 14, 13, and 5. It was fun to see the older ones adjust to “giving” instead of asking, “which one is for me.” Allison and her husband Chad will have a children’s reading time on Mondays in December at their shop, the Crestline Seafood Company, 63 Church Street in Crestline Village. Story times are 11:30 a.m.

Wheels such as brushes, combs, a holiday note or picture by a child, or a wrapped picture frame to be delivered with the food. Pet items for the local shelters will also be collected. In addition, items such as coloring books and small puzzles will be collected for delivery to Children’s Hospital and other pediatric facilities for those spending the day away from home. Any items you might want if you are in a nursing home will be collected too. We will schedule days to deliver the items and invite any of your teenage children to take part in the delivery. It takes a village, they say, and we are so blessed to live in our own Crestline Village. We hope you will take part in our giving or start your own! Blessings! Allison Adams and 3:30 p.m. and to emphasize the spirit of giving, each child who attends will receive free ice cream. Books are also available for purchase at the store. Information on ordering The Twelve Days of Christmas Giving - by Allison Adams can be found online at http:// www.12daysofchristmasgiving.blogspot. com.

Birmingham Boys Choir Christmas concert By Lauren Nix The Birmingham Boys Choir (BBC) is holding its 33rd annual Christmas Concert at Mountain Brook Baptist Church on Dec. 7 this year. The Choir is composed of boys ages 7-17 from all over the Birmingham area who represent 37 different schools. The BBC was incorporated in 1971 and has since become nationally known as an elite civic boys choir. Ken Berg has been the choirmaster for the last 33 years and is truly passionate about the organization and the lessons he teaches through music.

The Birmingham Boys Choir members

“My goodness, the things they’re learning,” Berg said. “There is so much learning in a choral setting.” The BBC performs at civic events around the Birmingham area and has two major concerts each year. They have performed with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Southern Regional Opera Company and the American Boy Choir. The choir is broken up into different groups based on age. 3rd, 4th and 5th graders are among the Junior Choristers who perform in the spring and Christmas concerts. The Senior Choristers are made

up of 5th through 8th graders who graduate to become Graduate Choristers in the 9th through 12th grades. The senior and graduate choristers take a big trip every other year. Past trips have included visiting Japan, England and Scotland, as well as large cities in the United States. In 2011, the choir will travel to New Mexico and Arizona. Berg says a boys choir is unique compared to others because of the sounds young men are able to make at that age. “They make some truly beautiful music,” he said.

The BBC holds auditions year-round, but only enrolls participants in July and January. No prior musical training is required, only a willingness to learn. Choir members from Mountain Brook are Ty Clark, Robert and William Denniston, Beau Johnson, Joseph Pitard, James Barton, Benjamin Dow, Tanner Echols, Hap Gannon, Brooks Kimberly, David Mandt, John Pelham, Rob Ritchie, and Skipper Stradtman. For more information on the Birmingham Boys Choir and their performance schedule visit www.

Village Living

Living Nativity a long running tradition

| December 2010 |



By Lauren Nix The Living Nativity at Mountain Brook Baptist Church is back for its 47th year. Starting in 1963, the production has become a Christmas tradition and attracts families from all across town. The primary participants are children in Sunday school classes at the church, although Director of Music Ken Berg says that some adults like to dress up as well. The other actors are the animals. Live animals are used during the performance, giving the story a real, authentic feel. Sheep, a donkey, and camels are regulars in the production. Berg says they welcome children to come before and after the shows to pet the animals. The nativity is like a play, with the participants acting out the second chapter of Luke as it is read, while music is played in the background. The same soundtrack is used every year and is narrated by Dotson Nelson who was the preacher in the 1970s. “It’s very much a family and generational event,” Berg said. Ed Wills and his family are evidence of the impact this event has on generations of families. Ed has been participating in the event

since his father was an Associate Deacon in the 70s. He is currently in charge of the lighting and sound for the event, his mother is in charge of the actors and his two children are involved every year as well. “To me it’s a ministry of the church that really allows the community to see what the true meaning of Christmas is all about,” he said. “Christmas wouldn’t be the same without it. The Live Nativity was started by the Associate Deacons of the church and is still managed by them today. “Like so many celebrations and festivals, the event is the same year by year, but the glamour of it shifts and changes as you see children progress through it,” Berg said. This year’s three-night event will be Dec. 21, 22, and 23. There are three shows each night at 6:45 p.m., 7:30 p.m., and 8:15 p.m. Each show lasts approximately 30 minutes and Berg says to arrive early because shows begin right on time. For more information about this year’s event, call Mountain Brook Baptist Church at 871-0331.

• Peter Millar • Jack Victor • Alden Shoes • Robert Talbott The Summit • Saks Plaza


Downtown • 290 21st St N


Alabama Ballet patrons host home parties By Lauren Nix In an effort to raise awareness for the Alabama Ballet, Barbara Cooney and other Alabama Ballet board members began hosting pre-performance and postperformance parties before and after shows. “We had a party last year that was so well-received that we decided to have these little satellite pre parties around town in a grassroots effort to get people to the ballet,” Cooney said. Cooney and a group of hostesses, all of whom are Mountain Brook residents, invite guests to their parties before or after shows in the hopes that more people will support and attend Alabama Ballet performances. Those helping to host parties are Janie Evans, Kim Kinsaul, Barbara Cooney, Teresa Shufflebarger, Beth McMillan, Bonnie Lorino, Peggy Rafield, and Sheri Robinson. Cooney hosted the first party at her home in October of this year before the showing of Dracula. She says all of her guests dressed in black in accordance with the Dracula theme. “The idea is to ask different ballet patrons to invite their own friends,” Cooney said. “There’s really no rules, it’s

just you invite your friends or book club or supper club friends or anybody.” The group will not be hosting any parties for the Nutcracker performances simply because of the busy time of year, but they plan to pick back up in February for Giselle and hope to double the number of hostesses by that time. “The more people that host, the more friends they bring and the more fun it is,” Cooney said. Cooney has two daughters who dance for the Ballet and is in her third year being a board member. “I really believe in our ballet,” she said. “We have a very talented company and they do not get enough recognition in this town.” The Alabama Ballet began in 1981 and has since gained great notoriety for their impressive leadership and performances. Their next performance will be The Nutcracker on Dec. 10-Dec. 19. For more information on how you can be involved with the Alabama Ballet and a complete schedule of upcoming performances, visit their website at www.

L to R: Beth McMillan, Janie Evans, Kim Kinsaul, Teresa Shufflebarger, and Barbara Cooney

2841 Cahaba Road 879-5277 Featuring Birmingham’s largest selection of Earthborn Studios Pottery by Tena Payne since 2000



December 2010 | Village Living

mudtown eat & drink 205.967.3300

3144 Green Valley Road

Cahaba Heights

Get One FREE!!

Buy One Sunday Brunch Item

Does not include specials.

