(Start at the beginning)
Noel’s Christmas – Tuesday, December 7th
“In Front of Dark Skies”
Noel and Nick stood in line to enter the Christmas lights walk-through in the woods next to Himm’s Chip Factory, just two towns away from home.
Himm’s was a family-owned snack foods business that owned a considerable chunk of land. On a portion of their property that had built an impressive snack food factory, continuing to build onto it as their business grew. The plot next to the factory was a wooded area that they owned and maintained for the sole purpose of transforming it into a Christmas lights wonderland during the holidays.
They had done this for 35 years and every year, the displays got just a bit more elaborate.
Paying the minimal ticket fee, Nick took Noel’s hand as they entered the first lighted area. And right away, she was awe-struck. The entrance was a corridor of bars that were bent into a U-shape and placed into the ground. From one bar to the next, strands of colorful lights were strung – creating a passageway for people to walk through.
Nick kept hold of her hand as he knew she would be looking up the whole time they were there and not paying attention to where other people were at. Before they got to the end of that corridor, he had stopped her from walking into the person in front of her several times.
This was a textbook example of: shiny object syndrome.
But Nick had to admit that he found himself sometimes staring in awe at how complex and creative some of the lights displays were. He also had appreciation for the amount of work that went into setting all of this up.
The woods had trees and bushes … nothing else. But instead of just winding strands around the trunks and limbs, they chose to dress the lights in such a manner as to suggest other shapes. For instance: one tree had lights all over it but also had additional lights dangling down from it that made the tree look like it was in the middle of a falling meteor shower.
One bush was decorated with lights to look like there were a dozen tall lily pads inside it. Other bushes depicted deer that were chasing each other. Some of the taller trees had lights strung into their branches that made it look like the tree had lightbulbs hanging from it.
And the wonders continued:
- a bush displaying a carousel with horses that moved up and down.
- a patch of trees that looked like exploding fireworks
- a patch of bushes that were decorated with lights to look like they were Christmas presents
Surrounding the perimeter of the woods and moving throughout was an animated rollercoaster car, complete with loop-de-loop animation … all of this down with strands of Christmas lights!
By the time they reached the center hub of the woods, Noel was a deer lost in the headlights … or, in this case, lost in the Christmas lights.
At that center hub was a huge stand of hot cocoa. But of course, it wasn’t just ordinary hot cocoa. There were several flavors of it, including: toasted marshmallow, gingerbread, peppermint and cinnamon amaretto flavors.
This got Noel thinking about unique hot cocoa she could make at home.
Heading back into the lights trail, they saw Tarzan swinging from one tree to another and then swinging back, a most impressive bit of animation that must have take dozens upon dozens of strands.
They saw numbered sheep jumping over a fence, a cow jumping over the moon, a swinging metronome, an airplane landing on a lit runway, a calliope and an American flag – seemingly fluttering in the wind.
Noel sipped her hot cocoa and then took Nick’s cup when hers was empty. She was captivated, her face beaming with an enormous smile from ear to ear. Oh, how happy she was.
But the one lights display that caught her attention and kept it, more so than anything else she had seen that night, was right at the end of the trail. On that side of the woods was a stream. And on the far side of the stream were trees that were strung to look like they were actually trees … no animation, no fanciness, no other shapes.
The reason why this caught her attention was because the Christmas lights were reflected in the waters of the stream.
And this brought tears to her eyes. Heading back to the car, she felt very affectionate and clung to her Daddy’s side – partially from the baby feeling she was likely experiencing and partially from the fact that she needed her diaper changed … hot chocolate burps being proof.
What Noel adored so very much about Christmas lights was how they depicted the shape of what they were wrapped around and how they were strung. And all of this taking place … in front of dark skies.
Continue on to Wednesday, December 8th