I don’t know what happened. I went from being someone who wanted Christmas slathered all over the house—decorations, lights, greenery, my battery-operated Jingle Frog—to someone who wants all that in someone else’s house. This year we might not even get a tree. We’ve been saying that for a while but we might really mean it this time.
But then I catch Pootie looking at me out of the corner of his buttons and I feel remorse. And I do like lights.
Almost forty years ago, I put Christmas lights all around the kitchen windows. It was tremendous. Our kitchen walls are brick. That’s what happens when you sign on with someone in the masonry trade. At some point they’re going to get all their buddies together and brick something the hell up. There’s never any trouble finding their houses when they have a party—you just get close and look for the big brick mailbox structure with shelves, cubbies, newspaper slot, pizza oven, ammo storage and secret entrance to the bunker.
Dave confined most of his brickly urges to the inside. So we have a brick kitchen with a hearth and new chimney for a wood stove and arches over the windows. His buddies told him it looked like a Pizza Hut but they can be mean. I’ve always loved it. The arches frame the original windows from 1906, thin little ripply bastards that have somehow survived all this time. Yeah, early on we did have a break-in on a side door window but we fixed that vulnerability by replacing the whole door with a beer refrigerator.
I’ve wanted to put the little lights up around the windows ever since but that was a serious pain in the butt. I cut duct tape in quarter-inch segments like it was a tapeworm and stuck every light to the bricks. More than a hundred of them. Taking a scissors that many times to a roll of duct tape leads to quite a bit of unseasonal profanity, although jamming a Christmas tree in a stand produces the same effect. I’m sure we could hold back if the Little Lord Jesus and his mom were actually in the room, but mostly we’ve let fly.
Plus, after a while some of the taped lights started making a break for it, and had to be re-disciplined, and when the whole thing came down there was a veritable topography of adhesive residue on the bricks which was solved only by a liberal application of Goof-Off. I happen to love the smell of Goof-Off and have found over the years that it solves a lot of problems, including malaise, resistance to gravity, and the ability to count to three.
Anyway I haven’t done the window lights since. And I miss them. And—I realized—although I still have duct tape and Goof-Off, I also I have the internet. “How can I affix Christmas lights to brick?” I inquired. Well! Glue-gun! Thanks for asking, said The Googles.
Weirdly, I do have a glue gun. I do not remember why. It’s used for lots of arts and crafts but not really the kind of art I do. I associate it with poster board and glitter and scrapbooks and googly-eyes and I don’t do any of that. But I looked around and by gum I had a glue-gun and an unopened package of glue sticks and, somewhere in my past, another project that had never gotten off the ground. I headed to the kitchen and plugged it in. Sure enough, it got hot. But nothing much came out.
It’s kind of sad to not be able to figure out how to use a glue gun. The Googles won’t even tell you because it’s too straightforward to explain. Plug in. Pull trigger. Glue. It’s like being baffled by a swizzle stick. Finally I noticed a picture where the glue stick was hanging out the back end, which I hadn’t considered, and before long I was gluing like nobody’s business.
Nobody’s successful business, anyway—it worked great, absolutely great, but there was a degree of cobwebbing with what we shall call runaway glue tinsel until I got a bit more skill. But doggone. So much better than duct tape. It makes me real happy and might even perk up the Poot. Maybe I’ll haul in some boughs from the cedar tree. Maybe I’ll light a candle.
I’m considering the whole thing a success. And I will continue to until the twelfth day of Christmas, when I snap the lights off Dave’s beloved brick. The Googles say the glue will come off too, but I really don’t know. Maybe it won’t. One way or the other, it’ll be an Epiphany.