When children spend at least 30 minutes in a car every day they find ways to entertain themselves. For my kids, what started out as an ordinary game of I Spy is now an obsessive hunt. What are they hunting? The title may give you a clue, but let me explain how this all came about.
The first item of their search is a commonplace, albeit powerful and noble object: The American Flag.
I don’t know if the same holds true for other areas of the country, but the Northeast is a very patriotic place to live. American flags are everywhere. Take a ride through the back roads of a few of our towns and you’re bound to pass at least 50 of them. I would know. I spend day after day listening to hollers from the back seat:
I SAW IT TOO!!!
No, you’re not supposed to look on my side of the car; you’re supposed to look on your side…
AMERICAN FLAG!!! ANOTHER ONE!!!
That’s on my side! Look on your own side. OOH! AMERICAN FLAG!!!
Trust me on this, patriotism is alive and well.
The most recent addition to I Spy is a holiday favorite: Christmas lights.
Last year a family on our street placed lights in front of their house that were rather unusual. They were all tulips sticking out of the ground and were comprised of vibrant springtime colors. The kids went bonkers over them.
Why tulips? What do tulips have to do with Christmas? Why aren’t they at least Christmas colored tulips?
They just could not wrap their heads around WHY TULIPS, so much to my own amusement I eventually told them that it was because crazy people live there. They are crazy people, and crazy people do crazy things; like put yellow, pink, and blue tulip lights in their front yards in early December.
Well, I am pleased to report that this theory was joyfully accepted. The children stopped inquiring “Why tulips?”, and instead started asking if we could take another drive by the crazy people. This request was of course completely unnecessary; we drove by them every time we hopped in the car.
To make life even more exciting, last winter was the worst that Southern New England had experienced in a number of years (at least within my children’s lifetime). Snow blanketed those tulip stems from December all the way through April. At one point the snow was piled so high all you could see were yellow, pink, and blue hues shimmering underneath the sea of white. Yes, those crazy rabble rousers left those tulips lit all the way through April until the snow had melted, and then removed them just in time for spring.
So that is how it came to be that we spent five months looking at the home of crazy people.
Last week my daughter and I were driving along and saw a number of houses that already have Christmas trees up, candles glowing in windows, and twinkling lights strung on bushes. As we passed each one she shouted from the backseat:
CRAZY PEOPLE!!! CRAZY PEOPLE live there!!! It’s not even Thanksgiving yet. Those people are CRAZY!!!
Yesterday after we picked up the boy from daycare she immediately formulated and shared her plan:
Hey Dominic, let’s look for American flags and crazy people.
He was totally on board.
I spy American flags and crazy people. Welcome to Massachusetts!