Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

December 17, 2013

Another legend is born

Cathie Shaffer
The Independent

ASHLAND — The yuletide season brings with it all sorts of legends. There’s the legend of the mistletoe, the legend of the candy cane, the legend of the pickle and so many more.

Well, we have our own legends in my family. The most familiar, trotted out every Christmas, is the tale of the bucking turtle. It goes like this:

Once, way back in junior high, my son made a turtle-shaped footstool in a mandatory shop class. It’s a cute thing except that one leg is the tiniest bit shorter than the other three.

I am a proponent of fresh trees, and every year we’d purchase one from the FFA boys. The year the legend began, I needed something shorter than a chair to stand on to finish decorating said tree.

I chose the turtle.

As I moved to place an ornament, I shifted enough to put my weight on the short leg of the footstool. The movement made the turtle wobble and I lost my balance, taking the tree down with me.

I do believe I have inadvertently created a new legend.

You see, with a new young dog and the cats in the house, I decided to streamline this year’s decorating. My intent was to concentrate on the porch. The reality was that my decorating became two big lighted candy canes taped to the handrail at the steps and some gaudy twinkling garland.

Somewhere along the line, before I put up the candy canes and strung the garland, I bought a green lightbulb. My thought was that I’d put it in the porch light to cast a merry glow.

I’m pretty sure that green light over red canes would be anything but merry, so I went to Plan B.

Sunday, while he was down for dinner, my son replaced the bulb in a torch lamp with the green one. This particular lamp sits in a corner of the dining room just inside the wide opening separating that room from the living room. The illumination, I thought, would extend into both rooms in a cheerful way.

The change did not go without notice. A hour or so  later, a grandgirl walked in, stopped and said, “A green light bulb? Why green?”

I explained the season, the glow and my sentiments.

When another grandgirl wandered in and offered the same reaction, I explained again. It would look different after dark, I assured them both.

I could tell they were dubious, but I was certain anyway.

Fast forward to later that evening. We all went to the church Christmas dinner, then I stayed over at my daughter’s to help dip peppermint sticks and pretzel rods in white chocolate. As I walked across the driveway to my own house, I realized the only light I’d left on was the one in the dining room.

That bulb did indeed emanate a very green holiday glow. As I looked at my windows and the illumination inside, I was reminded of something very familiar.

The light shining out looked very much like the green light of UFOs in outer space movies. Which made me wonder if I ought to do a little more shopping and get something little for any extraterrestrial that might spot my house and decide I was inviting them to come on down.