Last Sunday, I went back to my hometown for the first time since my dad's estate auction, which was in early October. Although my sisters and I ended up with lots of heirlooms and treasures, it was a bittersweet weekend as we watched the rest of our family's things sold to the highest bidder. And then, two days later, we signed closing papers to sell the house our parents built in 1948. No one else had ever lived there; just us Martins. Even though we are thankful the house didn't sit on the market for months or years, it all happened very fast, making it difficult to accept the reality that the house now belongs to another family. In my mind, it's all still there - the house filled with Mom and Dad's things - just like it always was.
But alas, life's certainties not only include death and taxes, but change as well. Us three Martin girls are trying our best to accept the inevitability of losing our parents and the realization that we're now officially middle-aged! Both of these circumstances have brought a boatload of changes and challenges into our lives.
Thus, I was delighted to find one thing that hadn't changed when I made it back to Union last Sunday evening. The Christmas lights were still there!
They are the most magical lights anywhere, I'm convinced. I've not traveled much during the holidays, but even in movies and such, I don't remember seeing lights like these anywhere else. The concept is simple: just strings of regular-size colored light bulbs, hung in a zigzag design over the entire length of Main Street.
Capturing the effect of this colorful display with my camera has been quite a challenge. Someday I hope I can do them justice, but hopefully you can get the idea.
When I saw them, the childhood Christmas memories came flooding back, and it felt good, very good indeed, to be home at Christmas time.
Update: Well, apparently this style of Christmas lights was very common back in the day! I've heard from several people who also remember these same lights from their childhood. I'm so glad my hometown of Union, West Virginia hasn't abandoned them for more modern decorations.