It was the Fourth of July in December and it was right. My then-young children filled our car with their soft wonder and bundled-up bodies. There was a slow caravan of families like us, driving down Broad Street, never going over 5 miles an hour, trying to take in all the frozen fireworks.
It wasn’t commercial. It was just a cold Sunday night and a neighborhood that loved Christmas. There was an array of lights on every house, on nearly every tree.
Santa was there, handing out candy canes at the corner of Mable and 4th. He must have needed padding. Those nights carried bone-deep chills, and he was out there for hours.
We were reverent. At one place we parked the station wagon, got out and walked. It was a yard with a creek, where the owners piped music out into the stillness that awe brings.
We went every year we could. Sometimes I still see my adult children the way time had them then, their faces pressed up against a window, their eyes sprinkled with reflections of light.