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Local artist’s ornament graces White House tree

Local artist’s ornament graces White House tree

Posted: Friday, December 12, 2008 9:47 pm

Local artist’s ornament graces White House tree | Pat Wade
By GLENDA H. CAUDLE Special Features Editor The pristine six-inch silver-toned ornament arrived in a special package in July. Union City artist Pat Wade had already received some instructions about what she was to do with the holiday decoration, but additional directives were included. The story actually began some weeks earlier, however. At the request of First Lady Laura Bush, each congressman in the nation had invited an artist from his district to decorate one of the special plain ornaments and return it to the White House to be used on the 2008 Christmas tree. Congressman John Tanner of Union City, familiar with Mrs. Wade’s talent, submitted her name for the honor. Soon after, Mrs. Wade received a phone call from Washington and some basic information about the project, which she was asked to keep confidential until Mrs. Bush was ready to make an appropriate announcement. Directives defined the work Mrs. Wade could do to express her artistic talent. The tree would have a red, white and blue cast and each ornament was to include the name of the state where it was decorated and some depiction of the area the artist called home. Any lettering used on the ornament had to be a specific size and, since it was impossible to know during the decorative phase whether the ornament would be placed high, low or at eye-level on the tree, it had to be equally attractive from all angles. The artist was also asked to maintain the “integrity” of the six-inch sphere, meaning nothing could be glued or affixed to the ball to alter its shape in any way or keep it from having a level rounded surface. Once the artist had completed the decorative work, the ball was to be placed back in its original packaging, along with photos of it from a variety of angles and a copy of the artist’s Social Security number. The decorated ornaments were to be returned to Washington by October. Mrs. Wade followed instructions to the letter, creating a beautiful ornament that focused on the agricultural nature of this congressional district and calling particular attention to corn, cotton, wheat, soybeans and strawberries — all agricultural products of great interest to her family. Mrs. Wade’s husband, the late Tom Wade, was well-known throughout the area for the cotton gins owned by his family company, as well as the Wade grain business and the strawberry fields that supply not only local fruit-lovers but customers across the nation with the juicy red berries each spring. The family’s interest in agricultural is being carried on by the Wades’ son, Will Wade, and their son-in-law, Rance Barnes, both of Union City. Mrs. Wade also received an invitation to visit the White House for a reception Dec. 2 to see her own ornament and those of many other artists from across the nation displayed on the White House Christmas tree. Unfortunately, she was not able to make the trip, but she is delighted to know her ornament graces the nation’s tree this Christmas. “I was very honored,” the talented artist said with a warm smile. Mrs. Caudle may be contacted at glendacaudle@ucmessenger.com. Published in The Messenger 12.12.08

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