Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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November 20, 2013

Mark Maynard: Getting back in parade: 11/21/13

ASHLAND — I can’t remember the last time I was in the Ashland Christmas Parade.

It may go all the way back to when I was in the band at Coles Junior High School in the eighth grade, marching with the saxophone on a cold November night.

But that was my last year of band and, at least to my recollection, the last time I was actually a part of the parade route on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

I’ve watched plenty of them since that time and my daughter was in several of them, including one frigid night when she was just a young little thing.

It was something to do with church or school, but she was dressed in the role of Mary on one of the floats. She couldn’t have been more than 5 or 6, and poor Sally had to be freezing.

Of course, she wasn’t any colder than me, her mother or her grandfather. Dad always did anything he could to support the grandchildren even if that meant standing in the freezing cold to watch her go by on a float in the Christmas parade.

Before I had bounded out of the offices here on 17th Street (where it was nice and warm) my dad and my wife were busy trying to do what they could to stay warm, including huddling by the engines of running cars.

They sipped on hot chocolate with teeth chattering and layered up as much as possible, but there have been nights when the Ashland Christmas Parade is, well, more of a frozen treat. This was one of those nights.

We all made it through the night, even little Sally in her paper-thin Mary costume, and we made a memory. That, friends, is what being in the Christmas parade is all about.

This year, for the first time since I don’t know when, I’ll be walking in the parade with our “Amy for Africa” mission team. Right now, we have about 20 walking with us.

Most of you who know me know that for the past six months or so, I’ve partnered with marathon runner Amy Compston on a fundraising effort for missions in Moyo, Uganda. We have spoken to multiple civic groups, recovery groups and churches, and were even honored by the House of Representatives. Amy shared not only about the mission, but how she overcame 14 years of drug and alcohol abuse by giving her life completely to Christ. It was truly an amazing journey.

All the while, Amy also prepared for the Nashville Ultra Marathon 50-mile race about three weeks ago. She was second among women and seventh overall, running 7 hours, 36 minutes and 14 seconds.

During our speaking engagements, we were able to raise $41,910 for the Penne Paris Schools and children in Moyo, an impoverished area that really has nothing.

We had a blast doing it and the generosity of this area continues to amaze me. Our initial goal was $10,000.

Amy for Africa will continue to the Boston Marathon in April — Amy competed in last year’s tragedy-marred event as well — and hope to be fundraising and speaking more after the first of the year.

But first, we’re going to be part of the best Christmas parade you can ever imagine. Hope to see you there!

“Big Bang” star at MSU

The actress known for her roles as Amy Farrah Fowler on hit CBS show “Big Bang Theory” and the ’90s family comedy “Blossom” is coming to Morehead State University.

Dr. Mayim Bialik will speak at the school in January, as part of the president’s performing arts and speakers program.

She received her Ph.D. from UCLA neuroscience, just like her current character on the hit show.

Her appearance is being promoted on Facebook. Ticket information will be announced soon, according to posts.

“Messiah” update

OK, time is drawing near for the Dec. 8 Community Messiah Sing at Plaza Nazarene Church. However, director Carl Taylor says there’s still time to join.

He listened to the string section of the orchestra rehearse Monday in the Blazer band room and came away blessed and impressed.

“Thanks to Dan Boyer of Blazer and Beth Smith of Russell for heading up this important part of the performance,” he said.

Anne Stephens has expanded the rehearsal times:

‰Monday, 6 to 8 p.m., emphasis on women’s parts;

‰Dec. 2, 6 to 8 p.m., emphasis on men’s parts;

‰Dec. 7, 3 to 5 p.m., all parts.

Rehearsals will be at the Greenup County Extension Office in Wurtland. For more information, call (606) 836-0201.

Free downloads for the music are at cpdl.org, the Choral Public Domain Library. Go to the site and type in “Messiah” and it will take you to the list of songs. Select the song in the pdf indication and it can then be printed free of charge, according to Taylor.

MARK MAYNARD can be reached at (606) 326-2648.

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