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Jesus and Santa Meet on the Lawn

Feb 5, 1998
Kimmy Sophia Brown
The new year is hours away as I write. People are home from work, preparing to go out and carouse, or stay home for a quiet evening of resolution writing. I drive through our middle class neighborhood past the school kids on break playing street hockey on roller blades. It's not cold enough here for ice skates, yet they are bundled in jackets and colorful ski caps. I see sad, discarded Christmas trees lying naked and dry near garbage cans, an overlooked ornament or two entangled in their branches. Mine is at home, a do it yourself fire hazard that I must reluctantly recycle through the woodstove soon.

Next year I want to buy a Christmas tree with roots and just let it grow in my living room for months until I can plant it outside. Maybe someday I will build a house around a tree, with a permanent hole in the roof so I never have to take it down. Then I'll decorate it for each season. A Valentine tree with hearts. A St. Patrick's Day tree with shamrocks and snakes. An Easter tree with colored eggs. An Arbor Day tree with little, bitty trees. An Independence Day tree with flags and firecrackers. (Another fire hazard.) A Thanksgiving tree with little turkeys, pilgrims and Indians. A Boxer Day tree with boxer shorts. A New Year's tree with old men and babies on it. I think a tree with decorations makes a home cozy.

A couple of years ago we decided to drive through wealthy neighborhoods to see the elegant Christmas decorations. I anticipated richly colored, beautifully landscaped, ornate decorations like opera scenery. Like Rockefeller center in New York. Thirty-foot trees decorated like the White House lawn or the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Instead, we drove down stately street after stately quiet street, with an occasional wreath or solemn white candle in the window. Basically nothing. I was amazed.

In my neighborhood they pour it on. The neighborhood which is very unimpressive in the daylight becomes transformed after dark. The outline of development housing, alike and boring by day, is sugar coated and twinkling at night. There are shining webs of light on front yard trees. Houses are outlined in flashing, Las Vegas style neon. Fence posts, doorways, garages and windows are blinking madly. And talk about non-discriminating! I can think of a dozen houses nearby that have plastic illuminated statues of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, with Santa Claus, the eight reindeer and Frosty the Snowman standing shotgun with the Three Wise Men, like a loosely organized glee club. Snap, crackle and pop!

There are those that take offense at the gaudy, tasteless glitz. One man's grandeur is another man's garbage. I think it's all in the M.O. If stringing up a bunch of lights and mismatched icons gets a man's heart in the spirit, what's wrong with that? I get a lot more joy driving through poorer neighborhoods sparkling with color against the drab suburban existence, than driving by manicured, tasteful estates shrouded in isolation and silence.

This week I'll take down the Christmas tree and vacuum up the dry needles. I'll take down the lights and put away the decorations. In attics and garages all over my neighborhood, plastic lawn statues of Jesus and Santa will be stored, rubbing noses in the dark. I guess as long as the bottom line of the season is love, I don't think Jesus will mind.

Kimmy Sophia Brown has loved humor and music and freedom for as long as she can remember.She is especially passionate about the environment and caring for animals.

She writes the column "From the Back Porch" as well as reviews of music in her column "MusicViews". Her goal in her music reviews is to introduce music she loves to people who may not have heard that particular artist or CD. For information about how to submit a CD for review, click here.

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