The years I lived in Arizona were bittersweet. I loved Arizona: the mild winters, the heat, the apartment swimming pool, the beautiful sunsets, the friends I made there...but I also hated some of it too: being away from home (especially at Christmas), missing my friends back in Missouri, etc.
Christmas in Arizona was like nothing I'd ever experienced. Much of the landscaping there is rock, gravel, and cactus. No lush lawns in the desert! My room mate Dar and I would go walking a lot late at night to the park a few blocks from our apartment. At Christmas we'd always pause in front of a house nearby that was all lit up outside with Christmas lights. We got such a kick out of all the lights on the cactus in the yard instead of on Christmas trees! And some of the lights played Christmas music! We'd stop and listen to the music and enjoy the lights and then mosey on to the park to swing. (Yes, swing. I STILL like to swing !)
In fact, this house is the only one I've lived in which there was a fireplace mantle on which to hang our stockings! We were still moving into the house on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I still love this house and miss living in it. Although I was told several years ago that I really wouldn't want to live in it again. Marty worked on a dairy farm and the house came with the job. After we left, new barns were built....in the field next to this house! I'm told the stench there is unbearable now. I decided to check out how much of the area has changed with satellite images at google maps. My friend was right...the new barn is huge and is right next to the house! Almost all of the beautiful green lush grass appears to be gone too. The backyard where Heather used to play now appears to be the new parking spot for someone's car.
One Christmas, our friends Jim and Joyce took us driving to see Christmas lights. Somewhere in North Phoenix, not far off I-17, we came across the most spectacular Christmas lights display I had ever seen. You couldn't park anywhere near this house. You parked blocks and blocks away and walked to get a closer view. We paid $1 for this picture from the owner and we paid $1 for a tour of the inside of the home and backyard. It was all the most amazing lights display I'd ever seen. I'd be curious to know if the owners are still there and if they still create displays such as this each year.