By Kim Winslow
Three nights ago, my husband and I walked around our neighborhood looking for Christmas lights. We were still eating turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving, so most people had yet to decorate for Christmas, nonetheless, we were rewarded by multiple homes lit with holiday lights. First, I have to say that my spouse Billy really loves it when people decorate their homes for the holidays. He doesn't care whether the lights are white, colored, streaming, sparkling, or chasing each other around like children on a playground. It does not matter if the displays are elegant or tacky. He is okay with mixed metaphors, a Charlie Brown blowup next to Rudolph display is perfectly fine with him. I wish I could say I am the same. I prefer a little order with my decorations, a clear message or theme.
As we passed one house, my husband exclaimed,”Wow.” I pointed and said, “Are you talking about that house?!” Around the home and on all the bushes were a multitude of heavenly lights that sent off choruses of Hallelujah in his head, while at the same time just giving me a headache.
“Billy, it looks like a hyperactive 10 year old boy put out the lights. They are just everywhere, with no rhyme or reason.”
He replies, “I know, they are awesome!”
First, I taught writing to a lot of ten-year-old hyperactive boys, and the boys were awesome, but what was not usually awesome was their first attempt at writing (actually, whose first attempt is?). While I often praised their ability to write so many words in such a small length of time, I would then suggest ways that they might add structure or strengthen their theme.
I resisted the urge to knock on the door of the offending random-lights house to offer suggestions on a more pleasing light display.
A few minutes later we passed a house with just one small string of lights going down their steps.
I asked Billy, “How do you like that display?”
He replied, “I like it, they tried.’’
In the end, no matter what you do, it will make someone, like my husband, happy. Ultimately, it is only important that you enjoy the creative process and the results; it is like the song written by Jimmy Durante:
Make someone happy,
Make just someone happy,
And you will be happy, too