PARKSLEY: A donated sleigh takes a place of prominence

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Aaron Johnson, Julie Nash, and Mayor Frank Russell stand near the donated, refurbished sleigh.

BY CAROL VAUGHN, Eastern Shore Post

Visitors to downtown Parksley may notice a new Christmas decoration.

Brothers Richard and Revell Lewis recently donated to the town a 19th century sleigh that belonged to their grandfather.

“The sleigh was my grandfather Lewis’ and is an Albany Cutter ‘Courting Sleigh.’  They originated in the early 19th century, circa 1863.  It was considered the sportscar sleigh of its day,” said Richard Lewis.

Lewis recalls in the early 1960s his grandfather would put the sleigh in his front yard during Christmas season and decorate it.

His father, Billy Lewis, inherited the sleigh, which continued to be used by the family as a Chrsitmas decoration in front of their home on Gertrude Street, in Parksley.

Richard Lewis took possession of the sleigh sometime in the late 1980s.

“We would decorate it with presents and lights in our front yard every year. The children always enjoyed it,” he said.

Still, the sleigh, in poor repair, sat for around 25 years unused in storage.

“Several weeks ago, I talked to Mayor (Frank) Russell during the L.O.V.E. sign unveiling and suggested the town consider displaying the sleigh during the holidays,” Lewis said.  

Starting in early December, Parksley residents Julie Nash and Aaron Johnson began the work of refurbishing the sleigh, which now sports a shiny new coat of red paint, gilded runners, and a decoupage of a lovely lady on the rear.

Johnson also was the person who created the town’s recently installed L.O.V.E. sign.

On Saturday, Nash, Johnson, and Mayor Frank Russell moved the completed sleigh from a workshop into place on the stage in the town square, where it will remain on display during the holidays.

“So now, instead of it sitting in a warehouse collecting dust, every Christmas holiday season, it’ll be part of Parksley’s Christmas display and there for everyone to enjoy, especially young children to come to get their picture taken” with it, Lewis said, adding, “We’re excited about that and the fact that it now is going to be put to great use.”

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