My daughter Lainey is five years old and I love her. Continuing a family tradition, we recently drove around town to view Christmas decorations.
Once it was dark, I warmed up the Volkswagon and bundled the kids. Lainey rode in the backseat and ate doughnuts beside her sleeping brother, while my wife rode shotgun. The radio played Jingle Bell Rock.
“Go that way, dad!” Lainey called.
“Left or right?” I asked.
“Left!” Lainey said through a mouthful.
My wife awed as we cruised down our street, which appeared quite festive.
“Let’s go to the crazy house!” Lainey said.
“Hold on,” I assured her. “We’ll be there soon.”
We drove down Pleasant Street into Belmont, past Brighton Streeet, and gazed up at a spectacle.
“Look, Lainey!” my wife pointed. “On the right.”
“Wow!” Lainey gasped. “Turn around! Turn around!”
I doubled back to view the site again. Two neighboring homes were brightly lit, with "Happy Holidays" blaring on one wall, and lights strung up all around.
Next, we backtracked into Arlington and cruised the hills behind Blue Ribbon Bar-B-Q. Lainey gaped at the occasional inflated snowman, glowing reindeer, or icicle light string, while other blocks remained dark.
“This street’s a dud,” Lainey sighed.
“Almost there,” I said.
I drove up Lockland Avenue and turned right onto Gloucester Street. The family gasped.
“Crazy House! Crazy house!” Lainey cheered.
A two-family home was lit from top to bottom with different colored flashing lights and figurines. A large red marquee displayed days, hours, minutes and seconds until Christmas. An animatronic polar bear and penguins sang Christmas carols. This was by far the best house in town.
“Again!” Lainey called and we circled around the block to check it out once more.
We drove around an hour that night appreciating the lights, and when we returned home, our house seemed lackluster.
“Whoa!” I teased. “Look at those lights! Best house yet!”
“That’s our house, dad,” Lainey giggled.
A multi-colored string lit our porch and our tree shown though a window. A solid effort, but nothing compared to the masters. Maybe next year.