Another Day in the Country
Put up the lights
© Another Day in the Country
When we first came back to Ramona from far off California; we were looking forward to our first Christmas in the country.
I’d heard my cousin Keith talk about how pretty it was in town when Christmas lights started going up.
“Because there are no leaves on the trees,” he’ said, “You can see clear across town, like they’re right next door. And on a cold, clear, winter night there is nothing prettier.”
So while we were hunkering down for our first winter — which included moving across the street to Cousin’s Corner, because it was a warmer house with fewer air leaks around the windows — we began doing our share and more of putting up lights.
“Wouldn’t it be beautiful,” I think it was me who came up with that bright idea, “if the whole town had lights for Christmas!”
That’s pretty much what happened! If someone wasn’t getting their lights up, we offered to help. If someone didn’t have lights, we used some of ours. Ramona became this bright glow on the prairie for several weeks, and we hated to see the lights go off in January.
When our parents came back to Ramona, my dad was concerned about Christmas lights on the house where they were living.
One day when we had been walking door to door with our extra lights, offering help, we stopped in to see Mom and Dad.
“Martha, here they come,” we heard Dad call out to our mother, “and you tell them no lights!”
We laughed when we heard his concern and we didn’t put lights up on Jake’s Place (where they were staying) that year.
Instead, we dressed a scarecrow that we called Jakie in a Santa suit and had him crawling up the side of a little chicken house that Jess covered with lights.
“There’s got to be light somewhere on this corner,” she said.
Later, Dad conceded, “I do like looking across the street at Naomi’s blue lights — they look real cheery.”
But that’s as close as he came to admitting that Christmas lights were a good thing.
Christmas lights are a lovely thing! It seems they signal hope as they shine forth on dark nights. The tiniest flicker goes a long way and warms your heart.
“Ah, there’s a warm-hearted person living there,” we say to ourselves, imagining how nice they are to their kids and helpful to their wife.
I remember, as a child, how I loved seeing Christmas trees inside houses along the street — especially lovely when they put them in front of a window, so you could enjoy them inside and out.
The warmth, the hope, the peace and goodwill that we sing about at Christmas just radiates through the neighborhood, the village, and the world as we put up the lights!
The first Christmas carols I heard were early in November at a new bakery in Marion. They told me it was their family tradition to start playing carols at Halloween.
The first lights in town were my next-door neighbors, who strung colored lights along their fence line on Thanksgiving weekend. It’s the first thing we noticed when we drove into town.
“Oh, aren’t those pretty,” we exclaimed.
Then my sister said: “We’ve got to get ours up.”
Getting “ours up” isn’t quite as formidable as it was when we first came to Ramona and I tried to get the whole town lit up. We’re down to three or four spots.
The hanging of icicles is made easy by cup hooks put up years and years ago. We always feel as if Tooltime Tim is still with us, saying: “After this one we’ve got to do my big tree at the farm.” I would then drive ’round and ’round that big old tree on a tractor while he perched in a bucket, stringing lights. It seemed a rather precarious operation, but the results could be seen for miles.
That tree has been dark for more than seven years now, but other lights are going up across town.
Jeannie already has had “Breakfast with Santa” for all the kids in town. Art has put up the “town lights” on four strategic light poles on Main St.
With the first lights going up, another Christmas season has officially begun in Ramona. You’ve still got time to put more lights up and brighten your neighbors heart, on another day in the country.