61 church st • 870.5683

Expires 12-31-10

LifeActually By Kari Kampakis It’s a ONEderful Life My baby, Camille, turns one on December 23. When I consider where I am now versus this time last year, I’m a little bit ashamed. The thing is, I never dreamed of having a fourth child. Although I was the fourth in my family, I decided long ago that three was my chaos threshold. Like a fish needs water, I need order, and playing Chief Organization Officer to a family of five— while squeezing in time to write—already had me running on fumes. Besides, I was just starting to see the light beyond the tunnel of toddlerhood. With Marie Claire—my baby at the time—nearly two and a half, I’d reached a milestone. I’d graduated from FischerPrice toys and written off the baby stage. Yes, after six years of paying motherhood’s initiation dues, I was enjoying my kids as little people. I was getting my life—and my groove—back at last. Then I got pregnant. I didn’t cry when I found out, but I certainly wasn’t happy. It felt weird not to be excited. Upon news of my other three pregnancies, my heart soared, but this time was different. My emotions ranged from shock to denial to guilt. God had granted me the three babies I prayed for; who was I to complain about one more? How many thousands of women would have taken my pregnancy and run with it? The biggest irony was that my two oldest daughters were the result of fertility treatments. I’d known the fear of never being able to have a child—and the disappointment of two early miscarriages. So why couldn’t I wrap my head and heart around a fourth baby? I’ll tell you why: Because it seemed like a major setback. All the dreams I’d put on the back burner now had to simmer longer. In the meantime, I had to learn how to handle four kids when I could barely manage three. With that said, it was a stressful pregnancy. Although my attitude improved, I had several meltdowns regarding the future. How would we swing four weddings, four college tuitions, four ongoing soap operas? Who would be scarred by a lack of attention? Would I ever be free again? I’ve always loved the Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life, and though I think everyone has some George Bailey in them, I really related to him during this

time. Instead of coming home and seeing my beautiful kids, I’d see the flaws of my house, the mess of too many toys. No, I wasn’t ready to jump off a bridge like George, but I was slightly disillusioned about my life—and the blessings under my nose. As Camille’s birth day approached, I kept my expectations low. I braced for a seismic shift and plastered a smile on my face for my kids—who were, by the way, elated. From the moment they first saw Camille’s pea-sized body in a sonogram, they talked about it non-stop. Ella, Sophie, and Marie Claire met their new sister shortly after delivery. From my hospital bed, I watched Ella start crying. The pride and joy on her face and Sophie’s as the nurse enlisted help for Camille’s first bath was priceless. I grabbed my camera and snapped away. As I reflect on this past year—and coming home Christmas day with a new baby—I remember the moment in It’s a Wonderful Life when Clarence the Angel tells George Bailey, “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many others. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole.” When I think about life without Camille— and the happiness I would have missed because I didn’t have the foresight to pray for her—I want to cry. I tend to think of pregnancy from a selfish standpoint—how will this impact my life?—but through Camille, I’m reminded that a baby redefines an entire family. Camille’s birth was a bonding experience, because one thing we all have in common is love and awe for her. I thought our club was complete before. Little did I know, we needed a mascot to rally around, an adhesive force to strengthen the unit. This holiday season, as you count your blessings—or perhaps the unanswered prayers of a tough year—I hope you’ll remember the “Camilles” in your life, the unexpected gifts that fell on your doorstep as you awaited other packages. In twelve short months, my baby has changed my heart. She’s also inspired my belief that what’s left off a wish list is often the present we wind up most grateful for. Kari Kubiszyn Kampakis is a Mtn. Brook mom of four girls with a background in PR, writing, and photography. Visit her online at www. or email her at kampakis@

Fun filled holidays at the library By Holley Wesley Holidays are always a hectic time here at Emmet O’Neal Library and December is certainly no exception. Books on holiday decorating, parties, cooking, and handmade gift-making top the list of indemand materials. Drop by to see us for any of these materials or check out one of our special programs scheduled throughout the month! Enjoy hot chocolate, cookies, and two classic holiday films on Sunday, Dec. 12 when the Library hosts the annual Holiday Movie Double Feature from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Got teenagers? The Library will offer Exam Study Breaks, featuring snacks and extra study spaces for groups, for students in 7-12 grades during the week of Dec. 1317. Armchair travelers will need to bundle up for Documentaries After Dark on Tuesday, Dec. 14 as we join a group of scientists and mountaineers attempting to climb the highest peak in Antarctica, the Vinson Massif! On Thursday, Dec. 16, plan to have

lunch or dinner (or both!) at Dyron’s Lowcountry in Crestline Village! On the third Thursday of each month, Dyron’s donates 10 percent of all proceeds to Emmet O’Neal Library. You won’t want to miss the Brown Bag Lunch Series on Wednesday, Dec. 29. Librarians Katie Moellering and Holley Wesley will offer a preview of the buzzworthy books due out this winter and spring! Drop by the Library for a calendar featuring these special events, as well as all of our other regularly scheduled programming. The Library will be on Holiday Hours Friday, Dec. 17 through Sunday, Jan. 2: Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Sundays. The Library will be closed for the Christmas holiday Thursday, Dec. 23 through Sunday Dec. 26 and for the New Year’s holiday Friday, Dec. 31 through Sunday, Jan. 2. For more information, contact the Reference Desk at 205/445-1121.

Village Living | December 2010 |

What Hanukkah means to me

By Leigh Lewis- 6th grader at Brookwood Forest

won because I am Jewish. Every year, my whole Some people might ask, family gets together to what does Hanukkah mean to celebrate Hanukkah. When us, but I think a better question everyone gets to my cousins’ is, what does Hanukkah house, we hang out. We watch mean to you. Hanukkah the television, and talk. After means something different for we are done socializing, the everyone. To me Hanukkah girls say the blessings over means family tradition. We the lights. We keep the lights have a family tradition, and it burning the whole night, and comes every year. it is really cool. The candles are You see, Hanukkah doesn’t colored yellow, white, and blue. have to mean anything to you, Those are Hanukkah colors. Leigh Lewis but if you are Jewish it should. We don’t get really excited It is not just presents, food, and games. It until the parents call for dinner. I walk is being with family, or giving, or family into the dining room, and the smell of tradition. Hanukkah is the story of a war a salty, potato latkes enters my nose. The long time ago. This is what happened: the latkes have always been made by my Jews won with one thousand people, and grandfather,(which hopefully will never the other people lost with fifty thousand change), and white, foggy, latke smelling people. It was a miracle, and I am glad they smoke is through the whole house by the

A Christmas Story By Madison Clark, 5th grader, Mountain Brook Elementary

As I look around, I can’t help but smile at those There’s nothing like who love me. Papa is my Christmas, is there? grandfather, and one of For as long as I can the best men I know. He’s remember, my family’s survived two heart attacks gathered at my Aunt Linda’s and several heart surgeries, house for a feast with things so when we listen to him such as honey-roasted pray after the Bible Story as turkey and sweet potato he does every year, we know casserole with big, fluffy how lucky we are to have marshmallows. When I walk him. in, the scent of warm apple My Mimi is a beautiful Madison Clark cider tickles my nose. The and elegant lady whose house gets louder and louder as platinum hair shines in the glimmering cousins, aunts and uncles arrive from out lights. Seeing them sit side-by-side at of town. The joy in the air can only happen Christmas makes me hope that one day I’ll at Christmas. have what they have, and be surrounded

time he is done. Finally the amazing foods are inside of my stomach. After eating, I’m usually about as full as my dog after he eats a whole box of doughnuts! At about the time I get done with dinner, my family is sitting around a large table to play dreidel. Dreidel is a traditional Hanukkah game played by kids all around the world. A dreidel, is almost like a spinning top. On each of the four sides there is a Hebrew letter. When you spin the dreidel and it lands on a certain letter you can either win or lose the prize. In the center of this circular table there is a large pile of gelt. Some people just call it chocolate. When the game is over, I hope to have gelt, (but normally I don’t have any). When the game is over, it is time for our desserts. On a platter there are always cookies, cakes, and pies. I get a piece of everything and eat it all, but then I have to lie down because I ate too much. I sneak downstairs to check out how many presents I have... a lot! I have to be careful down there. My

cousins and parents would get mad to know that I was checking out my surprises. When I hear booming footsteps coming, I hear my heart pound. “Where do I hide,” I think to myself. It is too late. There in the doorway is one of my cousins. He isn’t going to tell on me, but I decide to go on upstairs, so I don’t get into further trouble. Finally, they notice I want to open presents, and all the kids race down the stairs. I sit in front of my pile, and everyone else does the same. Before the parents tell us to start, I rip open my biggest present. Once the kids are done playing with their presents for the night, it is time to take pictures. It takes forever! There are pictures of just boys, and just girls. There are pictures of everyone, and just a few people at a time. There is never any point in this to me. Also it is just simply boring to keep taking pictures when you are ready to play another game of dreidel-this time with money! After this, it is time to say our goodbyes and wait until next year for our family tradition to come again.

