We spent today at my parents’ home, putting up some outside lights for them. Since my Dad’s stroke, and as each year passes, it becomes a bit more difficult for them to do themselves. And we’re always happy to oblige. In fact, like the shopping trip with my Mom, I truly look forward to it.
My parents used to decorate their house in a BIG way! If I’d thought of it, I would have obtained some photos of years gone by and shown you how they used to light the 40-foot cedar in their front yard every year! It used to take so many lights that my Dad had to have separate fuse boxes wired in to accept the extra load. But oh, it was magnificent! People used to drive from neighboring towns to see it — a fact that pleased my Dad as I believe he thought of the gruelling task as a gift to the neighbors and community. I will find some photos of it and post them before Christmas. (And secretly, I vow to decorate the tree again one of these years!)
They used to have a fence that ran the length of their driveway, probably close to 80-100 feet long. Each section of fence had a gently arched top, and they used to outline the top of the entire fence with lights. That twinkling, scalloped line of lights was also a car-stopper.
Along with that, they lit several other trees around the property — The “Pope Tree”, a silvery-blue skyrocket juniper that was purchased from city surplus after Pope John Paul II’s visit to Halifax many years ago; The “Ashley Tree”, another cedar my parents planted the day our neighbors had their only child, a daughter, Ashley Dale, along with several smaller globe cedars, etc. I’m sure their power bill was outrageously high every January! But I know they did a lot of it for my daughters when they were young as it used to look like a wintry fairyland when it was finished. Great memories, those.
They’ve scaled their decorations down considerably since those days. The little tree in the photo above they dubbed The Nolan Tree, as it was a little seedling that started growing like gangbusters the year my grandson, Nolan, was born. Today, I had to stand on tiptoe to put the first light on the top of the tree. It’s tucked into a group of paper white birches on the side of their driveway and they can see it from almost every room in the house. Then we put some white icicle lights around the railing of their back door, lights on the railing of their front deck and such, and Mom will put a set of three candles in every window, as she has every year for as long as I can remember.
Mother provided a lovely ham dinner with apple pudding and homemade caramel sauce for dessert. My Dad supplied hilarious recollections of Christmas “decorating disasters” from years gone by. So we considered ourselves richly “compensated” for our endeavors. :)