Versailles News: Christmas lights up memories


Our weather has been up and down a little this December but no one is complaining, unless it’s regarding having to mow their lawns one more time. Many of us are accustomed to seizing the warm weather days to hang our outside Christmas decorations so most people have their lights up by now. Even the procrastinators have been given a few perfect days this week to make it happen.

As I was checking which lights work and making the quick decision to discard the half lit strands I recalled Christmas lights of Christmas past. As a kid we had a box of Christmas lights that predated me. I remember the strands had metal clips (not plastic) at each socket so Dad could fasten them on our shrubs. Those lights always worked, we never had to throw them out, they were made to last.

As a kid I looked forward to helping Dad while he pulled the tangled light strands from an old storage box. Although I’m sure I was strictly a nuisance, he never made me feel like I was a hindrance. Dad always made handling those lights look easy as he untangled them, plugged the strands together, laid them out the length of the house, plugged an extension cord from the lights to the outlet, and then began fastening them on the shrubs. The lights revealed their age since many had the paint knocked off either due to constant untangling or perhaps the paint washed off after so many winters of freezing and thawing. I recall the lights were badly mismatched. There would be more red bulbs than blue and only a few green, white or amber bulbs which weren’t alternated well. In spots there would be four or five red lights in a row, but they were reliable.

When I purchased a house I bought large multicolored Christmas lights, like Dad had, and placed them on the gutters. I hung them for many years until my father fell sick in December of 1991. My lights were not mismatched, like Dad’s, the colors were perfectly balanced and I stored them on winding wheels after Christmas, instead of in a box, to avoid tangling. Dad passed in January 1992 and my lights were also laid to rest.

Over the years Christmas lights have gone through fads; the colored midgets, then clear, chaser or flashing lights, clear icicle lights, back to clear, then LED lights and it looks like multicolor lights are making a comeback. I now realize I learned much from observing Dad hang lights. I can now see the comparison of people to Christmas Lights. Like Christmas lights we are all connected, we start off perfect and balanced, we get knocked around, sometimes our colors fade or show wear, we must hang together even if some of us stop working there are always some of us that will shine brighter but we are all meant to shine, all too soon we become outdated, and if we aren’t reliable eventually we are replaceable.

I also discovered working with Christmas lights requires patience and perseverance. My Father, thankfully, had patience, had he grumbled every time he hung the lights I would have done so also, because we mimic our parents. Patience and perseverance have a magical effect of making difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish. And memories of Christmases past are forever kept within our hearts.

Upcoming events:

Monday, the fifth – sixth grade bands perform their Christmas Concert at 7 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center, followed by the junior high and high school bands at 8 p.m. Donations for the Versailles Food Pantry will be taken at the door.

Dec. 15 at 7 p.m., the third-grade students will present “A Christmas Carol” in the cafetorium.

Dec. 17 (and every Thursday through March) there is an open bid euchre tournament at the Vet’s Club (downstairs) starting at 7 p.m.

Dec. 19 at 1 p.m., Santa will be arriving at the Eagles. All the area children are invited to visit with Santa.

New Year’s Eve the Vet’s Club will be offering dancing and karaoke with a traditional meal at the start of the new year. This event is open to the public for singles and couples.

Happy birthday to Kenia McEldowney, Naomi Bemis, Rick Jones and Toby Potter (18), Annie Francis, Hannah Carter, Debbie Francis, Chloe Buschur, Julia Kremer, Marlene Schlater, Wanda Monnin, Joe Ruschau, Maggie Knapke, Ryan Rose, Larry Prenger, Jason Marchal, Sandy Fletcher, Keyhole Bob, Rita Rindler, Mandy Cochran, Hilda Francis, Paula Varvel, Kaitlyn Overholser, Alexandrea Snodgrass and Julie Didier. Anniversary wishes to Sharon and Glen Craig (18), Cheryl and Dave Barlage (34) and Marcy and George Stuck (50).

Healing prayers and get well wishes for Betty Hess (Brethren Retirement Community), Jan Turner (foot surgery), Gary Poling, Scottie Barga, Dan Ahrens, Bob Longenecker, Josh Paulus, Cyril Frantz, John Davis, John Laub, Beverly Norton, Carl Drees, Dorothy Richard, Dave Magoto, Alan Barga, Maggie Dabbelt, Bob Homan, Janet Pitsenbarger, Kelly Bruns, Steven Youngker, Nicole Smith, Dave Francis, Marge Langenkamp, Iris Nickol, Eileen Rahm, Michelle McClure, Dan Trostel, Robert Longenecker, Rita Wuebker, Shirley Davis, Yvonne Ridenour, Wayne Pittsenbarger, Thelma Schultz, James Youngker, Glenn Monnin, Isabella Yakos, Brian Voisard, Barb and Jon Agne, Samantha Smith, Michelle Ullom and all those dealing with cancer or any one of life’s many challenges, as well the hospitalized or homebound in need of our prayers but not mentioned by name.

Sincere sympathy to the family and friends of Emily Subler (78), Betty Wehrman (84), Paul Francis (85), Thelma Shade (89), Jean Stover (95), and belated sympathy on the passing of Betty Baker-Schulze, also remembering the lives of John Nickol, Mary Ann Timmerman, Lester Ward, Helena Frantz, Pat Pleiman, Basil Barga, Lowell Liette, Richard Patty, “Moon” Spillers, Gary Marchal, Norma Phlipot, Robert Wion, Norbert Beyke, Jack Barga, John Pleiman, Paul Barga and all those who are in our hearts but not mentioned by name as the anniversary of their passing nears.

Fun facts: Thomas Edison was the first to connect lights with a wire in 1880. His partner, Edward Johnson was the first to decorate his Christmas tree with electric lights in 1882. He is the “Father of the Electric Christmas Tree.” President Grover Cleveland decorated the White House Christmas tree in 1895 with a little over a 100 multi-colored bulbs, which made everyone what to light their trees.

Kathy Magoto is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her weekly Versailles community column. She can be reached at [email protected] or at 526-3798. Feel free to contact her with Versailles news and tidbits. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

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