There are, for me, so many fond memories of growing up in Lime Springs at Christmas time. None is more important to this current desert dweller than having cold and snow. That was pretty much a given growing up, so next came the decorations.
Mom was in charge of the inside decorations and Dad took care of the outside. Getting our tree was usually getting one that one of the then 5 grocery stores would have for sale. However, one year Mom got it in her head that ‘you girls and your Dad’ are to go to the nursery in Cresco and pick out the tree. We had quite a time finding a tree of the right height that was also pretty well balanced. The one we selected definitely had a ‘bad’ side but Dad just overlooked that and said it could go in the corner. All of us were very cold from tramping through the snow looking for our perfect tree and not a peep came out of my sister and I that our tree went in front of the window and did not set in a corner. The bad side must have looked dreadful to Mom for that year, and that year only, our tree set in a corner. Mom took back the role of finding the Christmas tree in subsequent years.
At first Dad did not put up too many lights outside – just a string down the porch railings. Then he added some to the planter under the large picture window. I had moved away from home the year Mom wrote there was to be a contest for the ‘most lighted’ home and Dad was adding many more strings and getting up on the roof. He did not win that year so the next year he added more strings. I don’t know that he ever did win that lighting contest and he really didn’t care – it was something he enjoyed doing and looking at. Dad never was much of one to bring attention to himself.
The year Pete and I moved to AZ for the first time in our married life we were in a home rather than a high rise apartment. Mom and Dad flew in with many suitcases for Christmas. Shortly after they got there they brought out one suitcase and it was filled with strings of Christmas lights. Dad and Pete had a wonderful time wrapping the evergreen trees on each side of the driveway and adding lights to the edge of the roof. When Mom and Dad left, the strings of lights stayed behind with promises to come again next Christmas and help put them up. Sadly, that time never came as Mom died the following October. Dad came alone but his heart was not in Christmas. We did get out the strings of lights but they did not all go up. That was our last Christmas with either Mom or Dad.
Subsequently we moved to our current home. Every Christmas we go to the box marked ‘Outdoor Lights’ and now some 28 years later those same strings of Christmas lights still go outside on our house. The wires are getting pretty stiff. Pete has repaired them in more places than he cares to remember and black electrical tape is prominent. When we plug them in it is with huge smiles of jubilation that they light up. And the sentimental value these old strings of lights have is priceless.