Wednesday, December 12, 2001

Grandpa's Christmas Star

Christmas lights after Allie helped me put them up November 27,2010
"Alright, pay attention so when I'm gone you can put this together by yourself.  I might not be around next year," he said.  That must have been 1987.

I helped Grandpa put that temporary breezeway on his porch for a few years after that until they sold the two story house because Grandpa was having trouble with the stairs.  Tough man - prostate cancer, aortal aneurysm, knee replacement, arthritic hip.  Those are just the ones I knew about.

He designed the breezeway himself.  It was one of his concoctions that was solely invented for a functional purpose, but looked good, too.  I don't remember how many panels it had for sure.  I think it had five.  They were approximately four feet by eight feet.  Two panels per wall on each side of the front door attached to the house at ninety degree angles.  The two walls were boxed in by a panel containing a storm door.  When it was up, the breezeway looked like part of the house.  It was an awesome way to keep the cold air out of the house when coming or going in the winter.

Shortly after moving to the new house, Grandpa fashioned a five point star out of wire and attached Christmas lights to it with a hot glue gun.  I helped him hang it because he couldn't climb ladders very well.  I also helped Donna with the rest of the outdoor Christmas lights.  When we plugged them in, Grandpa was so proud of that star.  Something about that rickety five point star appealed to him.  When he looked at it, he saw an exact replica of the star in Bethlehem.

He said if anything happened to him, I had to keep hanging that star and lighting it up every Christmas.  I continued to hang that star every year for him.  We would stare at it for a while when it was lit up.  He saw the star of Bethlehem while I saw a rickety wire star with Christmas lights glued to it and all bulbs working.

Last year Grandpa died.  I hung the star for Grandma, and we stared at it for a while until Grandma had to go inside because she was crying.  In the spring Grandma moved to an apartment, and a lot of her and Grandpa's stuff was divided among family.  Mom kept the star.

I put my Christmas lights up this week, and it was then that I remembered my promise to my grandfather.  My dad had hung the star at his house until I got my lights up.  I took the rickety wire star home tonight.

One bulb was burned out, but we didn't have a replacement that worked in the light strand.  I hung the star on my front porch and plugged it in.  After a minor adjustment, I walked into drizzling rain to see how it looked with the rest of my lights.  From the porch it didn't compare with the modern ribbon lights and icicle lights previously installed.

As I gazed at the lights from the street, I saw the same star Grandpa saw - the Star of Bethlehem.  That rickety wire star is the true Christmas Star.


  1. What a touching story - one that tugs at the heart - John I am sure your grandpa is smiling down on you -