Setting up her Christmas Town of more than 150 pieces that she has collected for more than 25 years is one of the special things she does during the holidays.
Missie Culp of Huntingdon takes great pleasure in the lighted houses that now adorn a special corner in her dining room.
The lights from the houses cast a soft glow about the half darkened room as she imagines a magical town and its residents about to celebrate the festive Christmas season.
The town encompasses three separated tiers that are covered in white, resembling snow. The scene suddenly comes alive as trains on two separate displays whiz along the tracks encircling the town.
Missie has been intrigued with lighted houses ever since she first married 44 years ago. Her first experience of noticing them was when she and her husband served in the mission field in southern Michigan.
“I always thought they were so pretty,” she said.
In her youth, she purchased tiny houses at Dollar General and burned a candle inside them.
Today, family members know exactly what to give her when it comes to gift buying – a new piece for her Christmas Town suits her to a tee.
“I try to add a large building each year,” she said. Her latest is a recital theatre that goes along with her love of music. She especially likes the courthouse and tower scene in her collection as well.
Among the other buildings are the barber shop, filling station, coffee shop, theatre, opera house, Santa shop, library, school, churches, greenhouse, barns and book store.
Although it takes eight to ten hours to set up the display, Missie calls it her labor of love and enjoys every minute of it.
She and her husband, Rev. David Culp, lived in Lancaster, Ky. before moving to Huntingdon. After 30 years in the Baptist ministry, David retired and worked in management at Walgreen’s for ten years. After retiring from from the business, the couple began searching for the right place for their retirement years. They give praise and credit to realtor Larenda Scarborough for finding them the perfect place to locate. Since David has always enjoyed fishing, Huntingdon seemed to be the right fit. Nearby are the 1,000 Acre Recreational Lake, Kentucky Lake and Eva that makes a day trip possible.
Over the years, the couple has lived in several places including the states of Michigan, northern Indiana and Kentucky. They moved to Huntingdon three and a half years ago, where they reside just beyond the city limits.
For 31 years, Missie taught music in the various school systems in the towns where they lived. In addition, she generally played the piano and organ or directed the music in the churches her husband pastored.
The couple has two children and five grandchildren.
Their son, D.J. Culp, Jr. of Milan, is the professor of music at Bethel University. Their daughter, Tabitha Coleman of St. Louis, is a kindergarten teacher.
The five grandchildren are Karrington Coleman, 11; Isaiah Coleman, 10; Hannah, Coleman, 7; Noah Culp, 4; and Addison Culp, six months.
“When the grandchildren are here, I turn on the lights of Christmas Town and let the trains run,” said Missie. “They love it as much as I do.”
Currently, Missie serves as music director of First United Methodist Church in Huntingdon. Her husband is now available for pulpit supply/interim pastor/counseling, etc. He last served as interim pastor of Cooper’s Chapel in the Christmasville Community of Carroll County.
Her Christmas Town collection and music are not the only loves of her life. She devotes some of her time to craft projects, crocheting and painting.
“I love to do hand work,” she said.
Her latest art creation is an angel. She has painted the face and fashioned her attire. The angel has a special place at the altar where she watches over the manager scene at the First United Methodist Church.
Missie enjoys sharing her Christmas Town with friends and community and encourages them to come by. Since she loves the trains, she expects to add more track to one of them next year to enable it to travel throughout more of the display.
“Adding to my Christmas Town is the materialization of a dream for me,” she said. “It brings to life the Christmas season.”