Nutcrackers take JCA center stage

Published 10:10 pm Wednesday, December 12, 2018

When it comes to nutcrackers, Sara Bowden just might be the Nutcracker Queen.

She has nearly 200 nutcrackers at her home in Brundidge but she only brought a half dozen or so to the Johnston Center for the Arts on Tuesday. The nutcracker lady was at the JCA to show and tell 45 Goshen Elementary Schools second graders about nutcrackers.

“I have nutcrackers of every kind,” Bowden said. “Most of the time, most of them are packed up but, at Christmastime, we take them all out and display them in every room, even the bathroom.” Bowden said she would be surprised, and a little disappointed, if she didn’t get at least one new nutcracker for Christmas each year.

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Bowden said she gives each of her children and grandchildren a nutcracker for Christmas and several of them have started their own collections.

Many of the second-graders know about nutcrackers or thought they did until Bowden took a strange-looking device out of her bag.

“This is a nutcracker,” she said, holding up shiny metal device with two handles, much like oversized tweezers.

“When I was growing up, I would take a nut and put it between these handles and squeeze them together. The nut would crack and I would eat it,” Bowden said. “But over in Germany people started carving wood figures with mouths that opened and closed. They called them nutcrackers. Maybe, they could crack nuts in their wooden mouths, but my nutcrackers don’t crack nuts.”

Bowden brought several of her favorite nutcrackers and unwrapped them, one at a time, much to the delight of the children.

They recognized The Tin Man from “The Wizard of Oz” and Clara from “The Nutcracker” ballet.

Bowden told the children about “The Nutcracker,” which is a popular story, read and performed, around Christmastime. Then, she unwrapped a nutcracker she purchased in Germany.

“This nutcracker is very well dressed,” she said. “He is a real German nutcracker so he cost more money than these others and we don’t touch him.”

The children were delighted with the Santa Claus nutcracker and especially with the Grinch nutcracker.

“There are many, many kinds of nutcrackers,” Bowden said. “Maybe you would like to get a nutcracker for Christmas or maybe give one as a gift. I hope you have enjoyed learning more about nutcrackers and I wish you all a Merry Christmas.”

The students also toured the Johnson Center and spent time looking at the center’s Christmas Tree Extravaganza that features eight trees that are decorated with ornaments made by children in schools within the county.

The children were especially excited to see the Christmas tree that was decorated by children at their school, Goshen Elementary.

Ucella Jones, Keisha Mills and Rebecca Lester accompanied their students on the tour of the Johnson Center for the Arts, which was conducted by the center’s docents.

Wiley White, JCA exhibition coordinator, said the JCA docents conduct tours at the center throughout the year.

“And, they look forward to having school children here at Christmas,” she said. “Our docents are very important to the JCA and we greatly appreciate the many contributions they make.”

Judy Dye, Ginny Hamm, Joan Word, Carla Rice and Amy Gaskin will continue leading school tours this Christmas season.