The First Leon (Noel backwards)

When we lived on Cherokee Rd. we were the first house built in the area. Our house was on a  curved road surrounded by fields. In December, mom would pick me and Chelle up from Grandma’s in December. We would drive around town looking at the lights and decorations. We would arrive home after dark. She would pull up the driveway and as the garage door slowly opened, it was my job to get the mail.

This sounds so easy.

It wasn’t.

It was dark and cold and windy. I would run down the driveway, grab the door of the mailbox, snatch the mail, slam the box shut and scramble up the icy driveway back to the house. In my child’s mind, something in that cold wind was “gonna get me”. 

Sometimes though, when it wasn’t as cold, or maybe not so windy, or perhaps a bit closer to Christmas, I would look at the bright stars overhead and debate whether or not Santa existed. I knew that he didn’t (intellectually) but I also hoped that the snow we had for Thanksgiving would stick around long enough to show Santa’s sleigh tracks when he visited. (I remember searching the thin snow in the yard one year and determining that there were definitely NO sleigh tracks.)

As an adult, I’m not sure why I thought the sleigh would land in the yard, not on the roof as in the stories. But anyway…

The other day, Aubrey noticed that the city had just hung holiday lights the snowflake motif looks beautiful with scrolly swirls and lights. These lights are so much better than when the lighted banner greeted people as they entered the town with “LEON”. My dad loved to point out the backward NOEL whenever we drove beneath the sign.

As a child, I remember cold, cold days leading up to Christmas and hoping that we would have snow. Sometimes we did…usually, actually.

Though the cold is what I really remember. 

And trees.

Mom loved/loves Christmas trees. 

We always had a beautiful tree in the basement family room and Chelle and I had little trees in our rooms. Our trees were color-coordinated with our rooms. Mine was pink, green, and white. Little bows of polka-dotted ribbon made my tree festive–if not intolerably girly-girl. But the best part was the lights. I loved the soft glow of the tree in my room through the weeks of December and January.

Mom always chose to decorate the outside of the house with colored spotlights, wreaths, and strings of lights on the coldest evening before Christmas.

But I didn’t ever help. I had already done my bit for the family…running down the driveway, with the wind chasing me after I got the mail.

Who is Lisa

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