I love holiday lights. I love to see neighbors vying for the tackiest house in the 'hood. I love blow up Santas (for the yard) and reindeer on the roof and lights that stream along every beam and eave. I love twinkle lights. I love the way lights look in the snow. I love Christmas Vacation because of the lights. One of my favourite things in 2000 was the house on Hamlin and something north of Summit that created a palm tree with lights on their maple. Beth and I drove by it about 30 times. I think they thought we were stalking them.
I love holiday lights.
Our first Christmas in MSP after college, Tom and I had the sorts of jobs English majors and History/Russian majors got in 1989...we worked in bars, restaurants, and retail. We had weird schedules and lived our lives off the clock. Breakfast happened at 3 AM. You got up at noon. You worked eight hours at some point in the day, sometimes 12 or 14 hours even, but you just didn't know when you'd be doing it.
Tom's housemate, Karen, had told him about this great house in Golden Valley that had the most obscene, energy-draining, over-done cavalcade of twinkling Christmas bulbs in the city. We had plans to go out for dinner and a drink, but I didn't get off work until 8. I ended up running late and got done around 9. Tom picked me up, and we decided to go see the crazy-ass Christmas Light Guy on our way to dinner. You gotta have a holiday show, doncha know. I'd had a crap day and was very excited. We got a little turned around once we hit the suburbs and were running a bit late to begin with, so we worried that we wouldn't get there in time since upstanding midwesterners go to bed around 10 on a weekday...just in time for some Paul Douglas weather before falling asleep to Letterman (or Carson, back then. By the way...Johnny Carson...dead, not dead?)
We turned down the sidestreet and we were in luck. There, looming four blocks ahead, shined the brightest star in the tacky-light galaxy. A true work of art, even from a distance. We squealed in glee. But as we approached, the lights started going out. "NO!!!!" we cried. "We're not there yet!!!!" We hit the gas, but by the time we pulled up in front of the house it was totally dark. Tom LEANED on the horn. "Turn them back on!" we were yelling. "Come ON!"
We honked and screamed for about thirty seconds. The neighbors must have been getting seriously pissed. But the master heard our plea, and slowly, section by section, he juiced them back up until his house was illuminating the city of Golden Valley. He gave us a jaunty wave from the dark window, and we clapped and howled and honked some more in appreciation of his splendor.
Then we went to Perkins. It was totally awesome.