Lightening Up Christmas

I have no childish Christmas list. Santa knows I haven’t behaved myself, so what’s the use. My present needs rise above the material. I need answers. One specific, clear one under the tree – to be perfectly understood here.

There’s the always question of “Why? … with no answer … ” that drives me crazy when I see certain things I don’t get. Circumstances or states of affairs driving me so crazy I get stuck on a mental clover leaf with no logical exit ramp to Saneville. This is one of them:

Off the Frankstown Exit here in Altoona, Pa., is the “Lights on the Lake” exhibit. It is a ride through the local park where there are, well, lights. Oh, and the display is beside Lakmont Park. For one price, a car load of humans can 5-mile an hour through, gaze at all the holiday lights that have been displayed for years (unchanged) … then exit. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, families and friends have been doing this for years. We did it once. Once.

This picture is courtesy of a good friend of mine. Here’s the thing. She took that picture at 6:30 p.m. just off the Frankstown exit, sitting well back from the actual entrance to the parking lot – where the line starts to wind around JUST to begin the car line – well back from the actual start of the light show. Confused? Let me clear this up: When her car full of humans arrived at the start, it was 10:00 p.m. … Yes, 10:00 Post Meridiem. That’s two-hundred and ten minutes of car lights before doing anything productive … and I ask, WHY?

At the time of this writing, I haven’t seen Susan to ask that question. Knowing her, the answer will be full of excitement and thrills. She’s a sweet person. Every ten minute update she provided on her FB page gave us heightened anticipation. Every. One. Of the fifteen she posted. What was absent from them? An a accompanying narrative as follows: “This is so logical. Let me explain the sane, rational reason why our family is now sardined in between hundreds of other irrational other families in their cars.”…

I’m not dumping a load of fault on her at all. This is an exciting time of year around here when all the lights are turned on at the park. I can’t understand why everyone decides to line up all at once … like the park is giving away free kisses from Brad Pitt and Angelia Jolie … or, some crazy promo like that. Good for them, though (the park). On the day she was there (Friday), tickets per car were $20 each. I hesitate to write, “Lighten up on the prices, there!”, however, I’m going to do it anyway because I like to brighten everyone’s mood.

For all I know, there are good grounds for everyone waiting hours to get in to see these lights. When I was there years ago, the displays were … o.k.. I’ve seen more lit Santas on December 26th in the local bar than along the narrow paths in this park back then. Yes, it had all the yellow, red, and green bulbs on full display strung out like a tired Rudolph and advertising signs from businesses underwriting each display. Yes, it was Seinfeldian Festivus for the rest of us. Yes, I have no qualms about anyone wanting to see this local energy company and parent wallet drain every season … but for all that’s holiday-holy ….

… WHY car-tire yourself for hours upon hours to do it? This is MY holiday wish this year. I’m not asking for much here. I don’t want to know if the chicken or egg came first. I have no expectation of knowing the origin of our magnificent universe. Einstein’s Theory of Everything is still as elusive as it was when he was scratching it on a napkin and I find the need for concordances, study guides, pastors, and priests to explain the bible – a book written to give us simple folk guidance from a god – a being that should know we need clear, precise instruction – the most vexing of all puzzlers.

I just want to know: WHY? … and I’m inclined to believe the ramp off Frankstown Road will be packed again this weekend. A back-up full of cars loaded full of parents with wallets, hopefully, loaded full of 1’s … at least twenty of them … because it’s not cheap. Oh, and another hefty stack of 1’s to refill the gas tank, too, after leaving on fumes.

As others sit in that line this year and next … and next … and next, I’ll sit idly by a few miles away saving gas and time for more worthwhile endeavors. “Why?”, you ask. I believe I’ve answered that question quite well here.

An answer so simple, so easy. One unlike I’ll ever get from Sue, or any other wonderful patron of the lights. Most I’m sure to call my friends, yet, ones who drive me crazy as they sit hours upon hours waiting on the illogical exit ramp in my mind.

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