Makes You Wonder! Land
This time of year is a visual delight. People go all out in decorating their homes with lights so that the night dazzles.
When I was a child, I loved the night dad announced, “Let’s go look at Christmas lights!” My siblings and I rushed to bundle up in our winter coats and ran out to the old Buick. I loved driving in the cold with mittens on my hands, snuggled in the back seat with my brothers. We frosted up the windows with our breath as we searched out some of the most beautiful (and probably outrageous) Christmas lights. Dad always knew where to go. My eyes grew big as we slowed down and passed by the colorful lights strung around eaves and windows and wrapped around trees. We especially ooh’d and ah’d when we’d see deer ‘grazing’ on the lawn. What a delight! They weren’t lit up back then like they are now and were rather scarce, so it was always a treat to “catch” sightings of deer on the lawns.
Once we exhausted all the decorated houses, we then went home where my mom turned on the stove and heated up milk for hot chocolate (this was also pre-microwave era).
I carried on the tradition with my kids. We wrapped ourselves up and drove around town at night to see how others decorated their homes. Many times we ended at a park where we drove slowly along the winding roads and marveled at the twinkling outlines of moving Santas and “flying” reindeer, at the green lights of the Grinch smiling his grinchy smile, and at the simple glow of the Nativity in the dark night. There was even a dragon at one park!
Nighttime is magical at this time of year. I love it tremendously!
But then something happened. Someone came up with new decorations, decorations that were clunky and tacky and unsophisticated. Decorations that took their cue from the rounded, colorful, and safe baby toys. The inflatable lawn decoration was born. At first I shrugged it off, thinking they would go away. But over the past couple of years they have been taking over, like a fungus.
I ignored them until one day while driving, I was assaulted by a slew of these things stuffed into the backyard of a house. (The backyard faced the road.) I travel by this place constantly and every time I pass by I wrinkle my nose and shake my head. Then I smile. Whatever possessed them? Finally, I had to document the absurdity of this place, so I stopped and took photos. These photos don’t do it justice. These photos look small, but the house is actually large and these things are enormous.
Curious, I drove into the subdivision looking for the front of the house. I wasn’t disappointed. I stopped my car, grabbed my camera, rolled down my window, and…well, I had to wait while a car drove past before I took the photo. Aaack!!! That car drove into the driveway! I debated about taking photos with the owner knowing I was stationed in my car with a camera, but the debate was short-lived. I figured since they put that crap out for public display, I can take a photo of it. I wondered what they thought of me sitting in my car, grinning, and taking photos. It didn’t matter. I snapped away.
Later, ON THE SAME DAY, I passed by THIS place! I turned onto a side road across the street and noticed that a couple of other cars did the same thing. I pulled over, the other cars made u-turns. I pulled out my camera, the other cars turned back onto the main road and drove back by the house s l o w l y. Yep, others were just as dumbfounded as I was. I got out of the car and tried to find a decent angle to take a photograph (I wish I had my wide-angle camera with me!) As I did, more cars drove by, slowing down. I was curious. Were they impressed or amused? I saw one woman stifle a laugh as she drove by. Amused. We looked at each other and grinned.
I am not a woman of excess. Too much clutter makes me nervous; I can’t focus on what’s important and therefore I don’t focus at all. My stylistic tastes are different. So when I see things like this, I turn…no…run away. But then I smile, because oddly enough, it lightens the moment. Laughter does that. And so, even though I am glad I do not live next door to these folks, I do appreciate the smile on my face every time I pass by their stuffed yard. But I still hope that one day it will all go away.