Mack Williams column: Assorted seasonal lights

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 1, 2022

By Mack Williams 

In this seasonal world of Christmas decorations, a few paradoxes pop up. While driving, I observed a straight-line architectural example of the neo-classical home contrasted with its yard, bedecked of such wide assortment of lights strung to fixtures of faux snowmen, candy canes, Santa, and elves as to produce an example of “Victorian clutter!”

Another yard contains such a wide variety of shrubs, trees and flowers during the warmer months that the house to which it belongs is almost totally hidden. In winter, a variety of massed stringed bulbs now replaces fallen leaves and petals in this the job of concealment.

One yard, full of red lights, gives off a kind of infernal quality. I felt (or thought I did) a little bit of warmth when I drove past!

A yard two doors down is filled with Christmas bulbs of the coldest blue. Their mind-produced chill worked its way into my car, then to me.

Further down the street are tiny lights of what I like to call “Colonial yellow-white.” They are, of course powered by electricity, but I could almost imagine them as lit beeswax candles of the 18th century, or as far back as candles go.

In the brighter sections of street, one of the static, frame, white-bulb yard deer decorations seemingly morphed into an SUV-Rudolph in the lane beside me, one antler on each side, a red nose on the grillwork.

What during the daytime had appeared to be festively-colored, empty, garbage bag-strewn home’s lawn had returned to their “inflated life” as snowmen and Santa (a nocturnal existence like vampires, but cheerier).

After returning home, I had occasion to look out my glass doors and down the street to a distant neighbor’s yard. There were trees in between us, but two bright lights of his outside Christmas display did show through. Appearing to be overly-large bulbs about two feet apart, they alternated their flashing, just like a railroad crossing signal. It’s a good thing this was only a semblance of reality; for if it had been real, the “train” lights’ placement would have had a dire foreboding for his home! A train heading behind those lights would have gone straight through the house.

On the old Lawrence Welk Show, basso Larry Hooper often performed the song: “The Railroad Runs Through the Middle of the House.” It was a cute song, but in reality, such an incident would been decidedly dire.

I then remembered the Christmas lights I missed this year, but missed not by reason of taking any different route. These were lights I missed by their not existing anymore, from the home decorations of my youth on the Old Concord Road to the now, nonexistent yard decorations of a few years ago along my regularly-traveled path.

I attribute the reason to someone’s relocation, or perhaps more poignantly, their death.

Both situations can result in an unoccupied home, no brilliantly lit decorations without, and no gazing eyes from within.

But if that outside light had still been there, and those eyes had still possibly been gazing out the window, a wide-eyed seasonal reflective glint might have passed from those eyes to mine.

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