With the holidays upon us, a lot of preparation is being taken to make the most of the upcoming festivities. But no matter how well you plan, there is always that little glimmer of Clark Griswold Christmas magic that appears out of nowhere to make an event more memorable.
Mine started the day after Thanksgiving. I was getting ready for this year's Apple Cup football game between the University of Washington and Washington State. I was like a little kid on a sugarplum high -- full of excitement. I had already done the best I could to get my young niece and nephews all hyped up for their parents (it's fun to be the uncle who lets them run amok in the house!) I was watching the game, hoping that the Cougs would start to score some points, when I noticed that my brother was getting the Christmas lights out for the trees outside.
I knew he was going to need help, and since we don't get to see each other much (and since the Cougs WEREN'T score any more points), I decided to join him. We talked about his grandkids and all the funny things they do. We finished straightening out the strands of lights and went inside to see what the score was in the game.
When we walked back to get to work on the trees again, we realized we had no idea how we were going to get the first end of the light strand up on top of the tree.
We thought about getting out the small tractor and using the bucket to lift one of us up to the treetop. But since the tree was on a small, but steep, incline we didn't want to risk tipping over.
Then it occurred to us that we could use the other ladder, and with one person on the back side for counter weight, I could climb up and, using a rake or a shovel, could position the light strand where it would hang and just kind of drop it on the top limb. Smart!
So my brother got on the back side of the ladder as the counterweight, and I climbed up. First I tried the rake, then the shovel. But as I reached up, I was just short of the limb. What else could we use? I wondered.
About that time, my 3-year old nephew had a shoe blowout that had to be fixed. So I took a break and went into the game room to check the score of the increasingly depressing Apple Cup. And then it dawned on me: the bridge stick on the pool table would work perfectly!
I grabbed the stick and headed back to the tree that by now had my brother and two grandsons making it look like a construction job. We loosely tied the end of the light strand to the bridge stick, then all we had to do was climb the ladder, reach up and place the end of the light wire on the tree. Then, we could simply twist and pull down on the bridge stick and the strand of lights would drop onto the limb.
Yep, it seemed so simple.
I got in the right spot, worked the wire into perfect position, then twisted and pulled down the stick.
Clark Griswold couldn't have done it any worse -- after I'd pulled, my brother I could only watch as the pool stick, minus without the bridge, hung crazily in the tree. Our tree topper was no angel, it was a pool bridge!
Now, when it's foggy, the white LED lights that shine so brightly gleam merrily through the casting of the pool bridge ... and it looks like the Batman signal! I'm tempted to go look for my old Batman underwear.

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