Christmas decorating light work for sisters
by Marguerite Cline, columnist
December 12, 2013 09:20 PM | 1046 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Many of us prepare our homes for Christmas by decorating a tree, putting a wreath on the front door and then admiring our handiwork.

Others, like Dianne Westbrook and Kathy Ross, turn their homes into a Christmas wonderland with trees, garland and dozens of decorations tastefully arranged all over the house.

Even though people like me think everything in Dianne and Kathy’s gorgeous homes are perfect, they keep looking for new ideas. Each year, when holiday tours of homes are announced, the twosome buy tickets. Not only do they get ideas for decorating on the tour, they say it puts them get in the Christmas spirit. Personally, I think they are always in the Christmas spirit.

Decorating like they do it is hard work. Even though they are both petite, you might find them at the top of a high ladder hanging wreaths or dangling over the rails of the staircases as they wrap garland around them.

Their husbands, Gary Westbrook and Ken Ross, do get some credit for helping.

Dianne and Kathy are sisters. While they are best buddies now that was not always the case. When Kathy was born, Dianne, 5 years old at the time, did not welcome the new baby to the family. She liked being the only child. She even threw something at her new baby sister.

At times, they would have sisterly spats. Dianne remembers when their mother put them in chairs with directions to sit there until they decided they could play without fighting.

Although she could not speak plainly at the time, it was Kathy who somewhat announced the fighting would stop. Believe it or not, it did.

Decorating for holidays has always been a part of their lives. They inherited their love of decorating from their mother, Sara Cagle. She and Joe Cagle raised their girls on Hickory Road near Holly Springs.

Family and family traditions are important to them. Kathy is the expert in the kitchen. She has the family recipes and uses them to prepare their traditional holiday feasts.

Dianne confesses she is not a cook. If she is to bring the mashed potatoes, she knows exactly where to find the Ore-Ida pre-mashed ones in the grocery store.

When Dianne, Gary, their daughter, Julie, and her husband, Matt Wise, get together with Kathy, Ken and their four-footed buddy Snuggles, they always have fun. After all, they are loving and fun-loving people.

If you know Dianne, you know what a talker she is and how entertaining she can be. If you know Kathy and me, you know we are talkers, too, but we have a hard time getting a word in edgewise when Dianne has the floor.

Nothing get thrown away at the Westbrook house. In the attic are even most of the clothes Julie wore as a child.

Since Dianne saves everything, it is easy to understand why her memory tree is her favorite. It is also the largest and takes the longest for her to decorate. After all, she must think about where and when she got each ornament as she holds it in her hand.

On the other hand, Kathy sees no reason to keep things she, Ken or Snuggles no longer use. Getting rid of things is easy for her.

Like Dianne, she has trees all over the house. Since Ken is an admirer of cowboy legend John Wayne, one room has a cowboy tree. Another room is decorated like a cabin. It even has a big bear hugging a Christmas tree.

Since Kathy is such an animal lover, it is no surprise that she and Ken have an animal tree. The zebras on it are her favorites. She likes the lizards, too.

While both Dianne and Kathy first worked at the Bank of Canton, it was later when working with young children became their passion. After Kathy opened Happy Face Preschool, Dianne joined her as her assistant.

They had both found their calling. Kathy retired after 30 years. Dianne had been at the preschool for 24 years when she retired.

Hundreds of now adults can tell you what a happy place the preschool was when they were there. With Kathy and Dianne in charge, every day was a special day.

As our Christmas celebration comes to an end most of us put our decorations away and do little to decorate our homes until the next year. That is not the case at the Westbrook and Ross homes. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and they will be busy decorating for it.

If you want to see some of the results of Dianne’s energy, humor and decorating talents, just drive down Highway 140 from Canton toward Hickory Flat. She has what she calls her own “roadside park” there.

Throughout the year it is always decorated for the season.

Marguerite Cline is the former mayor of Waleska.



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