Hayrides and Christmas lights. I know that I have expressed how much I love our neighborhood and this time of year my love multiplies. So many of the neighbors go out of their way to set up lights all around. This is an established quiet neighborhood and I just love it. So this time of year it is filled with so much joy.
Years ago Linda's husband Larry decided that we needed a hayride through the neighborhood to enjoy all the sites. He and my husband J discussed the details. Larry would grill some meat and ask friends to bring the extras. Linda's mom and dad owned a trailer and Larry would pick it up with some hay bails. The plan would be to start out at their home then half way through we would take a break at the Texas T home. We provided the hot chocolate and the cookies.
The Christmas light hayride has happened in some form for several years. As the M family left our neighborhood and moved to OK this was one of our last times together. By that trip Larry had a karaoke machine set up with Christmas songs and wireless mics. He and Linda added more decorations to the trailer as the years have gone on as well. The B family announced a baby on the way during the ride a few years back. All the children went insane with excitement. This is a true friend tradition that is so cool.
It was one of Linda's favorite activities. If you follow this blog then you know that my dear friend Linda passed away last month after a very short battle with pancreatic cancer. The kids had even asked Miss Linda if they should have all the neighbors put their lights out early this year so that we could do the hayride before she got too sick. In the end she didn't last long enough for us to get it done. She said that she didn't need to see the lights this year anyway. She intended to see heaven at Christmas time instead. She trusted that those sites would far outdo any beauty we would see in lights anyway. While I know she is right, I didn't get to go to heaven yet so I still wanted to see the lights.
For two weeks we kept debating if we would or would not do this favorite activity. In honor of Linda should we pass? Would it be too painful for Larry and their kids? Would we even feel like going this year without Linda to tell Larry which street to visit or remind him to slow down. We all kept putting off the decision and then Larry called. It was on. This time in her honor and he was renting a trailer so we could invite even more people.
So many people we wanted to include. So many people that loved Linda and loved these kind of activities. Even with a huge trailer we still had limited spots. Larry did not disappoint. In fact I think he just kept decorating so that he didn't feel the pain of not having Linda with us. He decorated the yellow truck and mounted a TV on top. The karaoke words would appear on the TV screen. Those in the very back could read the words easily. Lights were strung around the entire trailer and seats were added around the hay. We had too much room and know that next year we can invite even more friends.
We had a blast. The weather was cold but not too cold. It was just perfect. The lights were all very bright. The children were filled with excitement and hot chocolate. As always this turned out to be a wonderful time with wonderful people.
Linda we sure did miss you this year. We know that you are celebrating the birth of our Lord in ways that we can not even imagine. Just know that we miss your touch here on earth. As you celebrate in the joy of all the Saints please pray for us!