The Square Peg -Gentlemen... Start Your Blowers!
© S. Bradley Stoner
It’s that time of year again. It seems to start earlier and earlier. You know what I’m talking about... holiday decorations (dare I say Christmas decorations... yep, I believe I will). It started on Thanksgiving day. Heck, Bingo Bob and Duncan Donutz didn’t even let the turkey dinner settle. They’re going to pay for that, I’m sure. I couldn’t believe it! Well, I could, but I didn’t want to. I wanted to watch the Macy’s parade and a couple of football games before I tackled tangled strings of lights.
This year, though, we have some new neighbors in the hood (okay, burbs... don’t want to rile up anybody. Well, I do, but I won’t... at least not yet). What this means is that there seems to be an all out decoration war. I don’t know who declared it, but there you have it. Bingo Bob fired the first salvo by hiring some guy to string LED lights all over his house. Not to be outdone, Duncan returned fire by getting out his ladder and stringing his own lights. That a pretty neat trick. He has a two story house and it sits on a hill. That extension ladder looks like it could reach the moon.
While those two were fighting it out over the eave illumination, my new neighbor, Hot Rod Harry and his wife are deploying illuminated wire deer and pine trees, placing them meticulously on the front lawn. They even impaled a row of toy soldiers (well, they might be nutcrackers) all along their front sidewalk. Judging by the partially assembled things in their garage, I have a feeling they aren’t anywhere close to being done. Duncan almost fell off his ladder. Bob’s eyes bugged out. I could see the wheels turning, and I have a feeling Walmart’s decorations department is going to get a big boost this year.
All over the neighborhood people are in a holiday mood that even the recent clashes over the November election can’t tarnish. Hillary Hardbody went all out. I saw her puttering around in the yard and half expected to see the lights strung on her palm trees like she does every year, but after lunch I went back outside to find she had put a blow up snowman (I presume it was Frosty on account of the black stovepipe hat), a Santa’s sleigh, and one of those new-fangled laser projectors on her front lawn. Hillary waved at me and flashed a smile that would make a toothpaste manufacturer proud.
I ran into Bob last evening. He was still out working on his Christmas masterpiece. I wasn’t sure what it was going to look like. There were piles of nylon fabric all over his lawn just waiting to take shape when the blowers started up. I had to guess it was going to be pretty impressive, though.
“Boy, Bob, that’s a lot of stuff on your lawn. Bet that set you back a pretty penny.”
“Money’s no object,” Bob returned quickly. “I’m gonna win that decoration contest this year.”
“Contest?” I queried, slightly puzzled.
“Yep. There’s one for the subdivision and a big one for the city... and I plan on taking top prize in both.”
I looked dubious. “I don’t know, Bob, there’s some pretty stiff competition out there.”
“Yeah... well wait ‘til you see what I’ve got set up... it’s going to be quite a show. It’s computerized and everything.”
I looked at the massive strings of lights on his house. They didn’t look like much in the daylight, but once night fell... who knows? I hated to throw a damper on his festive, competitive mood, but I reminded him that we were in a light restriction zone. We’re in the flight path for military medivac helicopters on training missions. They fly with night vision goggles and bright lights will render them blind.
“Doesn’t apply to Christmas decorations,” Bob said confidently. “I’m gonna have a terrific laser light show bouncing off my walls. Just wait ‘til you see it!”
“Bob telling you how he’s going to win the decorating contests?” Duncan surprised me sneaking up behind me.
“Geez, Duncan!” I hadn’t noticed the sudden silence from his garage where he had been building something.
“Sorry. Anyway, I’m here to tell you Bob isn’t going to get near that first place prize.”
“Oh yeah?” Bob spat.
“Yeah,” Duncan replied.
“I s’pose you think you’re gonna win it!”
“Nope,” Duncan said thoughtfully, “but at least my lawn decorations aren’t store-bought. I’ve been working on them for months and I think they look pretty good.” He turned to me. “What about you? Are you going to put up more than that string of lights you usually put up?”
“Yep. I’m going to put up two.”
They both snorted. Heck, I don’t plan on winning anything but a smile from my lovely, and two strings of lights just ought to do it. Besides, I got my tree up before anybody else... I had it up the week before Thanksgiving since the boys were coming home and neither would make it for Christmas. So, we celebrated Thanksmas!