by children and grandchildren who love me. Gathered in Aunt Linda’s living room, my family takes turns reading the Bible Story. Everyone chooses how and where they’ll read. A few years ago, my cousin Laura Lee read it while hula-hooping. The important part is to get the true meaning of Christmas. We pray for those with us and those celebrating Christmas in Heaven. Next comes the really fun part, because that’s when we watch my mom’s favorite Christmas movie, A Christmas Story. Every time Ralphy asks for his Red Ryder BB gun, someone yells, “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!” You hear that a lot at my house at Christmas, particularly to my little sister who gets into everything and would more than likely shoot my eye out! It wouldn’t be Christmas unless we watched this movie twenty times. My mom and dad even sent my Uncle Ken one of those goofy leg lamps one year.

My favorite Christmas tradition is the Angel Tree. After everyone in my family picks an angel, we set aside a time to shop. We start with dinner at Johnny Rocket’s or somewhere cool like that and head to Target. We’re so excited knowing a child will wake up Christmas morning to all their wishes coming true. We shop for hours to choose the right gifts, load the car, and head to Starbucks to talk about how to wrap the gifts or what we think our “angels” will do or say when they see them. Of all the beautiful Christmas lights, none compare to our Christmas Eve service at Mountain Brook Baptist Church. After Dr. Moebes finishes his sermon, the lights dim and everyone lights a candle while singing “Silent Night.” This is a memory I’ll always cherish, my family standing side-by-side by candlelight on Christmas Eve. There is just nothing like Christmas!

Looking for that perfect Christmas gift? Through 12/31, *Use your Medical Savings Account!

We look foward to seeing you!



Price M. Kloess, MD

Andrew J. Velazquez, MD

Call to schedule an appointment att either of our two co convenient locations! conv

Mountain Brook 592-3911

Greystone 991-2021

visit our website at (all insurances accepted including VSP)


| December 2010 | School House

Antiques & Linens BR

Beverly Ruff

CBS visit to Jones Valley Urban Farm

Have you framed your loved ones for the holidays?

Open House Dec. 4 • 10-4

Those pictured left to right are: First row: Alice Byars, Sareena Askenazi, Reagan Downey, Kathryn Huddleston and Richard Brock; Middle row: Sarah Welles Edwards, Margaret Nichols, Cam Sparks, Amelia Tynes, Jenny Watts and Julia Bedingfield; Back row: Mrs. Ashley Paulk, James Gregory, Andrew Hawkins, Charles Vaughan, Grady Breland, and Teddy Kent.

2417 Canterbury Road. Mountain Brook Village Mon - Fri 10 - 4 Sat 11 - 4

By Alison Gault The First Graders of Cherokee Bend Elementary School recently visited Jones Valley Urban Farm in downtown Birmingham. The students learned about farming and picked organically grown herbs, mild peppers, radishes, turnips and lettuce. Afterwards, the children walked


across the street to the downtown YMCA, where they used a teaching kitchen to make healthy snacks with the vegetables they picked. Additionally, the Jones Valley Farm nutritionist taught the first graders about the different food groups and the importance of making healthy eating decisions.

MBHS Debaters Score Big Win

By Sherrie Futch

Mountain Brook Elementary Salutes Veterans By Hilary Ross The fifth grade at Mountain Brook Elementary recently presented its annual Salute to Veterans. The stage was decorated with the United States flag and banners representing each branch of our military. Led by the direction of music teacher, Louisa Elmore, the audience enjoyed songs about our country, flag, patriotism and American pride. The show included soloists, dancers, students dressed as immigrants, and speakers. Many veterans from each branch of the military attended the show as honored guests. The show concluded with veterans in attendance coming to the stage when the theme song for the branch of service in which they served was sung by the students. Students then placed a flag pin on their veteran. After “Taps” was played to honor and remember those who died for our country

Mountain Brook High School’s Debate Team sent a small squad to a tournament in Homewood recently, but brought home big results. With only ten debaters in attendance from Mountain Brook, the team still had an overwhelming victory in the over-all Debate Sweepstakes. The Mountain Brook team was led by a dominant performance from sophomore stand-out Wyatt Moorer who made his third appearance in the finals of a Varsity Lincoln-Douglas tournament for the year. Moorer won the championship as well as the speaker championship and earned the team maximum points for Varsity Lincoln Douglas, since he was the only MBHS debater entered in the Varsity division. The Novice Lincoln-Douglas team sent three debaters to face off against more than two dozen debaters from public and

private schools around the state, including 14 from Vestavia. Mountain Brook new-comer Haley Siddall took fourth place Speaker and finished as a semi-finalist, Kate Causey made third place Speaker, and Irene Zhang was the Champion Speaker and finished as the Reserve Champion for the tournament. The Mountain Brook team also sent 5 Congressional Debaters. Russell Day finished as the fourth place speaker and Payne Griffin was the Congressional Champion. Jeff Roberts, who coaches the Mountain Brook Debate Team, said he was extremely pleased with the performance by the very young team. “Only one senior was on the squad this weekend so we definitely like the promise of our sophomore class,” he said.

MBE Making Wishes Come True This Holiday Season By Hilary Ross

Also pictured are 5th grade students Miller Cox and Bill Miller with their grandfather Major William F. Miller, Jr.

during service, there was a reception on the front lawn of the school where refreshments were served to the guests.

Pictured here are some students during the performance: 1st row L-R: James Roth, Miller Cox, Avin Niknafs and Brian Barr, 2nd row L-R: Ben Collier,Aubrey Hart,Katie Vise,Lillian Fowler, Davis Latimer and Myya Corkan.

This year Mountain Brook Elementary students and faculty raised money to insure that thirty-one children in area foster homes have gifts to open this holiday season. The annual Holiday Project entitled “Making Wishes Come True” encouraged students to take an active role in raising money for Birmingham area foster children, who ranged in age from five to twelve years. Many MBE students raided piggy banks, performed extra chores around the house, and even hosted lemonade stands to raise money to help these kids enjoy a happy holiday. This program focuses not only on providing for the needs of children in our community, but also teaches MBE students to be active in demonstrating compassion for others. The long term goal for this project is to give students a desire and knowledge for lifetime community service. Yellow paper stars were distributed to MBE students to write their thoughts on how it feels to get a gift. The stars decorated the lunchroom during the project. The money raised was evenly divided between each classroom. Students were

Seen here preparing to make wishes come true are MBE students: Margaret Polk, Ellie Shelfer, Elise Polk, Howell Polk and Johnny Nathan. invited to go shopping for the foster children who provided their ‘wish list’ to the Salvation Army and were “adopted” for the holiday by an MBE classroom. Many lists included wishes for necessities such as a new coat and shoes to things all kids wish for like a bike or video games. Once all the presents were purchased by each classroom, they were collected at the school. The Salvation Army then sent a truck to the school to collect the presents for the foster kids. The gifts will be distributed to them during the holiday. The program is an annual project by MBE and demonstrates the spirit of giving.

