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The Nutcrackers

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Vast collection adorns Dailey home inside and out

By Becky Barnes

By Becky Barnes, Editor
They stand as centuries in front of Teresa and Tom Dailey’s Pike Street home. And, if legend is true, they bring good luck to the family.
Teresa should have plenty of luck to share.
Over the last 10 years she has collected 150-plus nutcrackers that only come out during the holidays.
She remembers the first as being a gift from a child she baby-sat and that has morphed into shelf after shelf of wooden soldiers in every size and shape.
She said one of her favorites has to be the queen nutcracker that gets front and center spotlight on her mantle.
“I had all these kings and needed a queen,” Teresa said, adding that while the queen gets top billing, the most treasured is one that was hand-painted by her granddaughter Sarah.
Hers is definitely a one-of-a-kind nutcracker, which, according to Teresa, is getting tricky to find.
She has some duplicates, but, because she allows her granddaughters to play with them when they visit, it’s ok to have more than one.
The girls, whom she calls her grand angels, are allowed to play with any of the nutcrackers on the two bottom shelves of her display. The upper shelf is strictly for the ones she wants to preserve.
“My kids love it,” Teresa said, beaming as she describes each one and where it came from.
She has a collection of nutcrackers from Wizard of Oz characters, except the Cowardly Lion. He has so far eluded her watchful eye on ebay. She also has the characters from The Nutcracker Suite.
She has one that was repainted to represent her son Dexter’s football years at Harrison County High School. There’s a soldier in Army fatigues that was given to her when her son-in-law joined the service.
Some have been gifts and some she has found herself.
Her mother found an Elvis nutcracker because of their shared love of The King of Rock and Roll.
She has goblets with nutcracker stems. Those aren’t included in her running count nor are the dozen or so that are standing guard over the outside of the home.
“It gives the kids something to get me,” Teresa said, noting that they all get excited when the five crates of nutcrackers appear in the front room.
She packs away photographs of her children, Tomi Jean, Diana, Bonnie and Dexter, and grandchildren, Sarah, Carolyn and Henley, and situates her nutcrackers in places of honor.
Teresa said she gets enjoyment out of trying to find new and unusual nutcrackers. She has been known to knock on a stranger’s door to find out where they found their decorations.
She would like to have every shelf of her built-in bookcase around her fireplace filled with nutcrackers. If the luck of the lore holds true, that’s probably not that far off.