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Perilous Lighting Venture Pays Off
You can see a lot from the roof of my house. I know, because I was up there the other day.
What did I see?
I saw that the gutters need cleaning. I saw a Frisbee that I lost about 14 years ago. And I saw that falling off my house would be an exceedingly dumb way to die, because the last place I need to be is up on the roof of my house.
The occasion, of course, was the ceremony I like to call The Stringing Of The Festive Holiday Christmas Lights, also known as Mike’s Stupid Idea.
Like most of the nonsense in my life, it all goes back to kidhood.
Although both my parents were bona fide Christmas Nuts, we were not a Christmas Light Family. Oh, they liked Christmas lights. They just liked them on other peoples’ houses.
We used to drive around for hours on December evenings, oohing and aahing at Christmas lights in one neighborhood after another, debating the merits of miniature lights vs. the colossal C9 bulbs or the multi-color spectaculars vs. the all-blue extravaganzas. But we never had Christmas lights on our house. All we had was a big wreath with one measly string of bulbs on it.
I wanted lights all over the house – along the windows, along the gutters, on the roof. I made this request every year.
“Less is more,” our father would intone. I thought he was talking about lights, but what he really meant was the less I bugged him about Christmas lights, the more he would like it.
All right, so you can see how this Christmas lights thing has been with me a while. However, I never acted on it until a couple of years ago.
Why? Well, for many years I was kind of a dud where the holidays were concerned. Christmas nuts have inflexible ideas about the Proper Way To Celebrate, and eventually I rebelled against most of them.
So when I got out on my own, holiday decorating was for Other People. I didn’t even put up a bough of holly. “Less is more,” I told myself. I told myself I was happier this way, that this was the way to get the past behind me. Which was a big fat lie.
So I decided that the best way for me to shake off the Nonsense Of Christmas Past wasn’t to take it to the minimal extreme. It was to do my holiday decorating by my rules. That meant Christmas lights. Lots of them.
And that is how I found myself on top of my house the other day. It’s two stories with an attic, but when I was up there with a string of lights between my teeth, trying to work up the nerve to take one hand off the ladder so I could tack them into place, I would have estimated the altitude at about 600 feet. And I didn’t like it. See above under “Dumb Way To Die.”
But you know what? I got the job done. And when I clambered down the ladder, back to terra firma, and plugged them in, I saw that I finally had the Christmas lights I always wanted. I saw that I had persevered, in more ways than one.
I also saw one blue bulb up near the top that needs to be replaced. And it’s going to stay that way.
© 2011 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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