Childhood friends gather for 35th year at Turtle Creek Mall

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - While last minute shoppers fill the stores of Turtle Creek Mall every Christmas Eve,  one group take it easy, and rather than stressing over last minute gifts, they enjoy each other's company.

"It started back when we were younger, 35 years ago," said Perrin Lowrey.

The group of men grew up together in the historic avenues of Hattiesburg, and for the past 35 years, they have spent Christmas Eve at the mall, visiting, laughing, and people watching.

"People will know we're here, and we get to see friends, make acquaintances,renew old times, and tell stories," said Lowrey.

However, if someone misses a year, there is a way to tell.

The friends have a book with 35 years worth of signatures, signifying old friends, new friends, and a Merry Christmas tradition.

The men also give out Christmas treats to passer-by's.

"All the cookies, the cakes, they're all home made, " said judge Mike McPhail. "I personally bring my wife's wonderful divinity and pralines."

For the childhood friends, and the new friends, each year from the fifth to the 35th is special to them.

"That's the one thing we say, well, here we are, we've made it another year, " said Chuck Abadie.

"It's just friendship, it's real simple," said Lowrey.

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