December 8, 2012 6:08:23 PM
Ah! The holidays are finally here. All that shopping, wrapping, baking and cleaning are done. Now we can just sit back and enjoy our beautiful tree, sip a cup of nog, and bask in the glow of perfectly spaced lights, reflecting tiny star-shapes in the glittering ornaments.
Under the tree is a landscape of exquisitely wrapped gifts. It all looks like a photo from "Martha Stewart Living" or "Elle Décor."
If this is your reality, then I beg of you -- please jump up from your comfy sofa and rush right over here to give me a hand.
I haven't even begun to shop. This presents a real predicament because some of my gifts must be shipped all the way to my sister's family in Oregon. Thankfully, they are an understanding bunch. (Well, because they have to be.) Experience has made their expectations quite low. Every year I just get later, and later, with that pesky long-distance issue. These three are reasonably happy to receive New Year's gifts. In any case, it is fun to have something to unwrap after the big day.
My grapevine deer, meant to graze on the front lawn, have lost about half of the tiny white lights woven into their rustic bodies. This would be more problematic if they were actually in the yard. However, since they are still in an upstairs closet, I have had no comments or complaints from my more perfect neighbors.
In some ways, having no yard décor may be a good thing. I got into a bit of trouble with the Halloween demon-doll hanging from the huge oak tree. Really? What do you expect from someone who paints their house purple? Oh, I aim for political correctness. Really, I do. It's just that my aim is woefully off-target.
I do, however, have a lovely tree, thanks to my neighbor, "farmer" Greg. Every year, he goes to his property in Artesia and cuts us a beautiful, fragrant cedar. Although he lives right next door, and both of our houses were built around the same time (1910), Greg has no concept of the heights of our ceilings. He seems to be under the impression that we live in a home that rivals The White House for grandeur. He always brings us one that scrapes the ceiling. Our attempt at getting it in the stand is fodder for a hilarious comedy routine.
Here are two ideas for entrepreneurs:
n Hopeless clumsy folks like me would love a service that will set up the tree and untangle the lights, leaving the fun of decorating to the home's residents. There could be a take-down service, as well (for a hefty fee, of course).
n Will someone pleeeze design a better tree stand? The one we use is almost exactly like the one my parents fought with in the 1960s and '70s. There just has to be a better way.
Don't misunderstand me. I truly love Christmas -- especially other people's decorations. I always look forward to Birney's column on interesting yards in our area. Many thanks to all who decorate for strangers like me.
One of my goals is to make that list someday. Of course, it will be a bit difficult for anyone to view my half-lit deer in an upstairs closet. The Dispatch Driving Tour hasn't gone into that sort of detail -- yet.
All best wishes to my wonderful readers. I appreciate those who are perfect, and the flawed ones, like me. 'Tis the season for tolerance. To my friends who have finished the wrapping and baking and shopping I say: be kind to your inferior neighbors. Just think how good you look in comparison to the rest of us, and try not to judge the cobwebs draping the bottom rungs of my tables and chairs. Just consider them my attempt at an early start on Halloween décor, 2013.
Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.
4. A Stone's Throw: Beware COLUMNS