Remembering the Christmas Star

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Steph Andd Perry Seccaspina 

Sophia’s animated light show starts on the 19th from 6pm to 9pm

Tune in to 88.3 FM on your radio and enjoy the show

267 Stonewood drive- Beckwith –off the Beckwith 9th line

The year 2013 was the last year that my late husband’s Christmas Star sat on top of our old stone home on Lake Ave East in Carleton Place, Ontario. For years the neighbours were treated to 4 hours of pounding lights and music on a loop for the month of December from a man who loved Christmas. I guess I could never understand why so much money was spent on this festive display but it made him happy, and the kids just loved seeing the lights up every year. Some neighbours even said they could see his wonderful creation from the Main Street and I agree.

When Angelo began his Christmas extravaganza in the 90s there were no fancy displays, inflatables, or music. Canadian Tire, which used to be just down the street, was his home away from home and he made the Christmas decorations out of plywood. Each year it  seemed to get bigger and bigger. In 1998-99 LED Christmas lights became available and early in the 2000s he added Christmas music to his display. I remember before timers were available for them that he would go out some nights risking his life in the icy laneway to turn it on every night. 

One year he decided to make the biggest star ever seen and fasten it to the top of the peak of the house so the whole town could see it. For a week he worked cutting out a wooden design, covering it with foil paper, and fastening a great deal of lights to this star. This was before the days of the aerial lift and Angelo would fasten one of the tallest ladders he had on the icy second floor verandah and climb up precariously to the top of the roof line. My youngest son told me that in following years when lights burnt out on the star he was sent up to replace them with a holler of:

‘Get up there Perry, we need these lights to work!’

In 2013 Angelo was in the last throes of Stage 4 Colon Cancer, but he insisted that the Christmas lights had to go up, and go up they did. It was to be the last year that the star shone with all its lights. Somehow that year it shone so bright, I swore it could be a landing strip for planes.  In February of 2014 Angelo passed away after a tough and brave fight with a horrible disease.

For those who had no idea, our front yard was covered in extension cords every Christmas under the snow because of all the lights. I don’t want to tell you how many we owned, but whatever it took to keep those lights going extension cords were key.

The evening that Angelo passed away both my sons wanted their father to leave the home by the front entrance and not the side. It was important to us that all that respect be shown to their late father. However, there was one problem. You could not get the front gate open  for the hearse because the circular driveway was covered with a lot of snow. No problem the boys said, Perry would plow it before Barkers Funeral Home showed up. In that time of sadness no one was thinking about Christmas light extension cords all over the yard and Perry just wanted to get it done.

He came in after the job was done and told my oldest son Schuyleur and I that as he plowed  the driveway he could see the plow cutting the extension cords and they were flying up all over the place. He looked down and said,

‘Dad is going to kill me!’

We looked at each other and began to smile, realizing his Dad was indeed looking down from above with his hands in the air as he always did when he was mad and saying,

‘Guys, what the heck are you doing? Look what you did!’

The next few years Angelo’s big star was not turned on as lights had burnt out, so I suggested my youngest son Perry come get it for his home display. During the next five years, Perry had slowly taken his Dad’s Christmas lights to build an annual display to rival anyone in the valley, but that star just sat on top of the house. Let’s just say I gave up asking and knew when it was time he would come and get it.

This week the star finally left the building, and within one day Perry had transformed it into something new and fabulous for his 2020 display off the 9th line in Beckwith Township here in Lanark County. I had noticed the wooden post that held that star was in three pieces. Obviously Angelo had initially tried three times to put the star up but it wasn’t long enough so he just kept adding on. Perry and I had a good laugh, that yes, this was indeed his Dad’s work and he was going to leave it exactly as it was. You never change something that works, even if it looks kind of odd.

I often tease Perry that one day if I win the lotto I am going to compete with his Christmas display, but I am joking. Perry is rightfully the successor of all things in the family Christmas decoration area and he proudly carries on his father’s LED legacy. This year when the family sees Perry’s final result in Sophia’s Christmas Light Show, which he named after his daughter, we will all feel the closest to Angelo. Even though he is far from sight we know this year his father can finally see us all under that shining star that he once built. I hope everyone visiting makes a wish on that Christmas star this year. Who knows maybe your wish will come true– just keep them close to your heart. Sometimes dreams do come true.

The star always burnt bright on Angelos birthday — May 8th after he died in Feb 2014- then the lights burnt out years later- My son Perry lovingly installed his father’s lights at his home- I found this picture from May 2015 yesterday-

Sophia’s Animated Christmas Light Show –267 Stonewood Drive, Carleton Place every night from 6-9pm (off the Beckwith 9th line)– It’s off Country Lane Estates drive,,. there is no light so drive slowly and go right to the end of the road. You can’t miss it

33,000 Lights– The moment we’ve all been waiting for. . . . Sophia’s Animated Christmas Light Show will debut tonight ( Saturday December 9th ) at 6pm. The light show will be on EVERY night from 6-9. This year we have over 33,000 yes that’s right thirty three thousand LED bulbs. Don’t forget to tune into 88.3 Griswold FM.  Don’t be shy to stick around and listen to the roughly 15 holiday songs that are synchronized to the light show!!

relatedreading

In Memory of The Man Who Loved Christmas

The Story Behind the Christmas Lights on Stonewood Drive

Sending You Love Light and Laughter for the

2019
this was 2017 and it is bigger than ever..

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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