It's easy to find the McVicker residence in the Enenton village of Rivershyre in Evans: It's the house that's swathed from floor to roof with lights, wreaths, bows and garlands.
Inside, almost every inch of the 2,700-square-foot domicile is dedicated to Christmas or a different facet of Bob and Sandra McVicker's life. The bedroom is packed with Ohio State University souvenirs, and the den features prints of Augusta National Golf Club. The living room is a shrine to author Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind, with framed pictures, decorated eggs, music boxes and a calendar.
Then there are the trees. Like sentinels, they stand one to a room, covered in ribbon and ornaments. Each has a specific theme. The living room tree, like the rest of the room, is a showcase for Rhett Butler, Scarlett O'Hara and all the players and scenes from that great Southern epic. The McVickers are from Chillicothe, Ohio, but when they moved to Augusta seven years ago to take jobs at the Medical College of Georgia, Mrs. McVicker said her interest in the movie blossomed.
"When I was younger, my best friends' mother took me to see it, and I just loved the frilly dresses and everything about it," she said. "Then when we first visited Savannah after moving here, I was so amazed to see there were people actually picking cotton. My friends insist I must have been from here in a previous life."
It's a fascination that has crossed into another of the couple's passions: cats. In addition to an interest in Gone With the Wind (Mrs. McVicker said she's read the book four or five times and watched the film more times than she can remember) the couple bought cats when they moved to the area and named them, quite naturally, Rhett and Scarlett.
"I wanted Rhett, but Scarlett was so playful. We couldn't decide which one to get, so we got them both," she said. "They're very clean, and have very quiet mannerisms. They're very elegant cats."
Even if by some chance visitors don't see felines prowling the premises, the cats are well represented in decorative form. Along the banister leading to the second floor, a wooden cat cutout with each cat's name hangs beneath the traditional pine garland. At the top of the stairs, a Christmas tree decorated exclusively with cat ornaments is guarded by a Garfield doll. Just around the corner, a tree in a guest bedroom is reserved for angel cats.
There also is an angel tree in the dining room, a Coca-Cola tree in another guest room, a golf tree in the den and a smaller tree with all things Grinch near the mantel in the back room.
The McVickers didn't expand their collection of trees and ornaments until after moving to Augusta. Mrs. McVicker estimates she is closing in on 1,000 ornaments. Many were purchased on trips to Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head Island, S.C., and Savannah, Ga.; the rest are from the Danbury Mint.
"Next year, we're going to add an entertainment tree to the mix," Mrs. McVicker said. "We've probably got 100 more ornaments not being used."
She estimates she's spent 25 hours on the decorating. and her husband has spent 12 hours. They also hired Fat Man's holiday specialties store to put up outdoor lights and help with a few trees inside. They entertain frequently during the holidays, so the decorating is an extension of the season. She laughed when asked where new trees will go after every room is occupied.
"My husband says then I'll just start decorating the trees outside when I run out of rooms," she said. "I don't have trees in the bathroom, so you never know; I might find something small to fit in there, too."
As disparate as the decor themes may be, they share a common thread.
"Everything reminds me of home," she said. "The Gone With the Wind things remind me that my home is in the South, the cola is all I ever drank when I was growing up, and growing up in Ohio, I really like red and white."
AT HOME WITH ...
THE FAMILY: Bob and Sandra McVicker
THE HOME: Four bedroom, 2 1/2 -bath home in Evans
IT'S A FACT: The couple has nearly 1,000 Christmas ornaments
Reach Patrick Verel at (706) 823-3332 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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