Growing up in the Canal Zone was very different for us compared to our fellow Americans that lived in the United States.  Christmas lights and dry season winds made my warm and fuzzy feeling inside that Christmas was here.  We had no snow or cold air, but that was just fine.  I prefer the Zonian way.  My Mom and Dad always used to put lots of Christmas lights around our house.  They didn't go all out like some folks did, like the Panzers in Diablo, but I loved what we had.  After I was on my own, I started building a collection of homemade plywood yard decorations.  Each year Margaret and I added one or two more.  We had quite a display when we lived in Gamboa.  Since leaving home, we have carried on the tradition here in Florida with a yard full of different types of decorations with flood lights lighting them up.  We have many people driving by stop and compliment us.  We really love doing this.  One day I am going to build a Locks Locomotive like Panzer had with animation.  

       I was doing my regular browsing in my Panama Canal Reviews the other day (I call these my trips back in time to a better place), and found the article and photos below .  The photos are black and white and don't really do the subject justice, but seeing the magnitude of what Zonians did to bring the Christmas spirit is very evident.

The Panama Canal Review - December 1963

       There's no snow on the Isthmus, so our snowmen are synthetic, but not our sentiments.
       Deer are natives here - not the North Pole breed of reindeer - but models of reindeer are familiar holiday sights.
       So are elves and gnomes, native to all parts of the world as Santa's helpers, and they make their own welcome.
       Newcomers or visitors to the Canal Zone often express amazement at the elaborate Christmas decorations at many homes.  And are surprised and warmly pleased to find that quite a few residents keep festive lights in patio and carport areas the year 'round.
       On these pages are views of some of the decorations that bring "oohs" and "ahs" from small fry and adults alike as they tour Zone residential sections at holiday time.

Floodlighting and light only half concealed in shrubbery, trees and other growth lend a classic-modern touch to some homes.  And somehow, at this season, those model snowmen at right don't seem out of place at all on the Isthmus.
Icicles (what are they,  Daddy?) form a back drop for an angelic choir.  Santa, seeing the snowdrifts ahead, ships up his steed who response with such a burst of speed he almost blurred himself right out of the picture.
Ever thoughtful and considerate, three elves ponder what to do about a fallen and broken star while a pair of reindeer prance in from stage left to see if they can be of assistance.

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