Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Colorado Chronicles: The Greeley Grizwalds

Grizwald's Light Show
You know that movie "Christmas Vacation" or whatever the hell it is, with Chevy Chase? He tries like crazy to get his Christmas lights going and hilarity ensues? Well, there's a guy up in Greeley, Colorado that is a real life "Grizwald" without any of the technical snafus and Cousin Eddies to frak things up. I mean this guy, Mike, has it down like James Brown. There are several videos of Mike's handiwork here. I need to give you a little notice that Mike must live out in the country as there are no city lights or artificial light of any kind to get in the way of his light show. The lights are synced to music, so at times things will be dark for a few seconds or only a few lights will "dance" to the music. Just stick with the video. When the music revs up so do the lights. Please keep that in mind as you view the videos. You won't be sorry.

On this page of Mike's web site, you'll find out some really cool information about his Christmas lights display, such ass, there are over 108,000 (!) lights in the display. You'll also find out that Mike has won numerous awards as well. Click the link above and check out the rest of the facts about the show. It's very impressive.

Christmas is a joyous and happy time of year, and it's guys like Mike and the Picketts, who we featured yesterday, that take the joy and happiness of the yuletide season to new levels. Their hard work and attention to detail are overlooked most of the time, but the smiles they put on children's faces when the kids see the fantastic display of lights Mike and the Picketts have labored over, make all the time and labor spent each Christmas season on getting the show together well worth it all. Thanks, Mike and thank you Kevin and Linda. You are truly filled with the Spirit of Christmas.

Maine Minutiae: Christmas By the Sea

Having been in Maine for nearly five years, I'd like to think that I know a little more about the state than when I got here. And I do. But, since starting this blog nearly six months ago, I have learned so much more about Maine, its people and its traditions - including Christmas traditions. Part of the joy of doing a blog is to be able to share what I have learned /am learning with people all over the world.

Maine has about seven bazillion miles of coastline, so it should come as no surprise that many holiday traditions are centered on the ocean, boats and other maritime pursuits. This post is one of those.

Christmas by the Sea in Camden, Rockport and Lincolnville is a prime example of Mainers celebrating Christmas and at the same time, celebrating their heritage which is linked to the sea. Christmas by the Sea takes place this weekend, December 3-5, so you still have a bit of time to insert a visit to Camden, Rockport and/or Lincolnvillle into your schedule. According to the Christmas by the Sea web site, "The Christmas season arrives in Maine’s Midcoast during the first weekend in December, when Santa chugs into the harbor by boat, a parade makes its way down the street, and unique local traditions hit their stride." I just wonder if the boat on which Santa arrives has a big red light on the front of it, like Rudolph's nose.

More from the festival web site:
  •  Trish Moroz–-known locally as the “gingerbread lady”--will transport nearly 130 elaborate gingerbread houses that she has been crafting in her Rockport kitchen since last February from her basement to the holiday fair.
  • Retired firefighter Bob Oxton will make his trek up Mount Battie to light the holiday star that can be seen for miles, as he has for four decades.
  • Carolers and horse-drawn wagons will wind through historic downtown Camden, where the mountains meet the sea, and local shops will offer special items that you won’t find at the mall.
 What a great way to combine the celebration of Christmas with local customs and traditions! I appreciate the symbolism of celebrating Christ's birth and the traditions of the locals and the sea. Somewhere in the Good Book it says something like this: Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Christmas by the Sea not only feeds a man for a day, it also nourishes a man's soul for a lifetime.

Texas Tidbits: Rudolph the Roughneck

To truly celebrate Christmas the Texas Way, you have to come up with an idea that represents Texas in a unique way then "Christmas-fy" it. The crew at Lufkin Industries came up with just such an idea many years ago, thanks to L.I. employee, Guy Croom. Croom heard the Christmas classic "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" by fellow Texan, Gene Autry. Croom's idea was to take one of Lufkin Industries' most common products which just happens to represent a part of Texas history and merge it with Christmas to create a Yuletide symbol for the ages. The Lufkin Industries product that Guy Croom "Christmas-fied" was an oil pumping unit, one of the most recognized icons in Texas.

Texasescapes.com  fills us in, "For about four days before Thanksgiving, an electrician installs 1,000 seven-watt light on a selected unit. Another work crew spends another two and a half days putting Rudolph together at his holiday home on the parking lot of Lufkin Mall beside Loop 287 and U.S. 59. Rudolph is actually a fully-operational Lufkin Mark 640 oilfield pump painted red for the season. At his holiday home, he is pulling a 38-foot dump trailer, also made by Lufkin Industries, carrying Santa Claus and a pile of Christmas gifts.Rudolph, naturally, sports lighted antlers and a red nose. The rest of Rudolph's story can be found here. Hence, a star, a Lone Star as it were, is born. Truly unique and truly Texas. Wanna take a peek? There are a number videos starring Rudolph on You Tube. Rudolph lights up the night skies in Lufkin. Here is a compilation of videos showing Rudolph at work.

I hope that Lukin Industires gave Guy Croom a nice Christmas bonus for creating something that combines the celebration of Christmas and an icon of Texas history into a memorable and long-lasting gift to the people of Texas. I think I can speak for Guy Crooms and Lufkin Industries when I say, Merry Christmas, y'all.

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All Original Material © Toby Shoemaker