I'm going to write something nice and sweet - Alabamas13.com WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

I'm going to write something nice and sweet

By Mike Royer

I wouldn’t call it writer’s block but rather writer’s funk. I’ve not been able to finish more than a paragraph or two in this space since late October. It’s not like homework; I’m not assigned a certain number of blogs to post, but I’m pretty faithful and putting my thoughts down once a week or so. But lately, the words just won’t come and when they do, they’re not pleasant or inspiring.

I’ve started three or four times to write about what I’m thinking about. Trouble is, most of what I’ve been thinking about lately has to do with elections, voters who have little or no knowledge of civics, so-called brilliant economists who say something very ignorant almost daily, or local government leaders who make some voters seem smart.

See what I mean? You don’t want to read about that do you? So, today I’m going to write about Christmas trees…14 Christmas trees. Once a year I become Clark Griswald, on a mission given to me by my wife, to turn our yard into a tasteful holiday display, a winter wonderland if you will. There are no inflatable Santas or big plastic balls filled with fake snow, or a live Nativity scene… just 14 small Christmas trees with traditional, multi-colored lights. The whole thing sounds simple…it isn’t. I started the project Monday and I’ll finish today, that’s four days of work. Good thing I work cheap.

It began a few years back when it was suggested that we put “a few” lights in some trees in the yard. That changed to “why don’t we get some small artificial trees, place them around the yard and put pretty lights in them.” So, that’s what we did, 8 trees on one side of our yard. It was a family project that first year, everyone helped. You have to set up the trees, run extension cords to each one, being careful not to try to power more than three strands of lights at a time or you’ll blow a fuse. If anyone’s going to blow a fuse, it likely will be me. The timers are important because you want to have the lights come on and go off at approximately the same time.

The first year, our (my) engineering was a bit flawed. I spent more time picking up trees and lights that had been toppled by the wind than enjoying the sheer beauty of it all. That first year I put some large rocks on the base of the trees to keep them upright. Over time and with careful and meticulous research and development, our trees can now withstand winds of up to 40 mph. You won’t notice this when you drive by this Christmas season, but each tree is tie-wrapped to a metal fence post driven deep into the ground. The fence posts are green… the trees are green… the tie-wraps are green…get it? Who do I call to patent such brilliance?

If I had more time, our annual tree display might grow even more. We’ve gone from 8 trees to 12 and yesterday we threw the switch for the annual Royer tree lighting extravaganza and 14, yes count them, 14 trees now illuminate our neighborhood and will until the New Year arrives. No one lives in the houses on both sides of ours, and I was thinking since no one’s at home, it might be a great opportunity to expand the tree and light show to our neighboring lots. I’m thinking though that might involve some property line and trespass issues, so I’m back into R&D on that idea.

I’ve not heard from any of our neighbors about all of this. All I’ve heard so far is the whirring sound the electric meter makes when I get near it. By the way, anyone know where I can get a couple live cows, a couple goats and two or three wise men?

See you tonight at 4:30, 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00.

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