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Let there be light(s)Posted Saturday, November 27, 2010, at 6:44 PM
Since I was a child, I've always loved the look of a single candle in each window of a house for Christmas. It's an elegant look, but very homey at the same time. It's warm and inviting and sophisticated, but simple.
But, of course, nothing is ever as simple as it sounds.
Our house has five windows that face the street, so when I moved to Marshall, I bought five lights, one for each window. Because I didn't pay much attention to how the candles produced their light, it wasn't until I opened the boxes that I discovered the lights I purchased had long electric cords. And since not every window had a wall plug nearby, the lovely effect of the lights was marred somewhat by the need to turn the lights on, and then off, each night. And the weight of the long cords made the lights themselves unstable, so they had to be taped to the windowsills.
But they were very pretty.
After a year or two of taping candles to windowsills, and tripping occasionally on long electric cords, I discovered battery-powered lights.
That worked reasonably well, but they still had to be turned on every evening and off again at bedtime. Maybe I'm lazy, but I would sometimes forget to turn them on and then forget to turn them off, wasting the batteries. A little less of a pain in the neck than the electric lights, but still not ideal.
But they were very pretty, too.
And then this year, I discovered battery-powered lights that, once activated, turned themselves on for eight hours and then off for 16 hours. Perfect, I thought. Set it and forget it.
I ordered the lights as soon as I saw them. This time, instead of a solo candle, there was a trio of lights, the one in the center a little taller than the other two. Hmmm, I thought, that looks three times as pretty.
As soon as the lights arrived two week later, I eagerly dove into the boxes and pulled them all out. That was when I realized that each single candle required two batteries. And since I ordered five sets of three, simple math revealed I would need 30 batteries to get these little beauties going. One trip to Walmart and $12 later, the batteries were in place.
I screwed all the bulbs into their sockets, wrestled with the window blinds so they would all stay up EVENLY, and put the candles on the five windowsills, three in the living room and one in each of two bedrooms.
Because it was still daylight, it would be a few hours before the final call could be made on sophistication, elegance and simplicity.
Which meant that I fidgeted for a few hours, as little children do on Halloween, willing the sun to go down faster. As soon as the sun began to fade, I walked outside to see how they looked.
I was delighted with the effect and mentally high-fived myself. I was still patting myself on the back right up until my husband came home about 30 minutes later.
"I thought you were going to put lights in all the windows," he said as he walked through the door.
"I did," I told him. "Didn't you see how pretty they look?"
"Oh. Uh, well, you can't see the ones in the living room from the street. The porch railing is in the way, just like every other year."
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Kathy Fairchild received a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration in 1986 from Marycrest College, Davenport, Iowa. She is also a 2003 graduate of the paralegal program at New York University. She moved to Marshall in 2006, following a career of more than 30 years with the world's largest farm equipment manufacturer. She is an Air Force brat and grandmother of four.