Families work hard to light up their street

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Seven houses light up dark Providence Road at night as people slow down to see the illuminated yards and decorations.

There are other homes lit up on the road, but these seven come together like a beacon on the holiday nights, as decorating has become a family affair for many.

There are a few themes going on in the successive line of houses on the road.

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The Washingtons and Smiths have a blue and white theme this year, with three houses decorated in the curve, the beginning of this big, seven-house display, and the house at the beginning of Lindo Lane.

Together Glenda Washington, her sister from Alexandria, Shirley Washington Norris and Laura Smith, just down the road, get together to decorate one another’s homes each year. They all use the same color scheme and each year, add new additions such as a snowman to the mix. The women replace only the light bulbs on their strands, making the offseason a hunt for bulbs in the next year’s colors.

&uot;We will go to Monroe if we have to,&uot; Glenda said. &uot;We will go wherever. This is what we love. We love to do this.&uot;

The farthest trip they have made for light bulbs? Dallas.

They save their vacation time to shop for next year and for the days spent putting up the decorations each year &045; about three days per yard and there are four to do.

Maybe the unique part of their displays are the lights that line their yards &045; placing the large bulbs in the top of milk jugs filled with sand to weigh them down. And don’t forget the small hole to let the water out.

The number of jugs this year is only at about 300 at Glenda’s house, compared to 500 in years before.

Or perhaps it is the satellite dish they no longer use, outlined with the blue lights.

&uot;It looks like an orbit,&uot; Shirley said.

But the number of lights is so many, do all these lights wreak havoc on the electric bill?

&uot;I don’t see that big of a change in mine,&uot; said Lurie Thompson, who lives with her sister, Glenda, at the beginning of Lindo Lane.

Between the two blue and white displays, Peggy Norman and daughter Jacqueline Davis’ homes are covered in lights, especially Norman’s. From the roof to the sides of the house to the ground, Norman’s home is a bright shining spot in the middle, with white lights blanketing the roof and the milk-jug luminaries lining the ground.

This year Peggy Norman even branched out a little bit and added some red to the display.

&uot;The Christmas spirit is something I can get from it,&uot; Peggy said. &uot;It’s just a beautiful spirit to me. I just like to see the beauty of it not only at my house.&uot;

Across the street, Lee and Sherry Jones have a multi-colored, lengthy display spanning their fence line and the trunks of their trees.

Norman and her son, James, decorate the Joneses’ home but in Sherry’s style &045; only multi-colored, and the more blinking lights the better.

&uot;I’m a very tailored person,&uot; Sherry Jones said. &uot;So, it’s my one time to flash.&uot;

But Peggy is the one who got the Joneses started putting up lights, mentioning they should put up some lights one year.

The Washingtons have been putting up decorations for 30 years and Peggy for at least 20 years, but the Joneses have only been decorating about five years.

Peggy is the Joneses’ light decorator of sorts.

&uot;I guess it is just a talent I had for that I didn’t know I had,&uot; Peggy said of decorating.

Sherry said Peggy tried to put up the white lights, but she wouldn’t have it.

Each of the families said this year is a downgraded version from years past, but the illumination was definitely bright enough to slow cars and gather traffic up Lindo Lane. &uot;Last week, we really had a lot of traffic,&uot; Thompson said.

Added Washington: &uot;They’ll be waiting when we turn them on.&uot;

And walking out on the Joneses’ porch on the hill is perhaps one of the best views of all of the homes. &uot;See how magical it is out here at night,&uot; Sherry said.

That is, quite possibly, a good description of the little bend in Providence Road that is lit up every year from mid-December to New Year’s, waiting for the new and the regular passers-by.