Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Pink Neon Star of Bethlehem

Ho, ho, ho, y'all! Santa's gonna be squeezing his fat, white ass down the chimney in a matter of hours. Is everybody ready? Everthing wrapped? Candy made, cookies baked, turkey thawed? No? Me neither. So how about we all drop those unimportant things for a minute and do what's really important: looking at tacky light displays.

I love driving around and looking at Christmas lights. And while I really like to see the tastefully done houses, a Griswold house is a helluva lot of fun, too. Which is why we hit Juniper Lane every year.

One suburb over, there is a street where every house (except for one; poor bastards probably had no idea what they were in for when they bought that house) decorates with multitudes of lights, plastic nativity scenes, inflatable snowglobes, and of course, the ubiquitous Santa-and-sled roof decorations. You can see the street from the highway; not only is each house illuminated, but the entire street is lined with arches covered in lights. Given their proxmity to the airport, I am really surprised they haven't had jets land there, thinking they've spotted a runway.

Since we moved into our house, we've made a drive-by of this street a little week-before-Christmas tradition. In the days leading up to Christmas, one of the residents goes beyond the call and stands out in the road dressed as Santa, passing out candy canes and collecting toys for charity. I'm telling you, they go all out.

Thursday night we did our pilgrimage. As always, the street was beautiful (in a tacky sort of way.) As always, Santa was out with his canes, talking to the kids through their car windows. One thing that was different was that several other families were outside, too, standing around little chimineas or portable fire pits for warmth, drinking beer and having a good old time. I guess if you have to live on a street where you are pressured to spend the entire month of November putting lights and expensive plastic crap on your homestead, and then have to deal with long lines of traffic, you might as well make it a party.

I must say I was impressed, and I am not easily impressed when it comes to light displays. That's because of Jason's stepdad, Steve, and The House That Neon Built.

Jason's stepdad was a neon artist, and throughout our courtship, their house was decorated every year with seasonal neon. Yes, neon. It started with a huge, pink star that covered the roof. That got quite a bit of attention; their house was on a major highway. Then every year Steve added a new technicolor neon fixture. There was a porch-sized wreath with a red bow. Then a Santa and Rudolph joined the star on the roof. Then a "Merry Christmas" banner on the yard. Then a pair of 4-foot-tall candles on each side of the stoop. Finally there were carolers in purple, yellow, and green. It was marvelous; the house was featured on the news most years, and traffic would slow and car horns honk (this was a very busy thoroughfare we're talking about.) It was Las Vegas meets the North Pole. When I needed a ride to his house, I would just tell the family member or friend in the driver's seat, "He lives in the house with the pink neon star," and they would know exactly which house that was. "Your boyfriend lives in THAT house?" And I proudly said yes.

Most of the neon has passed on now that Steve himself passed on. He died of a sudden heart attack 8 years ago today. And Jason's family doesn't live in the House of Neon anymore. So I have to get my outrageous light display fix in other ways now.

Like this house.

This will probably be my last post before Christmas. Hell, I've had this one on my screen for the better part of a day, working on it 5 minutes at a time between holiday tasks.

So, from the Cranky family, Merry Christmas. Of Happy Solstice. Or Season's Greetings. However you celebrate December 25th, I wish you a bright pink neon kind of day.


Shan said...

TJ's mom lives in that neighborhood so we see it all the time. It is amazing, but it reminds me of Christmas with the Kranks--I think if you didn't decorate you would be stoned with tacky ornaments or something.

Merry Christmas (or Happy Solstice...since we are neo-Pagan.)

wanda y said...

Hey, my cousin lived on Juniper! Well, actually...they haven't sold their house yet (but they are in the new house already) and they STILL put out decorations! I think you are right about being shunned if you don't decorate! Each and every year we would celebrate Christmas night there and I was always amazed at how much pride and effort went into the art of lawn ornamentation...I thought that only happened at the Griswald's....AND I remember driving down Dixie Highway every year when we would take the "long way" to Grandma and Grandpa's house just to see the NEON HOUSE!!!!!! What great holiday traditions....