Southern Scribe
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The Rich's Santa with Joyce Dixon  
I Rode the Pink Pig

by Joyce Dixon

 
  Pink pigs just seem to go with the holiday season.  There is an Appalachian myth about a pig angel that appears during the Yuletide.  Good boys and girls who see that pig angel will have their wish come true.  In New England there is the tradition of breaking a peppermint pig on New Year's Eve in the hopes of bringing good fortune in the coming year.  But for me, the pink pig meant one thing -- Rich's toy department and Santa.

Rich's was a mythical place during the holidays.  I'm not just saying that because I rather shop than eat, but because the store had traditions that have disappeared like the main store downtown.  On Thanksgiving night, family and friends would gather in the streets surrounding Rich's for the lighting of the tree and Christmas carols.  It was quite a production, as each of the three pass throughs between the two buildings would light up as a school or church choir would sing.  Finally, all three levels would illuminate as the Rich's tree was turned on for the season.  It was awesome.

The next day, my family would join the shoppers looking for special gifts.  My mind was on one thing -- getting to the Pink Pig.  During the years I rode the Pink Pig Flyer, it went through several transformations.  First, the monorail train traveled through animated storybook displays, similar to the windows in New York City.  All of Mother Goose's friends were there -- Humpty Dumpty, Cat 'n' Fiddle, Jack and the Bean Stalk, just to name a few.  I remember one time when the monorail traveled over the toy department, and I had to hold my young brother by his suspenders as he reached out to point at the G.I. Joe display. 

My favorite memory is the last trip on the Pink Pig Flyer.  Santa and the ride had been moved to the roof level.  As you waited in line for the ride, you got to walk through Santa's stable with all the live reindeer.  Each stall was labeled with the name of the reindeer.  It was better than the red carpet on Oscar night.  These were my stars.  Finally, we reached the monorail, for a very unique trip.  That year the monorail traveled on the roof outside by the tree!  I remember it being cold and a bit scary being so high on the outside.

 

Through all the years, the ride ended with a visit with Santa.  I always had long list after seeing the toy department. 

Today, I collect pink pigs, especially those with wings that fly.  Rich's main store downtown has been closed for years.  The Pink Pig and tree didn't last with the move to Lenox Square.  Today, the Pink Pig Flyer is at the Atlanta History Museum. 

2002, Joyce Dixon, All Rights Reserved