It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas all around Selma

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 8, 2003

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go. Residential neighborhoods are glistening from house to house with hundreds of twinkling lights, crystal icicles and Yuletide displays. Carols are playing on every radio station and even on television, although mostly as background music for commercials.

To drive into Selma over Pettus Bridge and down Broad Street is a visual delight: great green lighted wreaths, Savannah Hollies filled with fairy lights, and this year new decorations added on the Broad Street corners from Jeff Davis Avenue out to the Highland intersection.

Business owners in the Downtown District have created holiday fairylands in their show windows, with the twinkling fairy lights, decorated trees, garlands of holly and pine and even a woodsy scene.

Meanwhile, planning is afoot for the Christmas parades, downtown and on the Alabama River. The parade begins at 9 a.m. this Saturday and in addition to floats and bands and people, there will be several events &uot;piggybacking&uot; on it.

Robes and Gowns, which is located at 21 Broad Street, will host a book-signing after the morning parade, according to owner Mattie Davis, who says she enjoys &uot;helping struggling young authors.&uot; Robes and Gowns in cooperation with the City of Selma and participating merchants will also present again this year &uot;An Evening of Elegance &045; Christmas in Selma&uot; at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 19 at the Performing Arts Center. Soloists and musical groups from throughout the city will display their talents, Davis says, adding &uot;We are simply adding to the spirit of good will during the holiday season.

Joyce Marie Ross

is the &uot;young author&uot; who will be signing her cookbook from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday at Robes and Gowns.

&uot;Cooking Well&uot; is the name of her book and it includes several interesting holiday recipes. In fact, the author has promised to serve a plateful of her special cookies. She has also allowed the publication of the recipe.

Cherry Almond Delight

Two cups plain flour

Two cups sugar

One-fourth teaspoon baking soda

One-fourth teaspoon baking powder

One-half teaspoon salt

One cup sliced almonds

One teaspoon vegetable monoglycerides

One-third cup melted butter

One-fourth cup milk

One teaspoon vanilla flavoring

One teaspoon honey

One-half cup sliced cherries

Directions

Mix together all liquids for 30 seconds. Next pour liquid into dry ingredients, then mix for 12 seconds. Grease the cookie sheet, then drop teaspoon-size cookie dough on it. Bake at 350 degrees for about seven minutes, or until lightly browned.

Mrs. Ross is a Selma native who became interested in cooking &uot;the moment I realized I had something special,&uot; she says.

Ross says she has had &uot;good feedback from my neighbors on Martin Luther King Street, from my church R.C.I.A. class and from my classmates in cosmetology school.&uot;

Among other good cooks in her family were her parents, Johnny Lee and Lola Bell McWilliams, her grandmothers Mary Frances McWilliams and Rosa Bell Hines. &uot;Grandmother Mary cooked the absolute best blackberry slickem dumplings and Grandmother Rosa made the best gingerbread in the world. And my father taught me how to cook good fresh snap beans.

Ross advises that certain of her recipes are better prepared seasonally: those using fruit are best in summer; those using meats, chicken and dessert nut and fruit may be made all year round.

And she emphasizes that her recipes &uot;are new, not passed down from family and friends.&uot;