Keeping up with the Joneses

Keeping up with the Joneses

No one could keep up with the Joneses…

They started Christmas promptly at midnight on the first of December with a blaze of lights, light show, music accompaniment, and each year was designed for a different theme…

They got solar panels when people grumbled about the electricity grid, and a battery when the year was grey. They put up a collection tin with the funds raised going to the local SES, who when applied to, helped with traffic control in the small cul-de-sac off Main Street.

No-one could keep up with the Joneses.

They had friends who helped sort the lights, fix the lights and store the lights. They were generous with their time and uncomplicated joy at a season, for them, that celebrated family.

Their front yard was meticulous maintained. And with the arrival lights there came too Christmas treats, canapés and icy cold water, offered to those who slapped past in the heat, to revel in the most spectacular show that Three Corners offered up each year.

Two weeks before Christmas, the Grotto went up with an air-conditioned space for Santa in his red suit, and a mailbox that took deliveries straight to the North Pole…. Acknowledgement of the letters came from Santa’s Head Elf, posted back to each child to let them know that their order had been received and they were working with their Naughty and Nice list to see what could be done.

However, Santa wasn’t dealing in electronics, pools or pets as there had been some kerfuffle with parents in previous years, so those requests would be forwarded on to the grown-ups with smiles, nods and laughter.

No-one could keep up with the Joneses, with their unfailing courtesy in the face of Grinches, Scrooges and bah humbugs. They practiced inclusion, not exclusion, and welcomed all faiths, just delighting in bringing joy to the children of Three Corners; letting them be uncomplicated kids, without the parental parameters and politics.

Then one year… when midnight came. The lights remained off.

Not a fairy twinkle, or elf sparkle…

No grotto.

No traffic.

No music.

But for the chorus of cicadas, the street remained completely silent.

The Joneses were there.

All well and hale.

All with mysterious smiles.

No-one could be drawn as to why, or even when, which then became an if… the lights would go on.

The bewildered population of Three Corners were left to their own devices to bring Christmas cheers…

A few lawns sprouted kangaroos pulling Santa’s sleigh…

Santa appeared in various yards, on motorcycles, swings, and upside down in a tree.

Verandah lightbulbs were replaced with coloured globes, a couple of lemonade stalls by enterprising kids popped up on hot evenings when people were out strolling …

Yet no-one came close to the Joneses…

Until Christmas Eve.

When a blaze of light, colour and music filled the night air…  From the most unexpected quarter…

The eyesore on the hill.

The home of the Old Bat…

The Joneses, had outdone themselves once again.