School House

| December 2010 |


BWF students visit Montgomery By Bama Hager Brookwood Forest Elementary fourth grade students visited the Capitol and other historical sites on Tuesday, Oct. 26. Students traveled by bus to Montgomery and visited historical Old Alabama Town where they learned about some of the first settlements in Alabama. Students learned about school houses, medical care, stores and home life in the middle and late 1880’s. The tour of Old Alabama Town ended with a picnic lunch on the grounds. Students visited the Governor’s Mansion in Montgomery on their next tour stop. Students learned about the history of the grounds and the mansion. Many students reported that they were most impressed with the Alabama shaped pool installed during the Wallace administration. Brookwood Forest fourth graders ended their day at the Capitol Building. The tour allowed students to see portraits of past governors, view the first legislative gallery, learn about the art of the rotunda and see the site where inaugurations occur. After returning to Brookwood Forest

Senator Slade Blackwell and 4th grade students at Brookwood Forest Elementary, fourth grade students and teachers were visited by State Senator Slade Blackwell. Senator Blackwell led an interactive discussion on the process of making laws. Senator Blackwell guided the students through a presentation that represented the process used by law makers in Montgomery for making a bill into a state law.

FAA Air Traffic Control Specialist visits Crestline By Lauren Fowler Crestline PAGE students (l to r), Katherine Grace McMinn, Ann Douglas Lott, Elizabeth Leitner and Lucie Christian listen as Holly Roe, an Air Traffic Control Specialist with the Federal Aviation Administration talks to them about her job as an Air Traffic Controller. Fifth grade PAGE students are participants in the Future Problem Solvers Program and their study involves analyzing the problems of

Air Transportation from a scenario in the year 2061. Their teacher is Julia Peterson.

Mountain Brook Junior High Selects Basketball Teams By Hilary Ross Mountain Brook Junior High recently formed its 7th and 8th grade boys’ and girls’ basketball teams. Bruce Henricks and Zach Skipper are the 7th grade boys’ coaches and named these players to the squad: Ford Alexander, Joe Donald, Charlie Fell, Spencer King, Jack Kline, Ben Nelson, Harrison Pyburn, Andrew Reed, Drew Smith, Dillon Sullivan, Drew Williams and Harlan Winn. Greg Morrow and Zach Skipper coach the 8th grade boys’ team and their roster includes: Cooper Barnes, Jack Carvalho, Matt Creighton, Will Edwards, Adam Elrefai, Will Freeman, Will Hartley, Hunter Holcomb, Hunter Lucas, Deke Marbury, Drew Odum, and Jordan Rich. Come watch the boys in action at their remaining home games which are played at Mountain Brook Junior High in the gymnasium. The remaining home games in December and January are as follows: Thursday, Dec. 2 Hewitt - 7th at 5:45 and 8th at 4:30 Thursday, Dec. 9 Liberty Park - 7th at 5:45 and 8th at 4:30 Friday, Dec. 10 John Carroll - 7th at 5:15 and 8th at 6:30 Tuesday, Jan. 4 Bumpus - 7th at 4:30 and 8th at 5:45 Monday, Jan. 10 Homewood - 7th at 4:30 and 8th at 5:45 Tuesday, Jan. 18 Pizitz - 7th at 4:30 and 8th at 5:45 Don’t miss the 7th grade metro tournament that will be held Jan. 26-27 at MBJH. The 8th grade tournament will be played at Oak Mountain Middle School on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2010.

The 7th grade girls’ Coach John Phillips has named these players to the team: Sara Carr, Laura Wason, Brianna Lipp, Olivia Chew, Rachael Pugh, Kathryn Wason, Elizabeth DeAtkine, Harris McCullough, Margaret Davidson, Sara Chandler Mitchell, Julia Jane Duggan and Laine Meisler. The 8th grade team, coached by Kelli Moore, includes these athletes: Julia Smith, Abigail Garrett, Sarah Yarbro, Kendall Crumbaugh, Morgan Lineberry, Sara Bragg, Caroline Kennedy, Julia Garrison, Caroline Barber, Emma Abele, Neely Francis and Louise Shearer Come watch the girls in action at their remaining home games which are played at Mountain Brook Junior High in the gymnasium. The remaining home games in December and January are as follows: Monday, Dec. 6 Homewood - 7th at 4:30 and 8th at 5:45 Tuesday, Dec. 7 Chelsea - 8th at 6:00 Friday, Dec. 10 John Carroll - 7th at 4:00 Friday, Jan. 7 Berry - 7th at 5:45 and 8th at 4:30 Thursday, Jan. 13 Liberty Park - 7th at 5:45 and 8th at 4:30 Thursday, Jan. 20 Clay - 7th at 5:45 and 8th at 4:30 Monday, Jan. 24 Hewitt - 7th at 4:30 and 8th at 5:45 Don’t miss the metro tournaments that will be held Jan. 26-29. The 8th grade tournament will be played at ClayChalkville Middle School and the 7th grade tournament will be played at Simmons Middle School.

MBJH Students Organize for Service By Hilary Ross Many MBJH students participate in the SOS (students organized for service) program, which enables them to volunteer their time and efforts throughout the community. Facilitating and coordinating the volunteer opportunities for these students is the SOS Council, which is comprised of 8th and 9th graders who are chosen at the end of the school year based on applications and First row, left to right: Maddie Sheffield, Annie Sheffield, Emily Sink, service hours submitted. Mary Keller Greene, Mallie Given, Brook Littleton, Baylee Edwards The SOS Council and Brantley Sanders. Second row, left to right: Anna Kate Healey, members planned many Anna Smith, Catherine Kinney, Anna Matthews, George Eagan, Charlie Steinmetz, Jack McPherson, John Eagan, Preston Eagan, Drew activities for the school Odum and Franklin Brown. year and invited the entire After the new year, students will student population to make this year a success. Those students who perform SOS collect blankets for charities in the Black hours and turn in the record sheet on the Belt, “Stuff the Suburban” with toiletries deadline date at the end of the year receive to benefit a local shelter, and will assist Carpenter’s Hands, a ministry through recognition at Honors Day. So far this year, the students have Canterbury United Methodist Church collected five hundred books for AIM (Aid which provides safe, decent and affordable to Inmate Mothers), fed sixty residents at housing to low-income families. It is amazing that while these the First Light Shelter, and worked at Boo students are busy with school and other at the Zoo. A coin drive was held in November extracurricular activities, that they choose to benefit Mitchell’s Place, a non-profit to spend some of their free time working to treatment center specializing in services for help others. Kendall Eagan and Virginia Sheffield children and families affected by Autism are the PTO sponsors of the Council. For Spectrum Disorder. This month, the students will also further information on how your student volunteer at the Birmingham Botanical can volunteer, visit the school website at: Gardens HollyDay Magic, The Salvation Army and the Birmingham ZooLight and click on the clubs and organizations tab. Safari.


| December 2010 | School House


CBS Veteran’s Day celebration


981-2696 4th graders waving miniature flags during the Veteran’s Day program

By Alison Gault The Fourth Grade class at Cherokee Bend recently performed in the school’s annual Veteran’s Day musical program, featuring patriotic and military songs. Students formed a giant flag on the stage by dressing in shirts that were red, white, or blue with white stars. Veterans


in the audience were thanked as they stood when the students performed the songs from each branch of the military. The students were under the direction of music teacher Marsha Alexander, while parent volunteer Amy Roberts accompanied them on the piano.

