Friday, December 7, 2012

Who Kows What it Will be Next

One night last December,  I went over to Mom's to help her get her winter clothes out of the attic. It took a while to get into her neighborhood. It was the night of the annual Holiday Tour of Homes and the neighborhood's "favorite" child - the florist, had his house on display. There were cars and people every where. Obviously, everyone in town wanted to see how he had decorated his home and were willing to contribute to a local charity to do so.

Well, that would be everyone but my mother's end of the block. As I drove up to her house, she and two neighbors were standing in her front yard. I just couldn't help myself. As I got out of the car, I said, "I think his house is the most popular one on the tour. There are cars all the way out of the neighborhood parked on the main street." The ladies glared at me. 

Mama started, "I just think he has no respect for the rest of us who live here with all the traffic down there."  "Were you planning on going somewhere tonight?" "Well, no, but that's not the issue." One of her neighbors added, "What if someone needed medical help down here at this end of the block? They couldn't get an ambulance through." I looked down the street at the florist's house, in all its glory, where a line of people stood waiting to go in. Christmas music could be heard above the  happy sounds of people talking among themselves.

Finally the neighbors said good night and found their way back to their homes. I  found myself  standing in the dark at the more subdued (to say it mildly) end of the street. The only lights down here were the Christmas tree lights I could see through the windows and the lighted three foot tall Christmas tree, everyone had on their porch. Well, everyone except my mother.

Earlier that week, I had to hear about her stand down with the florist over the trees he had suggested everyone in the neighborhood put on their porch. Mama refused to participate. Personally, I found the trees to be attractive and tasteful, certainly nothing worth waging war over. But not her. The line in the sand (or in this case, on the porch) had been drawn and God bless anyone brave enough to cross it.

As we walked into Mama's house, she was laughing, "Can you believe that house?" I was beginning to get a little tired of this by now. "Mama, his house is beautiful. I can only imagine how it is decorated?" "I bet it is ticky tacky. Who puts two wreaths  - on the inside of his windows - in his dining room?" "OK, he may be a little over the top, but he always did lovely work in his shop." "He is just ruining this neighborhood." "By decorating for Christmas?" "People like him just don't know when to stop."

I noticed a three foot tall Christmas tree sitting just inside her front door. "Is that the tree?" "Oh, don't get me started about that tree." Fear not. I got her clothes down and helped her get them into her guest room. 

As I was leaving she said, "And one more thing, can you just put that darn tree on the front porch," pointing to the small tree by door. I picked it up. "And plug the blasted thing in." I did as I was told and stepped back to admire my work. "I think it looks nice." "No one is going to say that I made the neighborhood look tacky because I wouldn't put a tree out." Then she added, "But, I'll tell you now, if he suggests something like colored lights next year, I'm putting my foot down. You know how they are, today it's Christmas lights, who knows what it will be next.

I got in my car and made my way through the line of folks still waiting to see the inside of his house. I'm not sure what he did to get on my Mama's bad side, but whether he knew it or not he was. And, even though she was a force to be reckoned with, I doubt he was concerned. But, if he wanted colored lights next year, he may not know he may be starting WWW3, at least in my Mama's mind.


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