Thursday, December 21, 2017

Merry Christmas

                                        A warm holiday greeting to all my friends...........

Great Neighbors
In 1988 I lived near the Iowa State fairgrounds, my street dead-ended at the gate to the 4-H building. It was an older neighborhood, now all torn down to expand the fairgrounds. Many of the younger residents were in our first homes, so we took a special pride in how they looked. In previous years I always encouraged people to decorate for the Christmas holiday to make our street sparkle. I had even shared lights with people who didn’t have any to encourage this more. That year I was in the hospital for four surgeries getting a number of repairs from a motorcycle accident.
I had almost forgotten about decorating, when my family told me they had started some around the house. I had gotten some huge strings of lights that on top of having five colors could also be programmed with a dozen different blinking sequences. Price was no object in order to have the best. I thought how we always did the inside almost as big as the outside so was happy some would get done. My neighbor across the street, Rich, had other plans when he found out I was still in the hospital.

Coming over to the house he told my family he would be happy to put some up outside for us. They readily ran to the attic and brought out the boxes marked outside lights and went through them with him. He had to be overwhelmed with the amount of lights that I had. He was truly impressed with the new strings I had and how you could change the blinking order. Grabbing a ladder and staple gun he outlined every corner and window of my house including down the roof. It was one of the nicest displays on the street, making use of miles of lights, some I hadn’t used for years. When I came home I was really impressed, gaining the most holiday spirit I had for years. People passing would stop to look at his artwork.

It snowed for the rest of the winter pretty good so it was near spring when I was able to get out and take them down. Part of the hazard when you do big displays is taking them down. I got them all put away and when the next year came around I was ready to equal his artwork. When I went to test my lights I found that when he had stapled them up, many of the staples cut wires. Now my five color lights only worked with two or three, and some of the other strings not at all. I put them up anyway, along with many new ones, teasing him it would never be as good as when he put them up. And I never said a word about the wrecked lights, a heart of gold had put them up, and it would always be that way.

Good friends
A rather rough looking crowd, this is a great niece in the red and black checks.
Quality control, this gal can cook. She is 94 this year and still stirring the pot, especially when fudge is being made. An expert pan cleaner, it is fun to watch her in action. When I first met her she had made this huge melon basket full of fruit and melon for a half dozen twenty somethings the  day after a huge outdoor rock concert. The breakfast that followed was magnificent and all home grown. I have treasured her ever since then.
Children's Christmas play gift photo

This was a rough party, everyone was related.

Duckie takes a spill at a gathering. I have a similar scar and so does a daughter.

A blow up Teddy Bear Santa resting


  1. I love the story of Rich and the Christmas lights. What a friend, to do all that work. He can definitely be forgiven if he made some mistakes. His heart was in the right place. I wish there were pictures of his work. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  2. A fun Christmas decorating story. Sounds like you had some pretty great neighbors. I have one of those chin scars

  3. That was a touching Christmas story. Refreshes faith in the human race.

  4. Thank you for sharing, Steve. It was a lovely post. Here's to good friends, neighbors, family and memories.
    Wishing you a Merry Christmas.

  5. Hi Steve - they all look wonderful fun - and those lights ... great friend indeed. Congratulations this year .. and now enjoy the first Christmas once again - and lots of laughter and happiness in 2018 ... cheers Hilary

  6. what a great story and such a big heart. people can surprise you sometimes. have a merry christmas and fun holiday.

  7. Thanks for sharing your story! And, thanks for sharing the wonderful pictures!! So special!!! Have a very Merry Christmas!!! All the best!

  8. When you talked about those Christmas lights going up, the first thing I thought about was how it is to take them down again later. I'm glad you added that part.

  9. Great post.
    Great story.
    Loved all of your photographs.

    Merry Christmas Wishes

    All the best Jan


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