Growing up in this town is spoiling this kid.
A month ago, on a whim and ill-prepared for the weather, Colt and I wandered downtown for the official kick-off of the Lights of the Ozarks. The street between my office and the square created a wind tunnel and the biting cold whipped around us as we followed the crowd and the smell of funnel cakes.
We shivered while the crowd thickened, and eventually the switch was flipped to the sound of a Hog Call. Because Fayetteville.
After a few minutes of the parade, we got hungry and went to find some pizza — but I could feel the holiday spirit creeping in.
Every day when I pick him up from school, we take a slight detour before heading home — and we do a lap around the square. Every day I act like this is a huge and special Christmas surprise. “Buddy! Guess what?! We’re going to see the LIGHTS!” And every day he acts like he’s too cool, and that he doesn’t secretly love every last bit of it. And as we take our 5 minute detour around the square, and I field questions about how many lights there are and how often camels poop, I catch him in the rear view mirror, gazing out his window into the dreamy, colored glow — not-so-secretly loving every last bit of it.
If we don’t, we don’t — but most years, we get to the square as a family. We’ve done the ponies and the camels and Santa and photos, but I really, really love the lights. The whole thing. Just the existence of such a display — right here. This weekend, as we walked around — taking in the lights from the sidewalk rather than our daily view through the car window — I tried in vain to explain it to Colt. “Buddy, this is special. Not every town has something like this.”
It was no use. In his world, hometowns have charming and adorable town squares that host Farmers’ Markets in the summer and magical, twinkly Christmas lights in the winter — and there’s no point in trying to explain the significance of any of it to a seven year old. You’re better off surrendering to the loveliness of it all, and trying your best to see it through his eyes — he’s the one who really gets it anyway.