Rushville Republican

December 18, 2012

Barada: The joy of hanging Christmas lights

Paul W. Barada
Rushville Republican

RUSHVILLE — Just think, one week from now will be Christmas Day! It’s almost impossible to believe that we’re nearing the end of the year 2012. My, how time flies. I will admit, however, that with each passing year it gets just a little more difficult to get out and put up all the Christmas decorations. And I’m convinced that there’s nothing quite as frustrating as getting out the strings of lights only to find that half of them don’t work, either because of a bad fuse or because one bulb is burned out which, of course, means that none of the lights on the string work at all!

This year, however, I seem to have gotten lucky. None of the major strands of greenery that are interlaced with little white strings of lights failed to work. When that happens, I’ve been known to get out the heavy scissors and simply dissect the strand of lights that’s become inoperable and put on an entirely new one. If you’ve ever tried to unwind a strand of little white lights from a garland of artificial greenery, you, perhaps, understand the frustration that would cause one to turn that string of lights into little segments of wire and lights scattered on the floor.

We also put strands of little white lights outside for the holidays, too. I went to four different stores before I found any at all. And all they had were little strings of only 20 lights that couldn’t be connected together, except at the power source. What good are they? I could have had one very bright spot of ten strands of lights illuminating an area about four feet square. Finally, Connie found half a dozen boxes of lights from last year with 100 bulbs on each strand. They worked perfectly.

I’m very surprised at myself for having had the good sense to buy extra lights last year. They were a life-saver this season.

Despite all my complaining about Christmas tree lights, can you imagine what it must have been like back in the day when real Christmas trees were decorated with real candles in little holders attached to them? That sounds about as dangerous an undertaking as I can imagine. Imagine, if you will, a house full of little children running around with a real Christmas tree decorated with real burning candles on it. That sounds like a conflagration just waiting to happen. I’m surprised that there isn’t an endless stream of stories about house fires at Christmas when trees sported a plethora of little flaming candles just waiting to be jostled by happy little tykes running through the house.

Speaking of Christmas decorations, I’ve always thought it would be a great idea to have strands of colored Christmas lights strung from the four corners of the local courthouse to the top of the apartment building on the corner of Second and Perkins, the corner of Tweedy’s Do It Center, the corner of CVS pharmacy, and the corner of the 201 Building. Outrageous, you say? Nonsense! They do exactly that sort of thing from the courthouse in downtown Bloomington, and I’ll bet there are other towns with county courthouses that also string lights from their towers and turrets. Indianapolis sort of does a similar thing on Monument Circle with the strands of lights making the Soldiers and Sailors Monument the “world’s largest Christmas tree.”

We do have red and green lights shining from the four clock faces in the central tower of the courthouse, but I think it would add to the festiveness of the season to run strings of colored lights from the four corners of our courthouse across the street to other downtown buildings – and it could be done high enough there would be no danger of them being hit by any of the endless procession of semis that travel east along First Street, turn north on Perkins, and then back east on 44 on their way though our fair city.

When I was a kid (Wardian slip), there used to be strands of colored lights strung back and forth across Main Street, beginning at about Fourth Street and continuing at least to First Street, if not farther. It was always fun to drive south on Main Street during the holiday season, anticipating the appearance of that colorful canopy of lights, (I think Milroy is using those strands of lights now. Never let it be said that Milroy ever let anything go to waste!)

Since it gets dark so early, it’s easy to see how many private homes have Christmas decorations this year; and, to me, at least, it seems as if there are more homes with decorations than in previous years. Main Street looks especially nice, in my opinion. Not only are there more Christmas decorations, but more homes seem to have been freshly painted and landscaped than in recent years. Perhaps it’s the infamous Main Street project that has spurred on more people to fix up their homes or perhaps it’s just my imagination, but, especially at Christmas, it’s very pleasant to see so many homes decorated for the holidays.

Getting back to my own Christmas lighting chores, I’m happy to report that all the strings of lights we intended to put up outside our house are up and working, at least as of this date. But fear not, even if we lose a sting of little white lights because of the demise of one crummy bulb, I have a couple of spare strings that can be used to take the place of the faulty strand. I believe I’ve reached the point in life where I don’t have to test each bulb individually, not to mention check the fuses, to re-illuminate a whole string. If one goes out, the whole string goes and a new one will go up!

That’s -30- for this week.