The blasting windstorm of three nights ago smashed my canyon garden. All around me, primrose and poinsettia lay on my drive. Rolling up my sleeves, I fished my Christmas decorations from my neighbor’s bushes, walked up the cul-de-sac above my house to see the destruction was the same. Street after street palm fronds and branches thrown to the gutter making for a long tassel for our foothill mountain.
Around the corner I saw the pale yellow house where all was calm. A giant rock of a house built circa 1916, built to outlast a firestorm, Christmas was still on. Out on the lawn still stood inflatable Mr. and Mrs. Santas, elves, snow globes, and toy soldiers. Ornaments that replaced last week’s pumped up pumpkins, air turkey, and, earlier this year’s Easter Bunny, leprechaun and ‘ye ol’ pots o’ gold.’
To each his own I figured. The people of the ‘yello-phant’ must just keep a close eye on the holiday calendar. A house calendar that spurred me forward as I sped past and watched the owner’s keep up with the holiday paces. By December 1st, I knew from every uncurtained window behind the unhedged fence the stilled parade of Christmas would begin. Electric candles, faux pine wreaths and trees, and streamers just the beginning. Porch grotesques would be coordinated with stiff rainbows out on the lawn, pinwheels that sparkled and talked would be jammed into the pots of summer’s plastic geraniums.
Year-round rip stop nylon that swayed drunk most evenings I drove by. Holiday stuff that wouldn’t cheer forever. By morning, across the grass lay the body of evidence, the ugly un-inflated that hid in plain sight.
Could I call the cops on the mayhem mid-September still on my mind? My memory of the two grey bulbous figures pulsating with ballooning infants on the porch as my car idled at the corner stop sign while I tried to figure the scene out. Oh, yes, Grandparents Day was upon us.
I wondered where the owners kept the stuff. I admired their archiving. My stuff barometer at full tilt at home. The accumulation of which I began to hate the keeping of, the remembering where I put it, the plastication stuffified days seeping into my consciousness. A simple orange and pine garland sounded so fresh and plenty enough. Maybe a simple bay wreath from the yard. Holly, willow, olive, boxwood for the mantle.
Anyway, Valentine’s Day would be here soon enough. A time for love, a time for change. I tried to remember last year’s display at the corner house. Oh yes, pink hearts, gushing cupids, arrows, trumpets, a day maybe to make a peace sign with hearts and flowers, a kid chain out of crayons and paper, and drive down a different road.