Kindergartners visit Ruffner Mountain

Buy one general admission and get one Go Kart

For FREE!! (Tuesday - Friday)



LIMO RIDE! (Check our website for rates) INC.


Located Just Off HWY 280. Behind Logans Road House 157 RESOURCE CENTER PKWY . BIRMINGHAM, AL

Sparkle the Elf December 10-23 Sparkle the Elf is heading to town! Snap kids is where she will touch down! Stop by each day to join in some Holiday fun Or check out Facebook to see a picture of what Sparkle has done! What 12 items will Sparkle’s favorites be? For 15% OFF you better come see

“Run, Run Rudolph” December 10-23 40% OFF ALL Saucony Tennis Shoes toddler, kids, and women’s

240 Country Club Park • 834.8038 Find us on - Snap Kids Birmingham

By Lauren Fowler The Crestline Kindergartners took a field trip to Ruffner Mountain as part of their study of trees. In the classroom, they had studied bark, branches, roots, and leaves to get them ready for their hiking adventure. Students learned that leaves, bark, seeds, buds and stems all serve as identifiers to the specific kind of tree they were viewing. They enjoyed seeing insects such as beetles that help wood Crestline Kindergartner teacher Johnna Noles and Teresa Howellwith their class decay and salamanders that live under rocks. After the hike, students lose their leaves are called evergreens. visited the Ruffner Mountain Nature After finishing their art projects for the Center which houses many animals that day, they enjoyed “free drawing” scenes are indigenous to the mountain area. from their experience. They drew various After returning to school, students trees, flowers, snakes and even children shared their experience with friends, hiking along a path. Documenting their teachers as well as their parents at home. fieldtrip and sharing their learning with For instance in art class, they told their those around them, students truly will teacher that trees that stay green and don’t cherish this experience for years to come.

“JEOPARDY!”, cover story The contestant hopefuls were split into groups and they played mock “Jeopardy!” against each other. “We played the game with buzzers and an audience,” she said. The producers also interviewed the contestants in front of the crowd to see how well they performed. Alice felt that she did well, but in talking with other contestants, many of them had tried out multiple times and had never been selected to appear on the show. She left the tryouts thinking, “oh well, this was fun.” She felt that being chosen on the first round was a long shot. But Alice was wrong! A few weeks later, they called and asked if she could be in Los Angeles in late August. “I was in shock for about three days,” she said. “We were so excited!” Once in California, the producers bent over backwards to make contestants feel at ease. “Everyone was great!” she said. She arrived on set at 8 a.m. and the staff went over the rules, gave them helpful tips, and provided background information in a very relaxed manner. “They told stories and went over all the specifics so there would be no surprises on the air,” she said. Before taping, they did her make-up and hair to get her camera ready. All the contestants had a chance to do dry run games so that they felt comfortable with the set and the game. Prior to taping, Alice provided producers with some biographical information. “They were looking for something interesting about each contestant that they could talk about on

the show,” said Alice. She happened to mention that she’d been a bridesmaid in fourteen weddings. They found that very interesting and when she told them she had twelve bridesmaids in her own wedding they were amazed. “I guess we do things big in the south,” she said. The producers loved that line so that’s the story she told on the air. During the show, everything seems spontaneous, but “they leave little up to chance,” she explained. Alex Trebek, who has hosted “Jeopardy!” for twenty-seven years, was personable according to Alice. All the contestants had their pictures taken with him and he made being on the show “a great experience.” Alice can’t divulge any specifics about her appearance on “Jeopardy!” but you can see for yourself by watching the show on December 28. The Jacksons regret not having had time for sight-seeing in California, but their schedule was tight. Alice thought to herself as she flew to LA for the show, “Whether I win or lose, doesn’t matter,” she said. “This is a oncein-a-lifetime experience, and I’m going to enjoy it”. And she did. Rick Watson’s book Remembering Big is available at The Little Professor Book Store in Homewood or online at www.homefolkmedia. com. You can contact him at rick@

Village Living | December 2010 |


Spartan band brings spirit By Lauren Nix They are a well-organized team of performers ready to showcase their talents at football games, parades and concerts. They have their playbook and routines memorized and perform at assessment festivals throughout the year. They add life to pep rallies and half time shows, and set the tone for many community events. They are, drum roll please, the band! With over 100 Mountain Brook students involved in the marching band alone, this organization has a large impact on student’s lives from the moment they join. Many people think of football games and parades as the biggest events for the band, but those are only one part of the band’s performances and responsibilities each year. The program is comprised of the marching band and the symphonic band, which are made up of the same students but have completely different musical approaches. “Marching band is primarily football season based,” Band Director Frank Blanton said. Blanton, who has been Mountain Brook’s band director for nine years, says the staff begins preparation for marching band season in the spring by discussing and planning concepts and music for shows. Students begin practicing two weeks before school starts in August at the high school and then go on a retreat to Mentone, Ala. During those two weeks, the students are learning both music and movements as they prepare to perform on the field during the halftime show. “Marching band has become sort of a

The Spartan Band marching into the stadium for the Shades Valley football game.

miniature art form,” Blanton said. “It’s theatrical in a way, combining music and choreography and movement, so to plan that takes a lot of time.” The marching band is made up of the musicians, the Dorian dance team and the color guard. There are three band directors, two percussion directors, a sponsor and a choreographer for the Dorians and a color guard instructor. Ninth grade junior high students play with the high school marching band, and the standard grade to begin playing in the band is the sixth grade. “The complication that creates for us is we have band students at all three tiers of the school system,” Blanton said. Ninth graders are shuttled to the high school by bus for marching band rehearsal,

and sixth graders are shuttled to the junior high four days a week for their beginning band class. Blanton says this can add some confusion, especially because the schools are on different schedules. The marching band is active at football games, parades and community events such as Dog Days where they perform each year. While the marching band is only active for part of the year, the symphonic band practices year-round and is what Blanton calls “the core of the program.” “The real reason we’re here is to teach music and be music educators, and the vehicle for that is the symphonic band,” he said. The symphonic band is comprised of

the same students that are in the marching band, but the style of music and the approach are completely different. The symphonic band has several concerts throughout the year including the Holiday Concert, which includes the bands from all of the Mountain Brook school systems. In addition to concerts, the symphonic band also participates in assessment festivals each year where they are judged by a panel and given an evaluation. Each spring, the High School Symphonic Band is taken out of state for an adjudication event where they again perform for a panel that evaluates and rates the band. “That’s how performing groups are tested,” Blanton said. “Our way of testing is going to these adjudicated events.” He says the band learns very valuable information at these events. Every other year, the band goes on a big out of state trip to perform in an adjudication event and this year’s trip is to Chicago. Blanton said they try to make the trip a cultural experience, as well as one in which the students learn a great deal. Blanton says since he’s been director he has seen many students pursue music in their future and finds it very gratifying to see students grow through the band program. “What is very gratifying for me is to see a student start and see the maturation that goes on through all those years, because we spend a large chunk of their lives with them,” he said. Be sure to attend this year’s Holiday Concert on Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. to hear the band perform. It will be held in Mountain Brook High School’s auditorium and is free to the public.

