Oh, dahling! Who are these marvelous creatures? Why, it’s the mysterious Girls Raised In The South (GRITS) Queens, a group of elegant and royal women who descend from their castles every year to meet their adoring fans during the Tuscumbia, Alabama, Christmas parade. This is the Queens’ only public appearance — their presence creates such a stir of love and devotion among their people that everyone agrees once a year is plenty. That’s also why they must conceal their identities — the price of fame, you know. Anyway, for years my No. 1 Christmas wish has been to be asked to don a boa and tiara and fur coat and comb out my Tammy Faye-hair and take my place in this distinguished and beloved group. I must have proven my queenliness lately because this is the year I got the call — and with humble gratitude, I accepted. And had a royal blast. Who could not love waving to screaming fans and throwing packages of grits from a horse-drawn carriage? But the reporter in me couldn’t pass up such a great story — I agreed to keep the GRITS Queens’ secrets and they graciously agreed to let me write about the experience in my weekly newspaper column, http://www.timesdaily.com/article/20091211/ARTICLES/912115005. All I can say is that everybody should find a parade, gather some girlfriends, put on your best gown and rent a horse and carriage — you’ll love every minute!