The Neighbors December 2019
Evelyn and I closed escrow on the Greeley house in late September. I think it was probably the 27th. On October 3rd, just a week later, we noticed our neighbors putting up Christmas lights. While the kids were trick-or-treating on the 31st, I looked over and the neighbors were still working on the lights. We Conaways had not even started on ours yet.
On November 10th, a journalist showed up and wanted to interview us. We had no idea why. Oh, if we had only known then what we know now. Our first hint should’ve been the fire department’s hook and ladder truck, the one with the 70 foot ladder, that showed up on November 1st. From the bucket at the end of the ladder they put the star on top of the 50-foot-tall Christmas tree in the backyard. They then worked their way down with about 250 feet of multicolored lights, which only decorated the backyard tree.
On November 12th, they started testing the coordination of the music and the lights. I don’t think that 100,000 bulbs would be an over estimate of the number involved. Finally the big sign went up – the “Greeley Griswolds.” There was nothing in our HOA or contract disclosure about any of this.
I wonder whether we would have bought the house if we had known the breadth of the physical aspects of all this decorating. The show lit up on Thanksgiving weekend’s Friday night. We tried blackout drapes in our kids’ rooms on that side of the house, but it wasn’t enough. We finally used duct tape and aluminum foil to black out what seemed like pulsating, radioactive waves coming through the windows.
I have to tell you, everything change for us on December 2nd, when we saw something we never expected. We heard the whoosh of airbrakes as a bus pulled up in front of the neighbors. Sixty kids from a local orphanage came piling out and the energy of their excitement was more powerful than the 100,000 lights.
We have been here for five years now and the biggest impact was on our children. One night walking by their bedroom, we saw flashes of light coming from under the door. Opening it, we saw that they had peeled back a corner of the aluminum foil and we’re standing transfixed by the show at the neighbor’s house. We took the foil down and they slept through the night. I can only imagine how very vivid the dreams must be for the orphan children and for our own.
Merry Christmas to each and every one of you.