Magic of Selma at the ball

Published 8:09pm Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I absolutely love living in Old Town for the simple fact that it can sometimes feel like I am living in a different time period and far from the year 2013. On jogs and walks in my neighborhood at night, some of the streets are still lit by lampposts and some of the sidewalks are paved with bricks instead of concrete.

On Saturday, Old Town came alive and I was proud to call this neighborhood home. How many people in Selma, or in Alabama even, get to walk out of their front door to watch men dressed in top hats and women in antebellum dresses curtsy as they step out of their cars and walk to the Grand Military Ball at Sturdivant Hall? I got to witness these scenes from my front porch and then got the full experience when I was allowed to attend the ball myself.

As one of the reporters covering the Battle of Selma weekend, the organizers helped me find a dress to borrow as well as a hoop skirt. My boyfriend, who I roped into escorting me — well, I just did the best I could and gave him suspenders and a flannel shirt. He looked a little out of place but I was thankful for his company because I don’t think I could have walked up any stairs in that dress without his help. I’ve never been more nervous to walk up stairs in my life.

The first major feat was actually putting on the dress. After all of the bow tying and holding my breath, I am thankful for whoever invented zippers. Next, I walked as elegantly and proper as I possibly could manage to Sturdivant. We watched and clicked the camera as fast as possible as each attendee of the ball was loudly introduced in the foyer and then greeted by all of the lead re-enactor generals and commanders.

We chuckled at some of the conversations we heard. Even in their period dress, some folks talked about buying an Android versus an iPhone while others kept in character, speaking about their war adventures. “Well we advanced forward and went in fast for the left flank,” said a tall man with a feather in his hat, sipping lemonade from a teacup.

After everyone got a chance to mingle around inside and out in the courtyard, the General appeared over the balcony and made a speech to begin the dances and festivities. As the military band played everyone danced in circles for the grand march.

I often speak to my friends about the magic of Selma and how its beauty and rich character comes alive. This was a weekend where that magic was visible and tangible throughout all of downtown and I will remember it for years to come.

I commend the organizers of this event for focusing on all of the details and making the entire weekend fun, educational and entertaining.


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