Al, Al, AL: I love your writing and I always think fondly of you when I raise an olive-studded Martini, but PLEASE let some light leak into your Darkened Christmas Heart!
I was raised by a German father who only allowed lights on the tree and it was with ENORMOUS Joy that I began stringing them on my house in Topanga. And my fence. And my trees, and my bushes and ANYWHERE we can run an extension cord. Like electronic kudzu, they snake up every vertical service strong enough to support their twinkling tendrils.
But ONLY lights. No Santas, No Snowmen, and - E-Effing-GAD - nothing that inflates! We are classy.
Like you, it started as a request from my daughter and that first homesick year of college, we even wired the backseat for the 6-hour I-5 Schlep-a-thon home from Berkeley. Good times.
Living in Dogpatch, I have endured MANY an Ugly Neighbor: dog walkers and their my-shit-doesn't-stink poo-itude, trash left out with "Free" delusionally posted on it, and some Special Person even stole the smart meter thingy off our Gas Tank last winter leaving us to a shivering 3% surprise.
Did I worry that we were an Eat At Joe's Eyesore? Yes, until we received so many unsolicited compliments over the yearsincluding mailbox notes from strangers asking for help with THEIR houseas well as complaints that this year's newly added Cheeriness was not viewable enough from the street:
Yes, the new snowflakes on your carport are nice, but I can't see them from my house. And, have you told Bill that the big oak has some broken strands?"
So, please, Al, cut us some slack. I have enough fun with all the other Free Spirits in the Canyon. I duck my head when Native Tree Purists walk past my yard abloom with invading domestics. I apologize each year to Engine Company 69 when they inspect my so-not-a-moonscape sort of defensible perimeter. And I monkishly self-report my gas tank contents to avoid the Silver Cloaked Ones. Please don't rain on my lights!
Some of us Germans hail from Bavaria and when faced with the prospect of a grumpy neighbor would offer them some egg nog - extra Nogged, of course - but hold the olives and pass the extension cords.
Jane Terjung & Her Disgusting House o' Too Many Lights