Part One Was Published on November 30th Blog
The signs of Christmas began slowly appearing all around Emma’s little town. Though the weather remained cold—damp—down right bone chilling, the townsfolk, as those that lived within the boundaries of the tiny borough were called, seemed determined to decorate the streets and businesses. The decorating began slowly, but with each strand of lights hung the spirit became contagious for almost the entire town.
The two main streets of the town’s narrow streets had strings of Christmas lights of every color strung from light pole to light pole. Money was tight since this was long before the time of taxation of every purchase and inch of ground to excess. In an effort to conserve, the lights were not placed directly from pole to pole across the street, instead were placed in a zig-zag pattern. Thus the dramatic effect of a brightly colored rainbow overhead with less lights and therefore less power needed. The greatest wonder to behold was the town’s water tank which was strung with lights up each leg and then a white star on the very top of the high tank. If not for the trees and the hilly terrain, it would have been visible for miles—instead you could only gaze upon the wonder as you drove down one of main streets. Emma loved that sight, but also wondered every year - who put those lights that high and what kept that star from flying off in the wind?
The businesses all decorated their windows and displays in the spirit of the holiday. The elaborateness of the decorations a sure sign of the prosperity of the store. A full range of schemes were used in the handful of stores, from mechanical Santa’s, Singing Angels, and such to the opposite extreme of a sparse spraying of artificial snow covering the bottom of the windows and perhaps a nod at a few strands of tinsel. The town was rural and the area was poor, but Christmas was coming for all-even there. Most of the locals never traveled far and had never seen the lights of the big city and the lavish extreme of the decorations. It was then with wonder that they all looked upon the town’s simple attempts-an elaborate scheme in the eye of the beholders.
Emma’s favorite part was the homes that were decorated—some only with trees brightly shining through front windows, but some of the homes in town also decorated the outside. You could see quite the array when riding through the town’s little neighborhoods. A shrub in the yard strung with lights round and round, a plastic Santa and reindeer waving a greeting, Frosty with his corncob pipe, angels with shining halos, and even windows lined in brightly colored lights. Dabs of bright lights and holiday cheer appeared on every street with the frame of black houses in the shadows between.
Emma’s favorite Christmas memories included her Daddy lining the roof of their house with multi-colored lights. Their home was a long rambling ranch style, so there seemed to be miles of lights in her memory’s eye. Those lights were only up during Christmas for a few short years and then only a Christmas tree with the front curtains left open for all to see. The inside of their home was different though with plenty of Christmas visible with decorations in every room. All in anticipation of the big day coming and all that it brought. There had been a day when the season was greeted with the blanket of good cheer wrapped in a holiday uniform of bright lights, glass balls, and snow covered logs.
On the top of Emma’s list, at the very tip top of her favorites, was her Aunt’s house which was always decorated with care. The best part of this wonder was as you drove up her long hidden drive. As you drove through those woods, your car lights would play upon all the elves that were all displayed. Swinging in the trees, working at their workbench, sawing down Christmas trees, they were everywhere with pointed shoes, long knit caps, and brightly colored suits and bells on their boots. The wishing well and plantation bell were trimmed with beautiful lights twirling through the ivy and there in a high tree top was a star directly over the baby Jesus in His manager. It was quite the sight to see and Emma went by every year to soak in the magic.
This year was different, Mama seemed to not be interested. Finally Emma asked could she just put up the tree. Mama did not seem to care—put it up or not-whatever you would like to do. Emma struggled to put up the tree and drag out the decorations to place on the branches. There was no help from Mama and not even a comment on the beauty. This Christmas would be different, it was plain to see, but Christmas was magical and surely the magic would appear once again. The year had been long and hard--but surely there was still magic in Christmas? Emma just had to believe!