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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Getting Lit in the Valley…

Just a week before Christmas. I thought I’Christmas goose a'glowd drive out in the Valley to check its Christmas Spirit Quotient (CSQ). CSQ is a mathematical measurement that assesses a family’s holiday involvement by the number of strands of lights they drape over their homes and landscapes. Those who are swept up by the season express their enthusiasm by letting their lights shine; their houses become beacons of Christmas spirit. But it’s the quantity of “exterior illumination” that makes the statement. In my opinion a candle or two in a window or a wreath slapped on the door doesn’t really reflect much in the way of holiday cheer.

Not only does the seasonal lights fantastic signify traditional involvement, but it is a multi-colored indicator of the indomitable will of the exterior illuminator: the challenge of light strands of Christmases past. You know what I mean; we’ve all been there before. You drag the birdnests and snarls of holiday lights out of storage. Cautiously you test them first: plug ‘em in and they glow cheerfully back at you. Then up the ladder you go, lights trailing behind you, string and position each strand, each bulb strategically. Off to the power switch you go: you want to admire your efforts. Except that now the lights don’t work. You jiggle the wires, fiddle with a bulb or two, hoping against hope there’s a loose connection somewhere. Even consider for a brief moment (very brief)  going through the entire strand switching out each bulb with a functioning one. Ah, the triumph of hope over experience. Ben Franklin never had this much trouble getting his kite and key to spark. But there’s nothing left to do but hit the road for Freddies: Fred Meyers and China, my two favorite charities this time of year. After all, it’s the season for giving, isn’t it?

I know there’s that tree blazing away in the parlor, a strand of lights or two over a doorway, around a window, up a doorframe. But that’s for family, folks. What about the neighbors? What about all the tourists out in our Valley at night? Spirit-- let’s show ‘em what Christmas material we’re made of.

Christmas spirit here in the Valley? Let me tell you about Jerald and Tina Streutker. This from the Ripple’s Christmas archives. Jerald and Tina not only had that spectacular tree in their corner window but always addressed the season with fully illuminated eaves. Now if you’ve followed my blog, you know about Streutkers’ cement goose. (Take a gander at the April 1st post; the “Goose for all Seasons,” we called him.) It was this time of year I sent them a Christmas card and jokingly remarked, “Your place looks great but you need to light up that goose.” Two days later—a card from the Streutkers with the brief comment: “The goose is lit.” And indeed it was, sure enough, his neck wreathed in lights. Now that’s holiday spirit, folks. Go thou and do likewise.

As of this post, here’s my assessment of the Valley’s CSQ. New folks on Christianson Rd and Tualco: nice wreath. Brett and Megan, your first Christmas tree as a married couple is a tribute to Jerald and Tina’s living room tree but hang some lights on those eaves; the house deserves it. Tony Broer: so happy to see your illuminated eaves, but you need to replace those dead bulbs. Werkhovens, as usual, have lit up their stretch of Valley.

JW's place 


AW's placeFine display there, Jim and that upgrade to LED icicle strands really stands out this year. But I’m still not seeing a color wheel splashing up any colors on that aluminum tree.

Back on the upper loop stretch there’s a nice display on that house where the guy used to raise chickens. And Beebes’ spread. Wow! Looks like the Oasis of the Seas cruise ship has harbored in the Valley. And the driveway looks like a Christmas promenade. Dazzling Driveway Kudos to your efforts. If I’m any judge of CSQ, the award goes to your display this year.

And Ed? I had high hopes for your place this season. I have to admit, I had my doubts about this year’s display. Two or three times I’ve noticed a strand of lights partially hanging from the eaves and wondered if they would ever make their way up the South Face. But Ed’s come through, finally, for this dark  morning I look out across the Valley and I see an illuminated “V”glowing off to the west. Ed has finally “peaked” out. That strand has climbed its way up and down the eaves of his house. Ah, good! Lit at last!Ed's Lit

But the barn, Ed? No lights on that grand old barn this year? Light up that barn, and you light up the Valley. The CSQ Valley prize could be yours, Ed. You only have to go for it. The Ripple's contribution

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  1. I really must ask Jim and Dolores if they really have an aluminum tree! They have alsways had the real thing. I don't think they are old enough for aluminum, yet!

  2. Well, maybe it's a silver fir-but she looks metallic to me. Besides,everything's retro these days. TJ

  3. I told a good friend who happens to own an aluminum tree with the infamous color wheel that you want her tree! Though...Mom says no. That Mom of mine. ;) I'm glad to see the Valley is in the Christmas spirit. Wedgwood has a fair amount of well-lit homes. However, Hanukkah was the holiday to see lights in this neighborhood. From paper Menorahs to the real thing. It's apparent that Wedgwood's Festival of Lights is celebrated in a less 'electric' way. :)

  4. I look out in the Valley this Christmas night and see that Ed's big barn is now adorned with exterior illumination. Upped your ante, eh, Ed? There has to be a deadline,though, I think. The Valley's Oasis of the Seas has to take the prize this year on that technicality. But thanks for making the Valley a brighter place for us all. TJ