Lately, Ive been hearing some pretty snotty comments from area Grinches concerning the extravagant proliferation of Christmas lights and decorations displayed about town.
Apparently, some folks feel anything past a wreath on the front door is cause for expulsion from the CSRA Social Register.
One anonymous ranter in a local tabloid even commented on how incongruous he found the fact that those in small, unassuming homes (could) afford the electricity it must take to power some of the displays - (since) a house can be dilapidated with a 15-year-old car out front, and kids running around in rags, but .... theyve got their Santa, elves, reindeer, and other holiday lights going strong.
But heres my reply to such misguided reasoning. Theres as much difference between the poor and trash as there is between a fresh peach and a canned one. The only thing the former pair have in common is that theyre both human, just as the latter two are both fruit.
And although I wouldnt call myself poor, Im certainly not rich, at least not materially-speaking; I come from working people. My favorite stores are Dollar General and Big Lots. Yet, I defy anyone to call me a member of the unwashed proletariat or scum.
And despite the fact that some may see the situation as ironic, its been my pleasant experience to discover that people of very humble means are generally the most decent and hard-working, whereas the ridiculously wealthy often furnish an endless supply of decadent fodder for gossip, e.g. the Pulitzers, the Kennedys and the Windsors.
If indeed someone is sacrificing his childs food, clothing or shelter in order to string one more superfluous strand of lights, or prop up a giant snowman in the yard, then, yes, he ought to be ashamed.
However, if the only real damage being done is putting a little more moola into Georgia Powers pockets, wheres the harm? I can see no problem with occasionally being a tad bit silly and exuberant with our celebrations; there are tears enough in life, both behind us and yet to come.
Im joyfully moved, for example, by my across-the-street neighbors and their brave and brilliant efforts each year to spread some seasonal cheer. Four houses especially put forth such exertion to brighten the night, people sometimes park in my field to extend their viewing time. These folks have thousands of lights, multiple manger scenes, reindeer, elves, swags, and bows on every surface that will hold a nail or staple.
And I think what every little bulb says to my heart, and perhaps the hearts of others, is hang on when theres too little money and too many sorrows, when all your hopes seem to rest on trembling ground, and the worries of daily struggles cast shadows on the joy of the season.
When I was a little girl, one of my very favorite books was a collection of 365 bedtime stories occurring on What-A-Jolly Street, a fictional extended cul-de-sac, where the biggest dilemmas involved tangled kites or fallen ice cream cones. I loved this settings simplicity and safeness. I cherished the fact that the cold, cruel world wasnt allowed into this micro-community, for it was practically self-sufficient with a corner store, and even a loving, grandmotherly resident at the end of the circle.
But much like the moral of the recently aired satirical commercial portraying the town of Perfect, with every passing year, Ive definitely learned most of life is neither jolly nor ideal.
So, because of this often dismal reality we all must endure, I strongly believe that once in a while its OK to splurge, to pretend, to forget all the troubles that plague us for a few short weeks and trust that things will be better. And Im proud of those courageous souls who try year after year to show their spirit, and illuminate the long and winding road. For when we really consider everything all in all, wasnt it another glorious Light in the darkness that first showed us the way so very long ago?
(Mindy Jeffers is a Martinez resident.)
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