Sunday, December 23, 2012

River Oaks Christmas Lights: There Goes the Neighborhood

Neighborhoods with Christmas decorations have long attracted traffic jams, whether suburb, small town, or big city.  As a child, we'd jump in the car with my grandmother and drive all around town to look at the Christmas lights.  We'd even cruise the country roads, just to see who decked the halls.  Some neighborhoods revel in Christmas decor--with themes and all.  When I was off at university, my parents' neighborhood passed out a giant wooden sign for each home owner to decorate as a Christmas card.  And no, my mom wouldn't let my dad spray paint "Bah humbug" across it, graffitti-style (though the snarky amongst us begged her please).  Heck, I seem to recall the Chronicle publishing articles suggesting good light-viewing neighborhoods.  (And here's this year's Houston Press Top Five.)  I'm just not surprised to see the stream of SUVs and cars, bumper-to-bumper, ooo-ing and aahhh-ing over the Christmas lights in River Oaks.  I do love the lights, especially those wrapped roots-to-tips up impossibly tall and gnarled oaks.  Here's my favorite:

Yes, I know it's not an artful picture, but I felt successful just snapping one, not-very-blurry picture that excludes on-coming traffic.  But still.  You have to draw the line somewhere.  Families on bikes.  Tour buses.  Horse-drawn carriages.  I think I'm okay with those . . . creative, gets cars off the road.  But where I draw the line?

People off the road--and by that I really mean off the road and off the sidewalk, too.  Pedestrians walking on lawns, up to porches, next to trees.  Folks, it's just Christmas lights.  It's not a personal invitation to traipse across the flowerbeds.  Sheesh, when did people get so Jersey Shore here in Houston?  Where did your mama raise you, a barn?  I saw tour buses parked on the Boulevard, with people trekking mid-lawn for pictures.

Looks like this house just decided "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em."  They have a River Oaks Santa, elves, and even portrait lighting for the passer-by's.  And don't forget the traffic cones and those three traffic cops.  The neighbors must be thinking "there goes the neighborhood."  Ssssppptt, neighbors, I think my mom still has that old yard board if you're ready to spray paint Bah Humbug.  Let me know.


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