Christmas decorations make streets look festive, homes look welcoming. At night they can transform the ordinary into something uplifting and magical.
Last night I went to dinner with an 89-year-old friend (former colleague). Remembering my drive to look at the lights last year at this time, I asked–after dinner–if she would enjoy a short drive to look at homes decorated with Christmas lights before going home. Her “yes, if it’s not too much trouble for you” was typical of her considerate style. She had never seen these homes decorated for Christmas at night, yet the streets we travelled were less than 10 minutes from her apartment.
In a world of unrest and uncertainty the colors and twinkling of the holiday lights on homes seem–in a way– protective, signaling all is well within. And so I tried–and successfully found–the same streets as last Christmas eve. And we were rewarded as we drove slowly–block after block. (Click on photos to enlarge.)
My friend’s macular degeneration necessitated her no longer driving–as of a month ago. I know she loved seeing the lighted displays but I’m not certain she had the “best seat in the house.”
At times I felt my position in the driver’s seat blocked some of her view. I was conflicted as to whether I should drive up one side of the street and down the other in deference to her vision problems. I decided to go slowly, pointing out things and stopping in places where I thought she would have an unobstructed view–not blocked by my driver’s seat position.
I remembered last year, climbing out of my car into the black, frigid night to snap these pictures. I could glimpse party-goers within, hear dogs barking to signal a stranger approaching, and realize some home owners had turned in for the night but left their colored lights glowing warmly in the yard.
Standing outside on the edge of their frozen property I wondered if anyone realized the pleasure their displays provide. I wondered how many of us drive out of our way to look at the lights; then wondered: Do we take our spouses and our children to enjoy the lights? Do we ever think of taking an aging parent, relative, or friends?
And so this year, I did just that. And my friend couldn’t say “thank you” enough times.