Letter #70: Lights: Colored or White?!

December 9, 2010

Dear childhood,

You were good to me and provided me with some hilarious memories. Between my bowl cut and tomboy phase to Super Mario Kart, four-square and the bus stop to having the biggest crush on my next door neighbor, you were a great and funny time in life.

One of my favorite memories from you deals with the above picture. When I drove home (yes, Shady B is officially home) after Thanksgiving, this is what I saw…multi-colored Christmas lights. Side note: I LOVE Christmas lights. One of my favorite Christmas traditions is driving around to look at them, especially ‘jankity (ghetto)’ ones. The tackier the better: better laughs. As much as I love jankety lights though, I’m a classic, clear lights kind of girl when it comes to my house. So, the Houston’s lights made me laugh.

Now, don’t get me wrong…Matt (my landlord), this isn’t me saying I don’t like the lights. I love the lights, but white lights are better! Let me explain:

Many years ago, 16 or 17 to be exact, I learned a great life lesson. I’m the baby of three girls, all very opinionated. My sisters and I wanted clear lights SO bad. We were sick of our colored lights. We wanted to be ‘classy.’ I didn’t have a clue what this meant, but I wanted to be my sisters so I went along with it. Every Christmas we asked for white lights, and every year we were shot down. We had perfectly good, working lights. So, we had lights, but they were not our favorite.

Christmas of ’92 or ’93 rolled around, and again, Jamie, Dana and I strolled out to assist Dad in putting the lights up. Upon arrival, Dad informed us, “Girls, we’re getting white lights this year.” Ecstatic yells filled the air. While celebrating (you’re not going to believe this),  Dad simply pulled out three rags and a bottle of paint thinner and told us to get to work. Yes, we were going to have new lights that Christmas, but not because we purchased them.

We worked for the rest of the day, removed rainbow schemed paint from each individual bulb, probably chucked a few at each other in the process, watched clear lights appear before us, screwed them in and put them up. That night when we lit our lights for the first time, we were the ‘classiest’ place in the cul-de-sac!

We thought Dad was crazy…he may have been. Looking back, I learned work ethic and the value of a dollar that day. Why replace perfectly good bulbs and light strands? I kid you not, I can remember changing burned out bulbs in high school and still seeing red paint remains. To this day, those same strands of lights are on my parents’ house (maybe that explains the short you’ve been experiencing Dad?!), and I now understand why.

This is a top five memory of you and top two Christmas memory. Thanks for starting me out right and getting me where I am today. You instilled work ethic in me as well as a love for lights. And, Houston’s, thanks for bringing this memory back to mind.

(Which do you like better: colored or white Christmas lights?)

Looking forward to perusing both ‘classy’ and ‘jankety’ lights again this year at 23,

Lover of your memories



  1. linds, you have officially given matt the idea! when the girls are old enough to realize they do not want a tacky multi-color lit christmas house…matt will simply pull out the paint thinner and tell them to get to work! they will thank you later…:)

  2. If I recall, Jamie and I did most of the work because you were still “the baby” of the family 🙂 It is also a great memory of mine, and I tell the story often too. I think it actually took two days to complete…wow, Dad was crazy! 🙂

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