The Most Lit-Up House In Town
2007-12-06, 10:29 p.m.
Jette's entry got me thinking about our local version. Which is to say, my hometown local version.
I always wanted to have one of Those Houses, where people deliberately drove by to see your place. Alas, my dad was 100% NOT in favor of this, especially given the electricity bill. Truth be told, Dad would get in such a ragingly bad mood (he sounded like the guy in this song, but with more F-bombs) putting up just a string of lights and the occasional star and/or reindeer on the house, that having him put up more than that would have just been ugly. Now that I'm all old and mature and crap, I do see that that sort of thing is way too much work for me to pull off. But I admire those that do, and I get sad when all the lights turn back off in January every year.
Our version of Al Copeland is Deacon Dave and his house, Casa del Pomba. It gets the suburban equivalent of Al's, as the neighborhood he lives in gets awfully hard to park in during December, and the line to walk through his front yard can go to the end of the block. Happily for Deacon Dave, I've never heard much in the way of complain or lawsuits coming from his neighbors so far.
He's got a big lot, on which he's got various buildings, a waterfall, a dove house, etc., etc., and you can walk through his driveway and see whatever displays he's got in the buildings that year. Then you pass by his front windows, which usually trains, buildings, and trees lit up inside, throw a coin in the fountain by the door (or the waterfall when you cross the bridge), and most of the time, the Deacon's there to say hello to you. Then you check out what he's done by the waterfall, cross the cute little footbridge, and say hi to the doves as you leave. There's also a giant light-up dove on the roof. Usually the themes seem to alternate between Santa-related and Jesus-related. He's got a team of volunteers and the whole thing is free. (He won't tell you how much his PG&E bill is unless you're volunteering to pay it.)
We used to have a few other houses in town that decorated in pretty big style. One house already had some kind of mesh fence going across the entire top of it, so they'd have a lit-up scene involving animals going on behind it, which you could check out on the way to Casa del Pomba. And another house had its own thing by setting up something like 6-7 large turntables in their (relatively small!) front yard, and putting those animated animals you see sold in certain stores on the various turntables. One house (still existing) has a bunch of light-up reindeer in the yard, some of which move.
There's one house that we pass by on the way into town that doesn't do a light display, but does a show of their own. They have four wicker reindeer- Mommy, Dadddy, two babies- and the reindeer run around every day. Every time you drive by, the reindeer are in different positions. On January 1, they always are running back to the house. It's so cute, and one of the things I miss about living in the old burg during December is getting to see that every day. I hardly ever pass that house in daylight any more on the week that I'm back in town, so it's a rare sighting for me now.
When I was a senior in high school and briefly (for a semester) on the school newspaper staff, I got the bright idea to write an article on where the best Christmas tree lights were. Unfortunately, given the school's publishing schedule, this meant that I had to do the work on my article and have it in by...the end of October. I tried to write from memory as to where the cool places were, but by the time my article came out, a lot of them stopped putting displays up. It was a bummer.
I find it pretty disappointing that there's no equivalent to Casa del Pomba here, as hardly anyone actually puts lights up at all, much less on this scale. In 2001 after I'd just gotten laid off from the newspaper, one of the guys whose job it was to judge the various light displays in town took me around to see the local sights. And...they were no Casa del Pomba. Not a lot of entries, not a lot to see at those houses. Pretty sad, really.
At least I can still look forward to trying to squeeze in a visit to Casa del Pomba every year, though, even if sometimes we do it at the dead last minute.