• 37°

A Christmas story down on the farm

Last Saturday, I was very fortunate to see Santa Claus jump out of a plane at the airport. I was amazed, just like almost everyone there. It was great fun to see him float to the ground by parachute, wave to everyone, then hop in a van for the ride to the airport’s new hangar. Just a little later, after all the kids got their turn, I got to talk to Santa myself.
Santa had the usual upfront chit-chat, and then talked about his ability to sky-dive and parachute. Everything was going pretty well, until Santa decided to bring up a touchy subject. Santa said, “So Dave, what is up with the lights on the windmill? Do you realize how close Christmas Day is?” Turns out Santa was concerned because the lights had not been turned on. He knew the lights are usually up and looking very festive by Dec. 1. Santa continued, “I always can head directly toward Rowan County when I can see those lights on Christmas Eve night.”
I have always had a special relationship with Santa. It started very early, maybe when I was 3 or 4. Still to this day, I can’t wait for his visit. I certainly didn’t want to disappoint Santa.
Those lights are my pride and joy during the Christmas season. The windmill is 55 feet tall and takes lots of lights, and they have to be the kind that can stand one light going out while the rest of the strand keeps burning. Or the rest of five or six long strands.
Actually there have been lights on the windmill for weeks, or maybe a few months. OK, I can admit that we never took them down after last Christmas. Granted that is probably part of the reason that the lights were not working this year. But the biggest issue is that the power supply to the windmill area has an electrical short, and I finally decided to call a real electrician to fix it.
Another issue is that it takes an accomplished climber to take the old lights down, and to restring the new ones. That lucky person gets to climb the outside and sometimes the inside of the very tall windmill, making sure that the footing is adequate while holding on to secure the lights in Christmas tree fashion.
I gathered two friends, both of whom had to cancel on doing the work Tuesday due to other commitments but were able to make it first thing on Wednesday. Jeff Ritchie and Johnny Brown, who just happened to be first cousins, both came to the farm to provide their expertise. Jeff owns J.R. Ritchie Electric and has done most of the electrical work that I’ve needed over the years. I once worked on his family’s farm. Johnny owns J.E. Brown Guttering, and has no problem with climbing all over anything high. His family did the guttering on my house. Bottom line, they are both great guys who I have known for years. I had not seen either of them for more than six months, so we had lots of catching up to do.
So, these guys brought their talents and good-natured friendship, and we all set about making Santa happy by stringing brand new lights and hooking them up to the star that already was mounted on the top of the windmill. First, Johnny went round and round, taking all the old lights off, dropping them to the ground. I was his laborer, collecting the old lights. Jeff worked on finding the problem with the electricity.
Finally, it was time to string the new lights in Christmas tree fashion. Johnny got the spacing just right. They looked good to all of us, but we wouldn’t know for sure until darkness came. Jeff thought he had made some headway on finding the electrical short, so we all left to take care of some other things. Darkness would come soon enough, and we all had some other work to do in the meantime.
I got home about 5:30 p.m., the perfect time to turn on outdoor decorations. I walked to the back door, almost afraid to look out and see if the lights were on. They were! What a great sight! My giant Christmas tree was back in business. Santa will now be happy on Christmas Eve.
It had been a good day; I had been able to visit with two old friends. There was a familiarity that comes with knowing them for 40 years, but it was more than that. We all needed those lights to burn and make Christmas just a little more special. And they did just that. Another wonderful holiday memory. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Comments

Comments closed.

Local

City approves DOT agreement, Salisbury Station project could begin next year

Local

County plans to use vulture effigy, enforce violations to remedy animal carcass feeding problem

Education

Two weeks after ending enhanced protocols, Catawba has no COVID-19 cases

News

Council to hear revised version of Downtown Main Street Plan

News

Political Notebook: Majority of likely voters, local legislators support school reopening bill

Coronavirus

COVID-19 vaccinations in Rowan top positives since start of pandemic

Crime

Man faces drug charges after breaking and entering call

Lifestyle

Waterworks schedules 2021 Summer ARTventures

Crime

Blotter: Man faces drug charges after being found passed out in vehicle

Ask Us

Ask Us: What programs exist for litter cleanup?

Business

County begins accepting restaurant grant applications

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury man charged with nine more felony sex offenses

Nation/World

Biden team readies wider economic package after virus relief

Nation/World

Spacewalking astronauts prep station for new solar wings

Nation/World

Cuomo sorry for remarks aide ‘misinterpreted’ as harassment

Nation/World

Trump calls for GOP unity, repeats lies about election loss

Education

Rowan County administers 700 vaccines, with majority going to local educators

Crime

Shoplifting at Walmart presents challenge for Salisbury police

Local

Commissioners will hear details about changes to solar energy policies

Business

After overcoming obstacles, local barber Daniel King earns registered status

Lifestyle

39th annual K12 student exhibitions go virtual

Business

Biz Roundup: Chamber of Commerce to host ‘Salute to Agri-Business’ at March Power in Partnership

Local

Local legislators back bills ranging from new restrictions on sex offenders to Holocaust education

News

After surviving COVID-19 scare, Lois Willard set to celebrate 100th birthday