We spent our last Christmas in New Mexico as we have so many others before during our nineteen years here- dinner in Old Town and then strolling around to see the glowy luminarias. Reflecting on the humble decorations, I think I love them because they're not showy or flashy but are, rather, simple and charming and give off a soft, comforting glow.
Cara missed out due to a nasty flu-bug, for which she was at home drinking hot toddies in a desperate quest to rid herself of the chest-tightening congestion and cough. The hot toddies were my mother's orders for a quick recovery; she is a firm believer in their medicinal properties. Cold and flu? Hot toddy will fix you right up. Got a headache? Hot toddy! Arm has been severed? Hot toddy! Cara became a statistic in the national headlines, "Flu Epidemic in the Southwest," which was really her loss because not only was the meal delicious, the luminaria stroll was the warmest we can ever recall. Unseasonably warm temperatures allowed us to meander much further than we have in recent years, all through the Country Club neighborhood as well as Old Town. (Last year we made cursory run through two streets of Old Town before we all agreed to head home, so frigid was the temperature.)
As we wandered we saw a bright glow from the general direction of Old Town. As we approached it turned into a blaze - and then we happened upon this example of Christmas lights gone mad. It looked like the Abominable Snowman ate Christmas and then vomited it up on this house. "You can go look inside!" a girl beckoned. "It's all decorated inside, too." We were too afraid of what Las Vegas-style yuletide abominations we might find so we fled, heading quickly back to the soft, simple glow of the luminarias.
copyright 2005 Valerie Schneider