Dec 1, 2013

St. Clare Manor a hit prior to Horse Parade

BY BOB ROBINSON
ASSOC. EDITOR
GREENVILLE – “We wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a…” the warm festive smiles of the greeters at St. Clair Manor matched the “up” strains of the music being played in the formal dining room. The musician on the electronic keyboard was 10-year-old Kara Strait.

“Hot chocolate and cookies down the hall,” said one of the greeters, smiling. Visitors were crowded around the entrance area… the room off to the left with a brightly lit Christmas tree… the hallway where the refreshments could be found. St. Clair Manor was open to the public for the annual Downtown Greenville Holiday Horse Parade Nov. 23.

“Santa and massages are upstairs… you have to get that picture,” The greeter said, pointing to the formal dining room. Kara had just begun playing the soft strains of “Noel;” a young boy was sitting in a chair with his chin on its back, engrossed in the music.

The historic Manor was packed with merchants and visitors, young and old. Anna Wilson of Troy and her friend Maggie Reigle of Greenville, both 11, had just arrived and were kind enough to warm up near one of the traditional fireplaces.

Alicia Davidson, a “31 Gifts” director, said she’d been busy all day. Better than being out on a sidewalk? “Absolutely!!”

Upstairs, Ambrosia Ayette was getting a foot massage from Reflexology by Sarah Royer. “I never expected to be a foot model,” she said, adding that she was a convert. “I’m really enjoying this.”

All About You Massage was working on two clients, noting the traffic had been steady, hectic at times. “Hands are doing fine,” one of the therapists said. “We’re pretty used to it.”

Santa was enjoying his annual visit to Greenville. It was cold outside, but not nearly as cold as it was at the North Pole, he noted. He talked about the 45 years he’d been talking to children about their Christmas presents.

“I’ve had so many letters sent to me,” he said. “I always put them in a trunk because I was going to keep track of the kids, then when they graduated, give them their letter…

“Just never got around to it,” he added.

Three-year-old London Alexander seemed hesitant about sitting on Santa’s lap, but was eventually coaxed into it. He didn’t crack a single smile, no matter how hard Santa and mom tried.

It didn’t take 20-month-old Grady Steyer much to make him happy, though. As long as mom Mindy was holding him. When mom had to get back to work, he expressed his displeasure. Loudly.

As people entered the building they headed to the Christmas tree in the next room. The price of admission was canned goods. Eighteen-month-old Gavin Stonerock dutifully made the deposit for his family.

“Right at one, they started coming in,” said one volunteer, looking around at the people crowded into the room. “And they haven’t stopped.” No one was keeping track of the number of visitors but they had to go out for more cookies… the 21 dozen they’d started with were gone.

Kara Strait, 10, entertained St. Clare Manor visitors with a variety of Christmas songs, such as “Noel” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” (Bob Robinson photo)

Three year old London Alexander eventually sat on Santa's lap, but wasn't too happy about it. Santa did his best but London never cracked a smile. (Bob Robinson photo)

Grady Steyer was a happy camper sitting on mom Mindy’s lap at St. Clare Manor’s open house Saturday. However he wasn’t very enthusiastic when she had to get back to work. (Bob Robinson photo)

Story time at Readmore’s Hallmark featured snowlady and reindeerlady Meagan Mader and Rachel Clare. When they moved from one place to the next they had to be led by the hand. According to Kirsten Barghoff, manager, they can see a little, but “very little.” (Bob Robinson photo)

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