Sunday, December 22, 2019

Light Christmas

The whole thing started about a month or so ago when a notice popped up on the Park Place Historic Neighborhood site on Facebook. It came from the Lexington Parks and Recreation Department promoting its inaugural "Light Up the Block" Christmas contest, in which individual houses – or even entire city blocks – would be judged by their decorating skills.

It sounded like it could be fun, and it was all voluntary. All you had to do was register with Parks and Recreation.

The original Facebook post that I saw included some prompting by my neighbor, Kristi Thornhill, who wrote "Let's do this!"

But the days ticked by. No more thought was given to the project. I didn't hear anything more about this and, as the registration deadline approached, I thought the whole idea would die on the vine.

This is nice. I never saw this coming...
"Well, what the heck," I thought, and went to the Rec department to find out more about this project. I ran into Tammy Curry, the contact person behind the contest, who told me if I wanted to register our block, I had to get the name, phone number and email address of each participating resident. She gave me some flyers with the contest particulars and suggested I slip them into mailboxes or door frames.

This was already becoming more work than I wanted to do.

Tammy told me our block could register by email, but I'm old school and went the extra step: I went to all eight houses on our block, flyer in hand, knocked on doors and explained to each neighbor what I was doing. My pitch was that we were going to decorate our houses anyway, what could it hurt?

Fortunately, I'm on pretty good terms with my neighbors. I return all the tools that I borrow from them, we keep their mail for them when they go on vacation, or we roll out their trash containers, water their gardens or even cut their grass when they can't. Stuff like that.

So they all agreed to do this. We were registered as a block.

I really didn't think anything would come of this. I mean, there are any number of wonderful neighborhoods within the city limits, so I really didn't give us much of a chance.

But the other day, I happened to look out my front window. A white van pulled up and two people got out. They started hammering signs into a couple of the yards. I went out to look.

Oh my gosh. We were designated as the Best Block in the Light Up the Block contest. It also featured a house that was deemed as most unique (two awards!). One of the people hammering those signs into the ground was Tammy herself. She thanked me for registering our block and asked me if we'd driven around town at all to look at the other lights.

"Not really," I said.

"Well, you were the best block, by far," said Tammy. "It's great to drive down the street. Thanks for participating."

That night, I took another look at our neighborhood. We're not exactly McAdenville, but we're not bad, either. Lighted Christmas balls decorate several trees; a couple of Moravian stars hang from porch ceilings; candles are in almost every window, and strings of lights outline eaves and walkways on a couple of houses. It's a feast for the eyes.

We might have to step up our game next year.

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