Now that our business in the Dark Heart of America is concluded - pretty much, at at any rate - and the house is finally on the market, I can tell the heart-warming Tale of the Small-Town Christmas Bullies.
This is not an anti-Christmas story; I’m not one of those pathetic little creatures who goes around mocking Christmas, and those who honor it - I am pathetic for many other reasons than that.
No, this is the story of a street in a small-town, a street where every year, lawns up and down will be adorned with six foot high wooden placards depicting one of the verses of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”
Each slab of wood is hand-painted, with lights shining on them.
How quaint! How pretty!
How . . . how . . . how . . . thuggish.
Thuggish? At Christmas? And in Oklahoma, to boot?
Ah, well, Gingerbread Reader, it is one thing if one chooses to plop this thing on one’s front lawn out of one’s free will - it is quite another if - as in the case of my late mother-in-law, peer pressure from neighbors and fellow church members is gently applied, so that you are guilt-tripped into putting the damn thing up every year, so that you come to hate looking at it on your front lawn, but these are your friends, after all, and Christmas does come but once a year . . .
Turns out that in the time between my mother-in-law’s death and this year, someone has still been putting this day - sorry, I’m not sure what day it actually is - on the lawn, and plugging it into the outside electrical outlet, which they don’t pay for.
After we had left the house for the final time in November, turning the keys over to the hard-working couple who would spruce it up for the Realtor, it turned out that (within a few short days of our departure) in the dead of night, the wooden sign mysteriously turned up once more on the front lawn, plugged into the electrical - which we pay for until the house is sold.
“Take the damn thing down,” I instructed the guy who was repairing various and sundry places around the house. “Just put it into the garage.”
I stopped short of saying, “And then take and axe and chop it into kindling.”
Our Realtor knows the sad story of how the monstrosity came to be on the front lawn every year, and she won’t allow it to be put up while the house is on the market.
Yes, it’s petty on my part, but Christmas will still come, I suspect.
And who knows? Maybe others on the street who have felt pressured over the years may have taken this opportunity to say, “No, not this year, thank you.”
Quote of the Day
The brevity of a pointed answer to a question worth our while gives us artistic pleasure. - Ernest Dimnet, “What We Live By”