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the suburban death trap called the holiday tree lighting festival

Posted on 9 Dec 12 by in family fringes | 6 comments


I owned a pretty fancy DSLR  for a few years. When Ehren was a newborn, I set a personal record of taking a photo of him every day for the first 137 days of his life, and that DSLR was my primary camera. Then something something left it for a few months in the camera bag, then we moved and something something syrupy leaked into the bag, invading the cavity holding all the moving parts something something and now my primary camera is on whatever phone I happen to be using.

Sing the praises of camera phones all you want, but they act fairly irresponsibly in low light. And as the sun disappeared once we got to our waiting spot along the parade route after dropping off Jon Alex who was meeting his LDC detachment unit for walking in the parade, I knew I wasn’t gonna get any photos for you guys of the various ways my suburb’s holiday fest tried to kill my toddler.

You’ll just have to take my word for it.

First pass: the slices of $5 pizza sitting in boxes under the pizza vendor’s tent for hours and hours. No warming cabinet, no bacteria slowing downer. But the drink was included in the price, so there’s that.

Second pass: the trailer carrying about 100 of my neighbors at one time through a simulated hayride. One enthusiastic jostle sending Ehren over the side then being crushed under the trailer wheels with Cletus the oblivious driver making his 300th trip of the night, I couldn’t decide if the mishap would be charged as involuntary manslaughter or a tragic accident. I was taking no part.

Um, no: bungee cord bouncing as run by high school sophomores.

We finally loosed Ehren from the killing fields and made our way to the blocked off streets to wait for Jon Alex’s unit to pass by. My dad bought Ehren a $5 glow stick (imagine a psychedelic scepter with flashing, plastic butterflies) which Ehren mistook for his much sturdier light sabers at home. Three seconds later, glow stick broken. Heart broken. Glow stick vendor guy no where to be found. My dad asks Ehren if some pepperoni-flavored salmonella would help make him feel better.

The unit finally passes. It’s so dark, I can’t pick out my own son among his fellow cadets (there are two black kids in the unit which I only found out while searching the formation, sue me). Ehren held me hostage at that stupid festival for another hour, but I finally got him home alive while reminiscing about the heat stroke Q suffered a few years ago in line at Sea World. I think I even got a picture.



  1. I’m exhausted just after reading this! I hope you plan to just sit around and watch football this afternoon!

    • It’s 23 minutes after noon as I’m typing this, and I’ve gotten out of bed only for potty and snacks.

  2. “Bungee cord bouncing as run by high school sophomores” – Yikes!! My husband would totally do all this stuff with our kids. I’m not sure if it’s a man thing to be oblivious to personal safety or if it’s just him.

    • I am also the mother who would tell my brother he was pushing the kids “too high” on the playground swing, so take my death trap musing for what it’s worth.

  3. You do not tell a boring story.

    I haven’t told my son that our town has a tree lighting. I was able to miss it 3 years in a row! I know by the time he gets to first grade someone is going to spoil it and we’ll have to go.

    Is it wrong that I kinda want to bungee cord bounce even if it is run by teenagers?

  4. I would have avoided all this with my tried-and-excellent method of staying home. Glad you went out, though, because it made a good story. And your blog looks great, by the way.

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