”You can see it from space!” Kirby complained about his next-door neighbor’s Christmas lawn display. In his living room, at 9 p.m., with the curtains drawn and the lights off, it was as bright as daylight. The only difference was that daylight doesn’t twinkle and blink in different colors.
”Did you see the six wise men?” he asked.
”I thought there were only three wise men,” I said. “And I thought people were smaller back then. These guys are 2 feet taller than I am. I thought maybe they were the three wise men’s bodyguards.”
”It started out with three — until another three went on sale right after Christmas last year. Next year there may be nine. Who knows? And what did you think of their camel train?”
”Is that what that is supposed to be? I thought they were creatures from ‘Star Wars.’ I wondered what that had to do with Christmas.”
Normally, I like Christmas lights. It gets dark so early in the winter that it’s cheery to see the outlines of houses, the multicolored lights in the shrubberies, a rolly-polly Santa waving at me as I drive through town in the evening. As ever, some people do more decorating than others and some are more tasteful than others but this — this was what Liberace would have done if he had had the money.
”Did you see the manger?”
”No, but I liked that big cutaway of the Mall of America. You could park a car in it. What does that represent?”
”That’s the creche. Didn’t you see the holy family gathered around a T-shirt display in a Gap store on level 2B while shop clerks gathered around to celebrate the blessed event?”
”Well, shop clerks are kind of like shepherds.”