When my son Jimmy was young, circa second or third grade, he shared with me that he was pondering – as children often do – some of the secrets of the universe. I recall the conversation going something like this:
“Mom, I have an idea about how we get into heaven.”
“Why are you thinking about that?”
“Don’t know. So, when we’re born we get 100 sins.”
“We get to make 100 mistakes. Anymore, and we don’t get into heaven.”
“How did you come up with this?”
“Don’t know. Thing is, you don’t know when you’ve reached 100. So, when you sin, it better be worth it. Don’t want to waste one of your 100 on something stupid.”
Yep, kids sure do say the darnedest things.
I have no idea where I am on my 100 sins lifetime total. I fear that I may have blown my wad, going over the top because of a stupid childhood prank I committed every December with my cohort in crime, JoJo.
JoJo and I did a lot of naughty kid stuff, but I’m not sure all would rise to the level of sin. We kicked over dozens of trash cans, rang most of the neighborhood door bells, and made quite a few crank phone calls. Hoping that most of those will not keep me out of heaven. However, there was this one thing…
Do you remember the old fashioned outdoor Christmas lights we all used in the 70s? The bulbs were big and screwed into large sockets. They looked like this:
Image provided courtesy of www.morguefile.com
Each year our neighbor, Mr. Johnson, would install miles of strands of these lights throughout the shrubs and bushes of his south Florida yard. It was a painstaking process that produced a beautiful, glowing wonderland throughout his plush green landscape. JoJo and I would sit perched in his home across the street from Mr. Johnson’s house and watch the transformation. And we would wait. I am not proud of what comes next.
Under the cover of darkness, JoJo and I would creep over into Mr. Johnson’s yard and we would unscrew – but not remove – just one of the bulbs. This caused the entire string of lights to go dark. We would repeat this process several times, pushing our luck. It is a bit of a miracle we were never caught.
The next day we would hide in JoJo’s yard and watch Mr. Johnson methodically check each bulb on each string of lights, unscrewing and then re-screwing each one until he found the source of the outage.
Yeah, I’m pretty sure that little prank qualifies as a sin. And it very well could be the one that has put me over my 100 limit. I fully expect to arrive at the pearly gates and be greeted by St. Peter, who, looking down at his clipboard and then back at me, smiles and says,
Sorry my dear, but that little holiday stunt of yours put you over the top. Looks like you’ll be heading to warmer climates.
I don’t think he’ll be referring to sending me back to Florida.
If it’s not too late: I’m really sorry Mr. Johnson. Kids suck. Please forgive.
Speaking of Florida, here’s proof that putting up Christmas lights down in my home state can sometimes be a little tricky:
Image provided courtesy of http://lolzombie.com/
Do you have a holiday lights story?
Cheers and a very Merry Christmas to everyone,
Rena McDaniel saysDecember 27, 2014 at 7:47 pm
That sounds like my childhood, maybe it’s a 1, 000 and we’ll be okay! I want a palm tree now for sure!
Kimba saysDecember 28, 2014 at 8:58 am
1,000 would indeed give me better odds!
Marquita Herald saysDecember 27, 2014 at 4:23 pm
Oh my I had to get a tissue and wipe the tears from my eyes I was laughing so hard! And that palm tree, well that’s just a real bone- err I mean bonus. I wish I had a story to share but my childhood was a rather serious affair and there were no lights on the homestead or any I can remember in our neighborhood.
I will admit however that I more than made up for lost time when I left home, and since I look back on those years with shock and awe that I survived I have no doubt I’ve substantially exceeded my quota of sins. 🙂
Kimba saysDecember 28, 2014 at 9:05 am
Marty, I have no doubt that you have more than made up for your serious childhood. Wishing you a 2015 filled with mischief, fun, and poorly lit palm trees!
Susan - ofeverymoment saysDecember 26, 2014 at 1:11 pm
I think you can let the guilt go! At least the lights were the kind that you could figure out which one was the culprit. With the mini ones, I can never fix them if a bulb goes out! Great post!
Kimba saysDecember 28, 2014 at 9:46 am
So true, we just had a string of those mini lights go out this year – what a bugger! Perhaps a wee bit of pay back from the Christmas karma fairies…
janieemaus saysDecember 24, 2014 at 8:17 pm
That is one funny story. But I’m sure it doesn’t count as a sin! Merry Christmas.
Kimba saysDecember 26, 2014 at 11:01 am
Merry Christmas to you too Janie!
Diane saysDecember 24, 2014 at 1:28 pm
Heehee! Yeah. I don’t think it counts. Ingenuity balances it out . . .
Kimba saysDecember 26, 2014 at 11:00 am
Well Diane, I sure hope I can throw myself on the mercy of the court…
Lois Alter Mark saysDecember 24, 2014 at 1:03 pm
I don’t think kids’ pranks count as sins! Otherwise everyone would pretty much be done before they grew up!
Kimba saysDecember 26, 2014 at 10:58 am
I like your notion of a childhood dispensation – even with a little forgiveness I think I’m going to be close!
Vanessa saysDecember 24, 2014 at 11:50 am
What a delightful story, lights – confession and all. Yes, even the sweetest children, get up to mischief and the cute ones get away with it (moi – included).
My Christmas light story is yet to ‘unfold’ with a very curious 8 month old kitten… we shall see which of the decoration survives….more later. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Kimba saysDecember 26, 2014 at 10:49 am
I hope Cali doesn’t destroy too many of your decorations. Somehow, I know you’ll forgive her no matter what.
Vanessa saysDecember 26, 2014 at 10:59 am
No Cali has been ‘purfect’ the tree is still the same. I had put up a few lights around the window between the bedroom and computer room, which was encroaching on her territory; she kept nipping on them (not a teething issue). So I took them down. LOL. Already she is assertive (yes you are quite right….my heart is big enough to forgive the little one….).
Ruth Curran saysDecember 24, 2014 at 11:23 am
What a great story! I think there is a statute of limitation on childhood pranks. Go with that one!!!
Kimba saysDecember 26, 2014 at 10:47 am
There are quite a few antics from my childhood that I’m praying for the statute of limitations to kick in!
Sheryl saysDecember 24, 2014 at 10:21 am
No holiday lights story, as I don’t celebrate Christmas…but I do love seeing a beautiful display!
Kimba saysDecember 26, 2014 at 10:46 am
Me too – the more lights the tackier the better!
Roz Warren saysDecember 24, 2014 at 9:40 am
You’re not the only kid who pulled off that little trick. I know of several in my own neighborhood when I was growing up who enjoyed that prank. Think of it this way — you were an early environmentalist — saving the planet by reducing the use of merely ornamental electricity! Not a sin, really.
Kimba saysDecember 26, 2014 at 10:45 am
An early environmentalist – I’ll take it!
Carol Cassara saysDecember 24, 2014 at 6:52 am
That IS a sin. A huge Christmas sin, which counts double, in case you were wondering. Oh, I remember those old lights and how frustrating it was when one would go out!
Kimba saysDecember 24, 2014 at 7:02 am
Yeah, I’m pretty much a goner on this one. Will have to throw myself on the mercy of the court.