Spradlin: My son and I tour Christmas light displays

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My 5-year-old son and I don’t get a lot of one-on-one time these days. Josiah is in preschool from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and I am as committed to my job as one person can be.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

So it was with great enthusiasm Sunday night with which he and I entered our “Christmas adventure,” a driving tour of Christmas light displays around Richmond County. We didn’t hit all of them, but we saw some pretty good ones. While my two older children, Noah (15) and MacKenzie (12) had the pleasure of my wife and I being younger and more energetic, something is different with Josiah and, now, Lucas (1), my stepson. We simply don’t seem to have as much energy as we used to. Or as much patience.

We also struggle with keeping up family traditions. I really don’t know why, but every year it seems as if we let yet another tradition go by the wayside. Driving around and looking at Christmas lights is one of them, but this year I figured there was little reason to allow it to happen.

Sunday night’s drive couldn’t have turned out any better. Josiah took care of looking out his side of the car — and he’s very territorial, as in “don’t-you-dare-see-lights-on-my-side-of-the-car-Dad” — and I looked out for bright displays on the driver’s side of the roadway.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

We walked onto the front porch of our Bear Branch Road home and knew that our first stop had to be a place we could see without getting into the car. Our neighbors have a brilliant display that shines on their garage door, so I took Josiah over there to let him see it. He was excited, and ran towards the car ready for more.

On we went. Green Lake Road. Main Street, Ellerbe. We enjoyed a quick visit o Town Park, where the tree lighting had taken place earlier this month. Josiah liked seeing a place he recognized. Then Wallace Road, a display which might measure up to the one on Poplar Street in Hamlet. And as in Hamlet, the people make the experience so much greater. The family did not know who we were at first but treated Josiah like a long-lost grandson and welcomed both of us onto their property to see the lights in the back yard. Two candy canes later, we were back in the car and headed south.

Back towards Rockingham. A quick stop at Harrington Square for Josiah to see the reindeer and trees lit up. Then a pit stop for a Dairy Queen break. Then on to the 500 block of Wiregrass Road. Then on to Hamlet. The purpose was to make it to the oft-talked of Poplar Street neighborhood, but there were many worthy stops before there. Josiah and I got out at each one and snapped a few photos. Hylan Avenue. Entwistle Street. McDonald Avenue and on to Poplar, where Santa and Mrs. Claus awaited visitors.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Across the street, Drew Carpenter was being helped by his parents in collecting 18 full boxes of toys for the Marine Corps League Detachment 1252’s Toys for Tots drive. You can still drop off a new, unwrapped toy there until Christmas Eve.

I just love all of the stately homes that are decorated with class in Hamlet and, in Rockingham, along Fayetteville Road. Some of my favorites were the ones that used the least amount of lights and used wreaths to accentuate a home’s already elegant frame. Plus, the businesses that jump in — Sandhills Alternative Learning Academy and State Farm, for two examples — are fantastic. Next year, hopefully The Pee Dee Post will join in the fray.

Of course, Josiah wanted lights. The more the better. The flashier the better.

Josiah and I had a blast. I wish I’d had an audio recording of his comments.

“Keep your eyes peeled, Dad.”

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

“That was amazing!”

“Did you see those three kitty cats?”

“Can I eat both candy canes?”

“There’s baby Jesus! (Thank you Roberdel Baptist preschool)

“I wanna go home.”

“That was awesome!”

“Are we home yet?”

“Can I go play my (video) game now?”

Well, for at least a couple of hours, his mind was off video games and into what I hope will remain a Spradlin family tradition.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin is managing editor of The Pee Dee Post. He can be reached at 910-331-4130 or peedeepost@gmail.com.

Filed in: Ellerbe/Norman, Featured News, Hamlet, Hoffman, Latest Headlines, News, Opinion, Outdoors, Religion, Rockingham

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