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Mack Williams: The house that lost its heart-light

For the last several years, I’ve noticed a house only minutes from my apartment, the tiny porch of which used to be all bedecked for the different seasons and special days of the year, until some months ago.

Some people have seasonal, or special day flags flying from the corners of their front porches. There’s no trouble in seeing them in daytime ; but at night, your car lights have to be at just the right angle in a curve to catch them in all their glory!(and of course, being careful not to see them head-on, like the hapless “off road” drivers we read of in the newspaper now and then).

But the little elderly lady who kept her tiny porch “up to snuff” with such seasonal and special day decorum also strung her decorations with strings of lights of the appropriate seasonal colors. She was not going to let the dark night erase her “Weltschaung” (German for “worldview” or “outlook.” I’m an old psychology major).

Her lights and decorations weren’t fancy, being more of the Dollar Tree variety than the classier Hobby Lobby. But she did the best with what she could obtain, her inspiration always looking nice! In fact, in her case, I think the Bible verse in The Book of Proverbs about the “good woman” could be amended to say: “And she never puts up anything tacky-looking on her front porch.”

That house has looked abandoned for a while now, no decorations having been there since February, when the lady had red plastic Valentine’s Day hearts and strings of tiny red and white lights attached to the porch railings. I remember thinking at the time that those illuminated hearts reminded me of “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial”(1982). I still have my daughter Rachel’s E.T. doll in storage; and it looks a little wrinkled and flaky, but not as unhealthy as E.T. looked toward the end of the film. 

There are also no blinds or drapes in the windows. I can’t help but wonder where the little elderly lady is now.

Perhaps relatives took her in due to her increasing age or possible health problems; or perhaps the worst has happened, and her age is increasing no more. But I like to think she just moved to another house on her own, or her kin have taken her in to provide extra protection for her during the current pandemic.

If she’s still in this world, I like to think her “heart light,” like that of E.T. is still shining in special decorations from the front porch of wherever her whereabouts are now, always giving a warm reassurance to strangers passing by. I know it always did to me.

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