“The Sounds of Christmas” is the theme for this year's Lake of the Ozarks Christmas Parade at 3 p.m. on December 8.

“The Sounds of Christmas” evokes images, a crackling fireplace, carolers singing, and out the window, a crisp gust of cold winter wind whistles where, in the distance, approaching sleigh bells jingle to the rhythm of horse hooves pounding a path as they neigh on their way creating a holiday soundtrack.

“The Sounds of Christmas” is the theme for this year’s Lake of the Ozarks Christmas Parade at 3 p.m. on December 8 on the Bagnell Dam Strip of Lake Ozark. Grand Marshal, Arlyne Page, is an equine enthusiast herself. A horse person and animal advocate, Lieutenant Page celebrates 20 years of riding in the parade, mostly astride, Cin-O-Man, a Buckskin Racking Horse who’s been with her since 2000. Her horsepower this year, however, will be a convertible leading the parade with the Grand Marshal after the Marine Corp League Color Guard.

The sounds of the season may include happy families and a thriving community abuzz with holiday spirit, and for her day job, Lieutenant Page, strives to sustain an intact community with her work in law enforcement. 

A second generation wildlife rehabilitator, having a cause came naturally and early to a young Arlyne, growing up with hurt and rescued wild animals in and around the family home. Having a cause served as a catalyst for stepping into law enforcement. Preparing for her future, Page challenged the notion of traditional women’s career education and found herself taken seriously when her mother came to the high school. 

Page says, “I got pulled out of school to put in an application for police training with the Lakewood, Colorado police department. I was one of 300 applicants. They only chose five. Two women and three men.” 

She was one of them.

Lt. Page has traversed the land of law enforcement covering many terrains over forty years, starting out on patrol while making space in time for raising her family. Page migrated, following her parents from Colorado, to Lake of the Ozarks after a few years. She started with Osage Beach Police Department as a patrolman and worked there 36 years, juggling family, horses and some wildlife rescue.

In time Page’s commitment to citizens spread to other organizations and work. She was with Osage Beach Fire Protection District Search and Rescue Unit, a former member of the Major Case Squad, a member of the Sexual Assault Response Team, and a former member of the Child Abuse Death Review Board, she also served as a Crime Scene Photographer. “I strived to be an advocate to help children and senior citizens. Then I got involved in the domestic violence side of it,” Page said, and explained further that in time a natural progression to advocate for victims would be in the education of crime prevention, to prevent those she was attempting to help from becoming a victim. She was listening and wanted to do something. “I was hearing the cry for help,” Page explains.

The Crime Prevention program continued but ran into issues beyond local prevention. Page explains, “In the computer age of ID thefts, there is very little I can do about computer crimes. It is disheartening, because unless they know who stole their identity there’s not much we can do about it.” She explained that victim advocacy is about education.

Reflecting on the progress of the program and her trajectory following Crime Prevention, Page reflects, “You can only teach those who want to listen. Knowledge is golden and I feel I have a lot of knowledge to share. I don’t know everything but I’ve learned a lot - from PR to crime scene photography, to preparation of cases, and teaching officers to teach others about crime prevention.”

Page became a Road Supervisor, teaching other officers. She felt the shift from mentee to mentor with that duty. Currently Lieutenant of Public Relations for the Camden County Sheriff's Office, Page supervises school and community resource officers, takes reports and conducts investigations, supervises the Animal Control Officer, and E911. Her goal is to eventually retire and spend time with the horses and her family.

To the question, “Why horses?” Page responds “Horses can give you a sense of freedom …more opportunity to enjoy nature and being alone in it.” And though horses can be expensive and a lot of work, Page describes the satisfaction of developing a bond with a horse that starts with the first meeting. “I always look at the eye. You look for a soft eye,” she says, describing how that “soft eye” is the indication of horse’s natural inclination to work with you.

As she talks about retirement, Page talks about her family, her two children and seven grandkids. She mentions one regret of a demanding career, which was not taking family vacations. Horses help her get away, which is important to Page and she is happy to see her children embracing the idea by planning annual vacations for their families. “They heard me,” she explains. I am so proud of my children because we weren’t able to do those things, but they realize its importance and save up to do family vacations themselves.”

Apparently, her children listened to the sounds of Mom, “If nothing, I gave them the lessons. I told them no matter what, save for college for your kids. They did and each grandchild in college, so far, has earned a scholarship. I worked so many Christmases. The kids learned from what we weren’t able to do and now they spend Christmas together with their own families. They knew when they became parents they wanted to have that family time. They tried to emulate what they didn’t have.”

The spirit of the Lake of the Ozarks Christmas Parade encourages family traditions and involvement. A Visit with Santa and a gift, some aromatic hot chocolate and sweet treats around the crackling bonfire overlooking the Osage River below the Dam is a setting to tune into the Sounds of Christmas that bring the community together in celebration. So, bring your jingle bells and your laughter, come enjoy the music and the mood of the 34th annual Lake of the Ozarks Christmas Parade activities.

Entries and fee will be accepted until the day of the parade and can be found online at www.lakechristmasparade.com or at Phat Sal’s on the Strip.

For more information contact parade chairman: Kim Miller 417-365-0849.