10K Run starts at 8 am • 1 Mile Fun Run starts at 9:30 am • Timing Chips • After Party

20 |

December 2010 | Village Living

President Carter works with local students on Habitat house

President Jimmy Carter and Mrs. Carter along with members of the Interact Club and Key Club and the Cummings family

By Sherrie Futch Members of Mountain Brook High School’s Key Club and Interact Club got a chance to work alongside former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalyn Carter in October. The two clubs were continuing work

on the Habitat for Humanity house they are sponsoring, along with Mountain Brook Baptist Church. These service clubs give Mountain Brook students the opportunity to give back to their community by doing hands-on community service projects.

Interact Club members complete a minimum 8 hours of community service every nine weeks and also participate in Relay for Life and the Mercedes Marathon, in addition to Habitat for Humanity. The Key Club sponsors several events,

including Brookstock, Prom King, Pennies for Patients, the Mercedes Marathon and Mitchell’s Place, in addition to Habitat. The MBHS Key Club chapter is affiliated with the Shades Valley Kiwanis organization.

Church Events in December

Brookwood Baptist Church 3449 Overton Road 205-967-0441

December 3

Behold the Lamb of God Concert. 7 p.m. in the Sanctuary.

December 12

Christmas Cantata. 11 a.m. Worship. Sanctuary Choir. Children’s Drama Team Presents Aaron, the Allergic Shepherd & The Christmas Puzzle. 5 p.m. in the Sanctuary.

December 15

Christmas Sing-a-Long. 6 p.m.

December 19

Worship led by The Altar Band at 11 a.m.

December 24

Christmas Eve Candlelight Services. 4 & 6 p.m. in the Sanctuary. Canterbury United Methodist Church 350 Overbrook Road 205-871-4695

December 3

Birmingham-Southern College Choirs Service of Lessons and Carols in the Sanctuary at 7:30 p.m.

December 4

Santa’s Workshop (ages 3-2nd grade) Confirmation Outreach Fundraiser in Hallelujah Hall from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

December 5

Birmingham-Southern College Choirs Service of Lessons and Carols in the Sanctuart at 4:30 p.m.

December 9

Sursum Corda present their Christmas Concert in the Sanctuary at 7:30 p.m.

Service and Eucharist at 6 p.m. Caroling at the Church at 10:10 p.m. followed by 10:30 Service and Eucharist

Gian-Carol Menotti – Graham Hall 6 p.m. $10/person – tickets available at the door

December 11

December 25

Children’s Christmas Pageant at 9:15 a.m

December 12

Knesseth Israel Congregation 3100 Overton Road 205-969-5913

Festival of Three Kings at the Alabama State Fairgrounds from 2 p.m.- 4 p.m. The Choirs of Canterbury Present a Carol Service in the Sanctuary at 10:30 a.m.

December 14

Mature Adult Christmas Luncheon Featuring Pianist Dr. Kevin Chance in Wesley Hall at 12 p.m.

December 17, 18 & 20

BHN Gift Wrap Fundraiser for homeless families at Brookwood Mall from 9 a.m.- 9 p.m.

December 19

Christmas Carol Sing at the Canterbury Center at 10:30 a.m. 6th Grade Caroling Party in the Dining Room at 4 p.m.

December 24

Christmas Eve Communion and Candlelight Services: Contemporary Worship in the Canterbury Center at 2 p.m. & 4 p.m. Traditional Worship in the Sanctuary at 6 p.m. Chapel Service at 11 p.m. Crestline Cumberland Presbyterian 605 Hagood St. 205-879-6001

December 19

Christmas Day Service at 11 a.m.

December 2

Hanukah Extravaganza from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Join Knesseth Israel for food, bingo with a guest bingo caller and a raffle with prizes including artwork and gift certificates. $18 per person/ $36 per family. Includes one bingo card per person, food and desert. Mountain Brook Community Church 3001 Highway 280 East 205-802-7070

December 12

Out of Darkness: A Christmas Worship Celebration during the 9 a.m. & 10:30 a.m. Worship Services

December 19

9 a.m. & 10:30 a.m. Worship Services as usual

December 24

Christmas Eve Services at 4 p.m. & 6 p.m.

December 26 & January 2

Only a 10:30 a.m. Worship Service on these dates. St. Luke’s Episcopal Church 3736 Montrose Road 205-871-3583

December 6

Lesson in Carols. 6 p.m. All ages. Finger foods served afterwards.

December 7

Advent Services throughout December Sunday school at 9:30 a.m. Worship service at 10:30 a.m.

December 8

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church 3775 Crosshaven Drive 205-967-8786

Outreach Fair at Graham Hall from 9:15 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. Local outreach agencies will information on their ministries and offer alternative giving opportunities.

December 24

December 15

Jefferson State Community College Choir Holiday Concert in the Sanctuary at 7 p.m. Volunteer Poinsettia Visitation at the 1st Floor Commons from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. Children’s Choir presents their Christmas Program in the Canterbury Center at 6:15 p.m.

Children’s Pageant and Eucharist at 4 p.m.

December 5

Indian Springs Choir Holiday Concert at 2 p.m. at Saint Luke’s Nave (no charge)

December 12

Amahl and the Night Visitors - Opera by

December 19 December 24

Christmas Eve Services: 3 p.m. Children’s and Family Christmas Service and Holy Eucharist 4:30 p.m. Choral Concert 5 p.m. Family Christmas Service and Eucharist (contemporary music) 7 p.m. Organ Prelude and Choral Concert 7:30 p.m. Festival Christmas Service and Eucharist 10 p.m. Organ Prelude and Choral Concert 10:30 p.m. Festival Christmas Service and Eucharist

December 25

Christmas Day: 11 a.m. – Holy Eucharist Mountain Brook Baptist Church 3631 Montevallo Road 205-871-0331

December 5

Lessons in Carols Service at 5 p.m. in the Sactuary.

December 7

33rd Annual Birmingham Boys Choir Christmas Concert at 7:30 p.m.

December 12

Saint-Saens Christmas Oratorio at 10 a.m.

December 12

Contemporary Christmas Concert at 5 p.m.

December 21, 22 and 23

Living Nativity. Three shows each night at 6:45 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.

December 24

Christmas Eve Communion Service at 5 p.m.

Village Living

| December 2010 |



set out to create the display at Mary Ann’s Virginia Road home. “We bought about 4,000 lights that first year,” Craig said. “Maybe one inflatable and the Nativity, but that was it.” They put lights on the bushes and the house. Mary Ann’s best friend, Anne Liles, and her son, Walton, helped with repairs or replacing bulbs because Meg and Craig were living in New York at the time. The event grew and became an annual tradition. The display now boasts more than 40,000 lights along with all sorts of Christmas inflatables and yard decorations. Even though Mary Ann Garrison passed away as a result of lung cancer in November 2009, it continues to shine. Craig already had half of the display up and knowing that the end was near for her, turned on the lights the afternoon she passed away. The roof read “MAG” last year -- Mary Ann’s initials. “She loved being known as the Light Lady,” Meg said. “What she enjoyed the most was not the lights and junk, but when people would see her at the Pig and tell her how much they loved the lights and that their grandkids loved them. This would happen year round.” In the early years of the lighting, the families decided to start putting the lights up on Thanksgiving Day and then have a lighting ceremony that Saturday. That first lighting ceremony was small -- only 15 people. “It was no big deal. Just family and a few neighbors and friends,” Meg said. As Mary Ann predicted, her grandson, Parker, loved the lights. “One of his first words was ‘light’,” his father, Sims Garrison, said. Over the years, the display grew and the families got more organized and even more people got involved. “It got to where Mary Ann would start calling me in August to talk about what we were going to do for that year’s display,” Craig said. “It really was so much fun planning it with her.”

