Christmas diorama rejoices in symbols of friendship

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, December 23, 2009

For 18 years Richard Whitford, upper left, has mounted a home Christmas display replete with nativity scene, musical animals, winter sports, and quaint villages. Photos by Warren and Mary Anna Harbeck. Click on the image for a larger version.

When Richard Whitford and his wife, Betty, moved to Cochrane in 1992, they brought with them a passion for miniature Christmas displays. Well, maybe not so miniature. Their living room display measures over 10 by 14 feet, not counting tree, and includes what must be thousands of detailed buildings, figurines and animated devices that stir the hearts of children of all ages.

Richard was born in Fort Smith, NWT, during the dark hours of World War II when the desire of many was for peace on earth. Goodwill now characterizes countless friends who have contributed a piece for his light-filled diorama.

Magnetically-operated skiers descend the slopes while skaters glide across glass ponds to the music of a tiny teddy-bear brass band as elves and snowmen look on. Trains, trucks, cars and horse-and-buggies travel among trees and villages dotting the cotton landscape. And at night, when the town square is aglow with the warmth of the season, you can almost hear the clatter of hooves and happy chatter of restaurant patrons.

“When I look at the display, I feel like I’m right there with each of the groupings,” Richard says.

The highest point is the angel and crèche, he says. “Jesus is supreme, and the angel watches over all.”

© 2009 Warren Harbeck

Return to Coffee With Warren home page