Marian Carcache: Gracious homes

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Once again, this past weekend, I was struck by the generosity of people who open their homes to strangers in support of community.

Having grown up near Eufaula, I knew the Pilgrimage as an annual event. From the time I was a child, my grandmother worked on the committee, my mama volunteered as a guide through houses several times, and I donned an antebellum gown to smile and wave at passersby from the lawns of breathtaking houses.

Auburn doesn’t have the architecture that Eufaula has, but it does have some charming cottages and bungalows—and in most cases, the owners of those homes are equally as gracious as the homes are lovely. I spent Saturday with my friend Donna visiting the Auburn Preservation League’s 12th Annual Loveliest Village Christmas Tour of Homes.

For the past several years, the tours have included mostly dazzling new homes or “game day” houses, but this year there was a return to “vintage Auburn.” The day was cold and wet, but the homes were welcoming and warm. Most offered cider and cookies, as well as some rich stories about Old Auburn.

Perhaps the thing that most impressed me about the homes this year—other than details and decor suggesting that most of the owners are animal lovers—was that almost every house featured original art by local artists. Along the way, I also crossed paths with a friend I haven’t seen in years who ran to his car in the rain to get me a copy of his latest book, a biography of Dr. Charles Cary, the “Father of Veterinary Medicine at Auburn and in the South.”

There was creativity, kindness, and beauty at every turn, and I could not have enjoyed the day more – completely removed from world nGews and other disasters.

We live in an immensely talented area, but often the makers of things and tellers of stories are overlooked. What I noticed in this year’s Christmas tour houses suggests that we may be seeing a return to the beauty of coziness and simple abundance.

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