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DECEMBER 22, 2009   


Lights on bushes outsideIt was on yesterday's To-Do list, but I at least got started today. "It" would be putting up Christmas lights outside, something smart people do when the weather is nicer, like a few weekends ago, and I leave until a day or two before Christmas.

I used the LED lights I bought last year. Their intense bluish light is too cold-looking indoors, but seems nice strung through the bare branches of the forsythia bushes in front of the house. I think they'll look great covered with snow. Kind of discouraging, though, when two of the "long-life" bulbs didn't work this year.

Lights in Xmas tree branchesWe put the tree up today too, inching that event forward a bit from Christmas Eve. When the kids were little it was fun to surprise them on Christmas morning with the tree, something I remember from my childhood. We had a couple of near-panic years, though, when we almost couldn't find a tree to buy at that late date. Once the kids were old enough to know it wasn't really Santa who brought the tree, a wiser mom & dad opted to push its arrival up at least a day.

Funny thing about all that. As I recall we kept putting out cookies and milk for Santa long after anyone really believed in the jolly old elf. I think there was an unspoken agreement in the family that we keep that tiny bit of magic going, maybe because our rational world so desperately needs it.

Magic or lies

I also remember an earnest discussion many years back, probably before we had kids of our own, about whether to "lie" to them or not about Santa. The argument went something like "how will they believe anything you say if you lie about things like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny?"

I'm pretty sure we gave this serious thought back then, but opted for the "lies" because of how they seemed to have enriched our childhood without causing any noticeable bad effects. There may be things that I wish my parents had been more direct about, but Santa Claus wasn't one of them.

I do remember a painful day when I overheard my dad tell Uncle Whitey where he'd bought my train set, the one that Santa allegedly brought. I hated to admit it, but it confirmed my suspicion that this Santa thing wasn't all it was cracked up to be. As I remember my reaction, it wasn't so much disappointment that there was no Santa as it was disappointment that my dad had let the cat out of the bag. I would have believed a bit longer, but couldn't.

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Cuyahoga to Colorado


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