Last year’s display at Mary Ann Garrison’s home on Virginia Road They even enlisted others to help. In addition to the Liles family who was already helping with maintenance, Alicia’s family began helping too. In 2009, they had 30 people helping to get the lights up. They even began to give each other titles: Mary Ann became Purchasing manager, Craig the Creative Director, Walton Liles in charge of Quality Control, and Meg the runner — in charge of getting more extension cords, splitters and buying lunch for everyone helping. Sims was named the Roof Specialist. The display on the roof is highly anticipated each year. Lights on the roof spell something different each year and it is a surprise as to what it will say. The families are big Auburn fans so in past years it has said “War Eagle,” or had tick marks for six wins in a row against Alabama. “During the big drought, we wrote “rain” in lights,” Sims said. “The year Reuben Studdard won American Idol “205,” and in

December of 2001, “USA” in honor of 9/11. The roof is usually done at the end because there is always a big debate about what to put up there.” The number of people attending the lighting ceremony has grown. “Santa, played by John Feagin, started joining us for the lighting ceremony in 2002.” They also send out printed invitations and email or call friends. People who come to the official lighting are asked to bring an unwrapped toy. The toys are contributed to the Salvation Army for Angel Tree. This year’s ceremony was Nov 28. Everyone is welcome to view the lights through Christmas. This year the display has moved from Virginia Road to the Krawczyk’s home on 214 Beech Street in Crestline. “I love family traditions,” Craig said. “This is a community tradition. We can’t let it end. We have to continue it. There are 16-year-olds who have never had Christmas without Mary Ann’s lights.”

Details: The light display will be at Meg and Craig Krawczyk’s home at 214 Beech Street in Crestline. It will be lit every night beginning at dark until 10 p.m. through Christmas for all to enjoy. Trivia: Mary Ann literally lived next door to the Griswolds -- Tripp and Diane -- on Virginia Road. One year, Mary Ann had “Griswold” on her license plate. The family wears Chicago Black Hawks hockey jerseys for the lighting ceremony. Mary Ann ordered them because Clark Griswold is wearing one in the movie. Craig’s jersey says “Griswold” on the back. Over the years, notes have appeared in the mailbox thanking Mary Ann for the lights and the joy they bring.

22 |

December 2010 |

Music & Arts

Village Living Calendar

12/3- 8 p.m. Eileen Ivers- An Irish Christmas, Celtic fiddle performance at the BJCC Concert Hall. Tickets $72/$54/$37.50/$24/Students $15. Visit www. or call 975-ARTS for more info. 12/5- 8 p.m.-11:30 p.m. The Low Anthem with Delicate Cutters at Bottletree, tickets $12 in advance and $14 the day of the show, 18 and up. Visit www. or call 533-6288 for more info. 12/7- 7:30 p.m. 33rd Annual Birmingham Boys Choir Christmas Concert at the Sanctuary of Mountain Brook Baptist Church. Free to the public. Visit www. for more information. 12/9- 8 p.m. Jim Brickman in concert at the Alabama Theatre. Price is admission. Visit or call 251-0418. 12/10- 8 p.m. Alabama Symphony Orchestra Special Event: The Von Trapp Children at the Alabama Theatre. Tickets $48/ $38/ $28/ Students $18. Visit www. or call 975-ARTS for more info. 12/11- 8 p.m. Alabama Symphony Orchestra Special Event: The Music of Queen at the Alabama Theatre. Tickets $48/ $38/ $28. Visit www.alabamasymphony. org or call 975-ARTS for more info. 12/11- 3 p.m. & 8 p.m. Trans-Siberian Orchestra at the BJCC. Tickets $25-$57. Visit or call 458-8400 for more info. 12/17-19 7:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Opera Birmingham’s Home for the Holidays. Samford University Brock Recital Hall. Purchase tickets online at www. or by phone at 205-322-6737. Single tickets are $15, $30, and $50, and student tickets may be purchased for $12 with a valid ID.

Family Fun

12/1-12/11- New Shoes for Christmas presented by Birmingham Children’s Theatre, recommended ages 2-6, tickets $8 for kids and $10 for adults. Visit or call 458-8181 for specific times and to purchase tickets. 12/1-12/11- The Best Christmas Pageant Ever at Birmingham Children’s Theatre, recommended ages 2nd to 8th grades, tickets $8 for kids and $10 for adults. Visit or call 458-8181 for specific times and to purchase tickets. 12/3-12/19- The Polar Express at the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum, trains depart at 5 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Advanced reservations required, tickets on sale now, all seats $25 (2 years of age and older). Visit or call 280-0820 to purchase tickets. 12/4- 8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. Breakfast with Santa, Village Tavern at The Summit, tickets $15 (kids 2 and under free), proceeds benefit the Bell Center for Early Intervention Programs. Visit or call 967-0111 for more info. 12/4-12/19- Santa Special Train Rides at Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum, trains depart at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. All coach seats $25 (2 years of age and older), caboose $20, locomotive $30. Admission to museum is free. Visit www. or call 280-0820 to purchase tickets or for more info. 12/5- 2 p.m. Mountain Brook Village Christmas Parade. Holiday floats, a marching band, music, elves, photos with the Mayor who will arrive in a fire truck. Stores will be open from 2 p.m.-5 p.m. Visit www.welcometomountainbrook. com for more info. 12/5- Sloss Furnaces Holiday Iron Pour. Create your own cast iron tile at Sloss Furnaces. Admission cost to enter. Visit or call 3241911 for more info.

12/21- 7 p.m. XBOX presents Justin Bieber at the BJCC Arena. $36-$56. Visit www. or call 458-8400.

12/5- 2:30 p.m. Alabama Symphony Orchestra Fox 6 Family Concerts: The Snowman at the Alabama Theatre. Wear your pajamas and watch the animated film The Snowman while the film score is played live by the ASO. Tickets $7-$20. Visit or call 251-7727 for more info.


12/7- 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. 12 Days of Christmas Family Night with Atlantic Coast Theatre at the Emmet O’Neal Library. Free event, dinner at 5:30 p.m., show starts at 6 p.m. Visit or call 879-0497 for more info.

12/9- 10 a.m.-11 a.m. “I Had No Idea” Tour of Jessie’s Place of the Jimmie Hale Mission. Tours are free and last one hour. Interested parties can sign up by email at or at tours.

12/9-12/10- 4 p.m.-6 p.m. HollyDay Magic at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Children ages 5-11 can create holiday crafts from natural materials and decorate cookies. $30. Visit or call 414-3958 for more info.

Holiday Shopping 12/5- 2 p.m.-7 p.m. Open House at Barton-Clay Fine Jewelers. 12/6- 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. John Hardy Trunk Show at Bromberg’s. 12/9- Open House all day at Lulie’s on Cahaba. Refreshments served all day, a trunk show with Simply Earresistible Handmade Jewelry and a special St. Nick sale. 12/11- 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Good Earth Pottery Signing Event at Table Matters. 12/17- Place your order for a complete holiday dinner at Piggly Wiggly River Run and receive your choice of a free 8” Pumpkin, Sweet Potato or Apple Pie.

