I was talking to my mom last night, making arrangements for her to watch the boys while Brian and I go out to celebrate my birthday next weekend. She says to me, "Oh, by the way, just want to let you know that the Monsey Family's tree in their front yard is lit." To which I replied, "Ok, I'll be right over to take care of that!"
The year is 1989....and I am thirteen years old. Every night after dinner, my ten-year-brother and I are assigned the chore of taking our dog Ralph for a walk. Neither one of us is really crazy about this chore because Ralphie can take forever to do his business and Dad insists that he needs to go out for at least a twenty-minute walk. (Nope, we were not the kind of family that just let the dog out into the yard. Yes, we are NOW the kind of family who lets the dog out in the yard!!) Thirteen and ten are a funny age....you tend not to get along. But we had the common ground of both believing that yes, it's freakin' cold outside and this is sooooooooooooo boring. We'd begrudgingly do one lap up the side street by our house and one lap back, so we could move on to more interesting teenage things. (i.e. yakking on the phone or pissing each other off)
As we were walking down the side street, we noticed that the Monseys had lit their huge pine tree in their front yard. We stopped to admire, and then one of us "decided" that it would be great fun to pull one of the lights out of the socket. These were the days in which one light went out, the whole string went out. It became a nightly tradition, one of us would think it was great fun to pull a bulb and put it in their pocket, shorting out a whole string on the tree. And for twenty minutes in the day, we'd have some fun together.
Well, Mrs. Monsey didn't think it was all that funny. As a matter of fact, she had noticed that a string would go out on the tree around the same night every night and she was mighty tired of putting a replacement bulb into a strand of lights every day. So she decided one night to sit in her car and wait for whoever was ruining her decorations. Sure enough, Brother and I come up the street with Ralph and we pull out a bulb. She guns her engine and we take off!!! However, we didn't get far because we all know that cars are faster than even the most-determined-to-escape kids. She cornered us down the street in front of another house, and gave us a tongue lashing. All I could do was stammer...."uuhhmmmm.....do you want your lights back?" I had a handful of them in my coat pocket!! She took them back and said that she would be sure to call our parents to tell them what we had done.
My brother and I knew that we were done for. We balefully walked back to the house, and when we entered my mother said "Well, is there anything that you want to tell me??" We took a chance and lied: "No?" and it worked! For years, my mother never knew what we had done, it was our secret.
A few years later, my mother mentioned that Mrs. Monsey wasn't acting very friendly and she wondered why. And I threw us under the bus: "Maybe it's because Brian and I stole lights off her Christmas tree a few years ago." WHAT????? Mom called Mrs. Monsey to apologize and Mrs. Monsey laughed, they both had a good chuckle over it.
Every year, when I see that tree up, I *still* want to pull a light off of it. And I think I could make a getaway now. :)