Arrow-right Camera


Doug Clark: Too much Christmas cheer for this time of year

Thu., Feb. 13, 2014, midnight

Christmas was 50 days ago.

Since then we’ve partied away New Year’s Eve, we’ve sung happy birthday to Martin Luther King Jr. and we’ve watched the Seahawks bash the Broncos on Super Bowl Sunday.

Valentine’s Day, by the way, is tomorrow.

And why am I stating the obvious, you ask?

Because some people around here obviously DON’T OWN CALENDARS!!!

That’s the only rational explanation I can think of for why too many of our homes still look like they’re waiting for Santa to plop down the chimney.

Colored bulbs adorn yards. Twinkling icicles hang from eaves. Green wreaths center front doors …

Wake up and smell the nutmeg!

We can’t still be celebrating Christmas 50 days after the fact.

I knew things had gotten out of hand when I saw something the other night near Rockwood Boulevard that shocked me almost as much as that suicidal moose that I ran into last fall.

Three houses in a row were decked out like it was still December at the mall.

Time to call out the Excessive Merriment Squad.

Which wasn’t all that hard, since I am the Excessive Merriment Squad. I just had to go home and find the yellow citations I had made years ago.

“Dear reveling resident,” read the citations.

“… Because you can’t give it up, we of Excessive Merriment Squad feel compelled to help you let it go by issuing you this faux warning for violating Section 12.25 of the Contempt of Christmas Code.”

So on Tuesday night, I put on my boots, slid into my truck and began prowling the streets to set things right.

“End of January I was going to take them down,” explained Bill Meulink, who answered the door with his wife, Betty, at the first of those aforementioned Christmas houses.

I can’t fault the couple for style. Their lovely home is tastefully adorned with multicolored lights and a snowman sentry on the porch.

It would look as cute as Tiny Tim if we weren’t closing in on Presidents Day.

Bill implied that he had some sort of “unspoken agreement” to not take down his lights until his neighbors took down theirs.

Sounds more like a case of unspoken confusion, to me.

The Meulinks seem like such nice people. In fact, all the reveling residents I met Tuesday night were terrific.

Their friendliness eased the anxiety I had about showing up at night at the front doors of strangers.

I don’t know how politicians find the nerve to go out and “doorbell” homes during campaigns.

It’s a wonder more of them aren’t beaten with clubs or bitten by dogs. On the other hand, maybe it would be better if a lot more of them were clubbed and bitten.

Kevin Wiedmer came to the front door of the home next to the Meulinks.

His lit-up abode, with blue lights on the fence, looked like it should be on a Hallmark card.

I gathered from what he told me that the decor had gone up late and that he hasn’t had the heart to take it down.

Sorry. The Excessive Merriment Squad won’t be influenced by cheap sentiment. I handed the man his citation and moved to the third house, which featured hanging icicle lights.

Nobody home. I left a yellow ticket at the door.

In all, I gave out about dozen citations, which were received with a lot of laughter.

Nobody took my cause seriously, which should tell you how messed up the country is.

Ruth Mincks lives with her mother, Grace, on the Altamont circle. She told me they intended to keep their window lights “up year round to keep something bright going on.”

Chaos. Without order there can only be chaos.

Already it’s happening.

Take this stately-looking home near 14th and Bernard.

I was drawn to it because of its glowing, white icicle lights and splashes of red decorations.

When I got to the porch I realized that there was a mishmash of both Christmas and Valentine’s Day going on.

“We’re confused,” said resident David Sewell, with a chuckle.

Time to go home.

On the way, I took a side street and hit the brakes.

In the front yard to my left stood a living Christmas tree, brightly wrapped from bottom to top with a rainbow of lights.

I knocked on the front door and was soon chatting with two really sweet and really Christmas-crazed individuals, Kim Meyer and Shari McEvoy.

They told me they planned to keep the outside lights blazing until either the snow disappeared or the buds began to bloom.

One of them hit a switch, which lit up more Christmas lights in the front yard.

“We love the lights,” said McEvoy, as I turned and headed back to my truck.

“Merry Christmas,” they yelled at my back.

I’m going to need a lot more citations.

Doug Clark can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or

There are nine comments on this story »