Her gift was as big as the broadside of a barn, and that’s no Southern exaggeration.
Campbell and her grandchildren, Bo Davis, Jada Campbell and Karlee Campbell, along with her great nephew, Cade Middleton, spent several days painting a life-sized Nativity scene on one of Campbell’s Grady Road barns.
“I don’t think they realize it, but that was my Christmas gift from them,” Campbell said. “All that time spent together having fun and focusing on what Christmas is all about was the best gift I could have ever asked for.”
The idea to paint the Nativity was Campbell’s, but the children were all too willing to help, she said.
“I got to paint baby Jesus,” 6-year-old Karlee shouted excitedly. “It was neat.” Nine-year-old Jada was in charge of painting most of the animals, including a family of ducks.
“I also got to paint all of the stars,” Jada said, spreading her arms wide to convey just how big the sky was. “I even painted the big star.”
Cade’s job was painting the sheep and gluing the jewels in the wise men’s crowns, the 6-year-old proudly stated. Bo, 14 years old, and
the tallest of all involved in the painting, tackled the high parts and hard to reach places.
“We had a great couple days painting the Nativity,” Campbell said.
“The girls brought their dolls and we even had a picnic one day. It was just a wonderful time.”
Down at the barn, Cade yells out, “We put lights on it so you can see it when it’s dark,” as he points to a set of outdoor spotlights. “It’s cool at night.” And then he rushes off to check to make sure the wise men’s jewels are still stuck on.
This isn’t the first time Campbell has put her creative touch on the side of a barn. Polk residents may recall seeing several different barn paintings along Grady Road’s twists and turns.
For Campbell, it’s not just a hobby. Her paintings usually contain a deeper spiritual message that goes far beyond the surface of the
paint. “It’s more of a calling,” she said. “The Lord lays these ideas on my heart and I think it’s because there are people out there, driving along the road, that benefit from seeing them.”