12/10-12/19- George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at Samford University’s Wright Center. Tickets $20-$55. Show times: Fri. Dec. 10 - 7:30 pm, Sat. Dec. 11- 2:30 & 7:30 pm, Sun. Dec. 12 - 2:30 pm, Sat. Dec. 18 - 2:30 & 7:30 pm, Sun. Dec. 19- 2:30. 12/17-12/19- Beauty and the Beast presented by Broadway in Birmingham. BJCC Concert Hall. Price is admission. Visit www. or call 1-888-611-0964 for more info.

Food & Wine 12/1-12/4- 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Harvest Holiday Market at Pepper Place continues into December. Fresh vegetables, holiday gifts, wreaths and pine swags. Visit or call 313-4120 for more info.


Special Events

12/4- 2 p.m. Twigging Out at Ruffner Mountain Nature Center, moderate hike to learn to identify trees without using the leaves. Reservation required, tickets $7 or $5 for members. Visit or call 833-8264 for more info.

12/11- 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Alabama Wildlife Center Craft and Bake Sale. Crafts, jams, jellies, preserves, baked goods, children’s activities and more. Proceeds benefit Alabama’s wildlife. Free after Oak Mountain State Park admission. Visit www. or call 663-7930 for more info.


12/7- 7 p.m. Mountain Brook Band’s Holiday Concert at the auditorium of Mountain Brook High School. Free. 12/16- 7 p.m. Rachael Ray book signing her newest cookbook “Look + Cook” at Books-A-Million Brookwood Village. Call 870-0213 for more info.

ZooLight Safari returns

Chick-fil-a presents Birmingham’s annual holiday tradition ZooLight Safari. Zoo visitors will enjoy 18 fabulous nights of over half-a-million lights, fun and holiday spirit as the Birmingham Zoo is transformed into a winter wonderland. The dates for this year’s ZooLight Safari are Dec.10-12, 17-23, 26-31 and Jan. 1-2 from 5-9 p.m. The young and young-at-heart can enjoy story time and animal demos. All guests will have the opportunity to enjoy the Jingle Bell Carousel, the Holiday Express Train Ride, Santa’s Rock ‘n Roller Racers and the Winter Trail Ride. These attractions are $3.50, or get the best deal

12/1-12/31- UAB Men’s and Women’s Basketball at the Bartow Arena on UAB’s campus. Visit or call 975-UAB1 for complete schedule. 12/1-12/31- Samford University Men’s and Women’s Basketball at the Pete Hanna Arena on Samford’s campus. Visit or call 7262050 for complete schedule. 12/1-12-31- Birmingham-Southern College Men’s and Women’s Basketball at the Bill Battle Coliseum. Visit or call 226-4953 for complete schedule.

Theatre 12/2-12/4- The Lying Kid presented by Terrific New Theatre, 2821 2nd Avenue S. Tickets $20. Visit or call 328-0868 for more info. 12/3-12/12- 7 p.m. Miracle on 34th Street presented by Arts Council of the Trussville Area (ACTA) Theatre. Show times are Fri. and Sat. Dec. 3 and 4 and Dec. 10 and 11 at 7 p.m. Matinees- Sun. Dec. 5 and 12 at 2 p.m. Tickets $10 for adults, $8 for senior adults and $6 for students. Visit or call 655-3902 for more info.

with an All-You-Can-Ride Wristband for $10. Admission is free for Zoo members and $8 for non-members (includes tax). The Zoo will close at 4 p.m. every night of ZooLight Safari, and animal exhibits will be closed.

12/17- 7:30 p.m. Alabama Ballet’s Nutty Nutcracker at Samford University’s Wright Center, a twist on the original celebrated holiday ballet. One-night only event, tickets $20-$55.

Do you know of events in our community? We would love to include them. Please email by the 15th of each month for the publication in the next month’s issue.

Village Living

| December 2010 |


Ballroom Dancing Class Teaches More Than Dancing By Sherrie Futch More than 350 6th graders from Mountain Brook recently completed 10 weeks of ballroom dancing instruction. For many of them, it was the first opportunity to dance with a member of the opposite sex, and having it take place in a structured setting helped take a little of the pressure off. “At first it was a crazy thought,” said Brookwood Forest Elementary 6th grader Helen Katherine Schanbacher, “but it turned out fun because I was with friends and met new people from other schools. Sometimes you have to go out of your comfort zone to have fun. The thing we enjoyed the most about Ballroom was going to Starbucks and 32 degrees afterward,” she said, referring to the young people’s custom of walking to various Crestline establishments after the class concluded each week. Steeple Arts Academy of Dance hosted the ballroom classes in its quaint studio in the red church building on Church Street. In this facility since 1958, Steeple Arts has taught generations of Mountain Brook young people to do the fox trot, waltz, swing and cha cha, according to Deanny

Coates Hardy, director of Steeple Arts. This fall, boys and girls from Brookwood Forest, Cherokee Bend, Crestline and Mountain Brook Elementary Schools participated, as well as students from several private schools. Each of the five classes was comprised of approximately 35 couples. “What I like about Ballroom is the emphasis on the social graces,” said Ellen Francis, whose son James, a 6th grader at Mountain Brook Elementary, was in the Thursday evening class. “It gives the boys and girls a chance to interact with others in a safe setting, where they can learn manners as well as dancing.” Formerly known as “The Lola Mae Jones School of Dance,” Steeple Arts was located “Upstairs Over Browdy’s” for 23 years, in one of the two buildings in Mountain Brook Village at that time. It was to this Studio that children of Mountain Brook and surrounding areas came to take classes in ballet, tap, jazz and ballroom. In 1958, Steeple Arts founder Mrs. Lola Mae Jones and her daughter, Lola Mae Coates, moved their School of Dance

Madison Thomas, Lily Smith, Emmy Kilgore, Sarah Chitty and Cece Sims

into the red church building on Church Street, and re-named the School “Steeple Arts Academy of Dance”. The picturesque Church proudly displays its Historical Marker to this day. Through the years,

the interior of the building has been redesigned several times. The 2010 season marks the 75th Anniversary of Steeple Arts Academy of Dance.

Front row, left to right: Libby Hancock, Eve Taylor, Peyton Billingsley, Emma Taylor, Virginia Leak, Anne Kendall Outland and Will Hancock. Back row: Drew Buggay, Josh Teel, Will Bryant, James Francis, Anderson Welch, Chandler Pulliam, J.P. Darnell and Nick Bruno.

6th grade girls gathered after Ballroom Dancing class are Memory Littleton (Brookwood Forest Elementary), Anne Marie Perri (Brookwood Forest), Walker Poe (Crestline), Katherine Brian (Crestline) and Caroline Raine (Brookwood Forest).

This holiday season shop the villages of Mountain Brook and keep your tax dollars local. This helps our merchants, our schools and our community.... Happy Holidays Mountain Brook Village • English Village Crestline Village • Cahaba Village Mountain Brook Plaza Overton Village

| December 2010 |

your favorite home just got better!

Log on today. Mountain Brook Cahaba 205.870.5420

Mountain Brook Crestline 205.879.6330

RealtySouth New Website ad 280Living.indd 1

10/19/10 7:49 AM

Village Living  

Mountain Brook, Alabama Village Living

Village Living  

Mountain Brook, Alabama Village Living