December 27, 2011 10:45:00 AM
Dear Mr. Imes,
I just finished reading your article, "The spirit of Christmas lights" in today's paper. I always read and enjoy your articles. However, today I was disappointed by a remark that a friend of yours made about the lights on the house across from (and what will be again) Cal-City Grocery in Caledonia. Your friend thinks the display of lights is "ridiculous." I imagine there may be others that feels the same way your friend feels.
I live several houses down from that house your friend is referring too. I know the couple that lives in that house. They are our friends. I feel that people are so judgmental in today's world without knowing the facts behind what they are judging. That is what has prompted me to write this letter to you.
This couple has always decorated their home and their yard with many, many different colored lights and whimsical blowups of characters that children love. I mentioned children didn't I?
This couple has no children nor grandchildren that they put up all of these decorations for children and others to enjoy. He decorates because he is a kid at heart. He does it for our grandchildren to enjoy looking at. He does it for everyone to enjoy. He does it because this is his gift to us, to bring a smile to our face and smiles to the children that see it all lit up at night. He does it because his wife has Alzheimer and this will more than likely be the last Christmas he will get to spend with her at home.
Night after night many vehicles ride by that house and stop in the street so that the children can see all of the blowups and lights in the yard and Santa and his reindeer on the roof top. From my house I can see all of the flashes from cameras where people are taking pictures of this magical gift from this couple to everyone who sees it. It is a selfless gesture that our neighbor does for all to enjoy. It is truly sad that some find it ridiculous.
Before I close this letter off, I would like to say that this couple can afford to hire a professional to come and decorate their home and their yard, but he chooses to do it himself. If any of you have ever done a lot of decorating, you know how time consuming it is. I appreciate what each person does to spread the holiday spirit so that all of us can have a Merry Christmas.
Thank you Mr. Imes for letting me get this off of my chest and express my gratitude to each person that decorates their home whether it be a candle in the window or thousands of cheerful lights.
Merry Christmas to you and your family,
Birney Imes replies: The comment was meant as the highest compliment, and I'm sorry it was interpreted in any way but admiration. Throughout the years we've applauded and encouraged Christmas light displays, from the modest to the extravagant. I hope your neighbor will leave his lights up this week so those who haven't, and wish to do so, may go to Caledonia to enjoy.