OPINION COLUMNS

Not letting Grinch damper spirits

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, December 6, 2017
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A few years ago in another small community, I got a call from a school administrator about vandals striking his home and destroying his Christmas display.

While interviewing him, he expressed his dismay about vandals kicking over his nativity scene, including kicking baby Jesus in the head.

He wasn’t the only one visited that night by a Grinch. The man that played Santa Claus in the town and had the most elaborate display with many custom, handmade fixtures was also hit by the vandals.

I can still recall his anger and dismay, but he was determined not to let them steal the joy of the season. He put out even more lights the next year.

Over the years, I’ve tried my hand at becoming a master of exterior illumination. Each year the display get a little bigger and brighter with more lights. The biggest Grinch I had fought was Mother Nature, who decided to blow down several items in my yard on the night of the neighborhood Christmas lights contest.

That changed in recent weeks.

With the unseasonably warm weather, I started putting out lights a little earlier than usual, the weekend before Thanksgiving. Along with getting a few extra days of twinkling lights, I got a little help from my nephews.

On the night before Thanksgiving, I noticed one strand of lights was cut in half, knocking out the rest of my lights lining the yard. I was puzzled by the wires being cut but didn’t think too much about it and just replaced it.

The next day when I turned on my lights to show my brother, the new strand was cut in nearly the exact same spot. A nephew suggested that a rabbit had possibly chewed through the lines. I found a few stories about incidents of that happening and was ready to buy it, though my wife wasn’t convinced.

Saturday morning after covering the final football game of the season, I came home to find several lights out again. Sunday when I went to figure out what was wrong, again the wires were cut in two.

As I was working to change out the lights again, an officer stopped and asked me about it. A neighbor down the street, who reported vandals cutting wires to his lights, suggested he talk to me after seeing my lights out.

I showed the officer the lights, and he immediately responded they’d been cut with a knife. So, I got to do something new and file my first police report for Christmas. It didn’t bring tidings of joy.

I have no clue who our neighborhood Grinch is or why they would do this. Is it just doing hoodrat things with their friends or do they just not like Christmas lights?

But I’m determined to not let the Grinch steal the joy of the season. I still have several boxes of lights to do something with. Maybe with more lights I can make their hearts grow, and they can enjoy the season.

Richard Greene is assistant editor of the Messenger.

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