Deck The Halls Times the Size of an Iowa Town Square

Published on December 22nd, 2017.

During the Holiday Season, I typically find pictures of some of our Central Iowa deck or porch projects decorated for Christmas and use them as cover pictures or headers for our various online holiday greetings. But, this year, I’m taking a different approach…and you have my grandchildren to thank for this.

Over the course of the past 3 years, my wife and I have become grandparents 4 times over. The most recent one occurred just yesterday…on the Winter Solstice. How perfect is that for celebrating the Season of Lights? As this has happened, I frequently find myself thinking of my grandparents more. And in particular of late, Christmastime with my grandparents.

A week ago, my wife and I took our two oldest grandchildren to the travelling production of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” here at the Des Moines Civic Center. The same day of the show, the Des Moines Register published a story about how the original, Charles Schultz, TV production of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” was responsible for the demise of the aluminum Christmas tree industry. I instantly reflect back to the aluminum Christmas tree I remember my maternal grandparents having for several years. I still have a picture of me – about 5 years old, cica 1962, in front of that tree. A few years later, my grandparents “upgraded” to a green artificial tree. I never made the connection to Charlie Brown until I read that article…at 60. On the other side of town, my paternal grandparents had a real Christmas tree as far back as I remember. A real tree with big lights on it. I guess they were a bit ahead of the time…and Charlie Brown was right.

Both of my parents and their parents grew up in Fairfield, Iowa. While Fairfield was not my hometown, Fairfield holds many special memories…not the least of which was its town square and especially the Christmas festivities held there. Think Santa’s workshop at the North Pole. Think “Deck the Halls” times the size of a town square. Decorations and lights galore and a little “Kandy Kane House” where Santa awaited an ever-present line of kids with their Santa lists. At the center of it all was the most gloriously decorated bandstand one could imagine, complete with Santa, his sleigh and reindeers twirling around its center. Hands down, the greatest town square Christmas scene a kid (or an adult – I’ve gone back a few times) could ever want. Could ever get. Anywhere. Ever. 1962 or 2017.

So now that I am the grandparent my grandparents were when I was my grandchildren’s age, I’m taking us all back to the Fairfield town square at Christmas for our cover picture for our various online holiday greetings. It’s a picture the Fairfield Central Park Association published a couple of years ago. It just doesn’t get any better than this.

I think I got some of my entrepreneurial spirit from my maternal grandfather, who ran a full-service DX gas station just around the corner from Fairfield’s town square. So as a kid I had a front-row seat to the greatest town square ever. A big gazebo or porch, in the middle of a town square becomes a bandstand. As I look back on it, Fairfield’s town square may have been the genesis for the Archadeck era of my life. And this Christmas, it seems even more so.

Archadeck. Making spirits bright, year-round. Merry Christmas!

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