Power from the People

Pelzer Santa 2009

Santa greets visitors to his neighborhood in Pelzer, 2009.

Has it really been three years since J. Michael and I paid our respects to the Light People? They’re a Pelzer phenomenon, if you don’t know. Modest homes, roofs, lawns, trees, fences and tool sheds lit up like the sun. Lit up snowmen, lit up reindeer, lit up man-size candy canes.

A few Pelzerites wrap even themselves, their actual bodies I mean, in lights, which I don’t doubt is every bit as dangerous as it sounds, and stand on the side of the road to greet passersby. Smiling and waving, just as they’ve done for years. Bright orange extension cords trailing behind them. Donations cheerfully accepted.

I caught something with my camera in 2009. I don’t know what to call it. In one sense, it seems like yesterday, but in another sense …

I was still at Center Stage, chafing mightily. My social life was a strangeness and my financial life was a burdensomely complicated thing. Crazy was I.

Not like the Light People, though. They’re crazy in a good way.