Wednesday, December 22, 2010

40 Minutes in a Stranger's House

Wanna hear a story? It's a good one! Well, I think it's a good could be one of those things where you think you had to be there.

Okay, so we're here in Florida for the holidays, right? It's Wednesday night, and we decided to go check out some Christmas lights. Growing up here in Pensacola, one of the local catholic churches always had this HUGE display of Christmas lights. At some point they stopped doing it, but I heard they recently brought it back. So we headed out with the girls and Grant's parents to go check it out.

We get there, and the parking lot is E-M-P-T-Y. Okay, there maybe was one other car. But that's it. Not quite the crowds we were expecting. Grant's mom gets on the phone and asks her friend if she knew anything about it, and she said that they are doing lights, but only on the weekends.

So there went that idea.

We already had the girls in the stroller, so we decided to walk around the grounds a bit. Not only did this church used to do a Christmas lights display, but they also used to have the annual "Saint Anne's Round-Up," which was just a fun thing to go to. So walking around really brought back alot of memories that I hadn't thought of in about (I hate to even say this) 20 years (that can't be right!).

While we were walking around, we noticed there were people in the chapel, so we peeked in and saw a choir director leading a practice. This might seems like a trivial detail, but keep this in mind for later.

We made our way back to the car, but Grant's mom got another idea for something to do from her friend. She had a flier for this house out in Beulah (out in the country) that supposedly had 3,000 lights and all sorts of decorations, and this was the last night to see it, so we should probably go there.

Beulah wasn't too far from Saint Anne's, so we said Why not?

So off we went to some random house out in Beulah. We finally get to the street that this house was on, and we were expecting to see a long line of cars, or traffic, or SOMETHING. But there was nothing. Just a nice little quiet neighborhood.

Grant's mom told us the house number, and when we saw it, it had a few modest decorations out front, and some decorations visible through some of the windows, but nothing that stood out. Well right after she said the house number, she mentioned, "And we're supposed to go in," kind of nonchalantly.

Grant said, "WHAT? We're going IN there?" To which I replied, "Uh, NO we're NOT!!!"

Everyone in the car just starts cracking up, because really, there was nothing special about this place. Grant drove past the house to the end of the street, turned around and drove back past. His mom said she wanted to go knock on the door, and as she was getting out, I kindly suggested that maybe he should just ditch her, but of course he didn't.

Betty actually got out of the car, walked herself right up to that door and knocked. What she and the lady talked about, I don't really know. What I do know, is about 30 seconds later, I heard, "We're going in!"

So we parked in the driveway, and Grant made a comment about not wanting to get killed. When he turned off the car Kendall said, "Daddy, don't let me get killed." And that, folks, is why we will not be winning Parents of the Year.

Okay, so we go inside, and apparently, this lady was trying to promote her house as something to come see, but it hadn't really caught on. She wouldn't tell us how many people had come, she would just say, "Not many." Which we took to mean "You're pretty much it."

I'm not kidding when I say that Betty and I hid in a corner and laughed (we tried to be quiet about it, at least) for probably the first five minutes of our being there. Then I thought this lady might really think we're the crazy ones if we don't stop laughing, so we eventually stopped and started walking around. I snapped this picture of Betty and the lady of the house, and at first I thought it was a bad one of Betty, but now I really like this one because it was taken in the middle of our laughing fit. I think I was giggling when I took it...

She had 22 Christmas trees throughout the house. Twenty. Two. TWENTY TWO!!!!!! It sounds like a lot, but she actually had a really big house, and it was very tastefully done. Here's just a sampling of what some of it looked like...

Each tree had a theme (patriotic, under the sea, nutcracker, gingerbread, etc), and usually coordinated with something in whatever room it was in. I took particular interest in her craft room and how she decorated that tree...

When I told her I was a fellow quilter, she pulled out this beauty that she's been working on. Her mom actually started it 2 years before she died, which was 3 years ago!

We found out that the reason she was opening up her house was for a fundraiser for Navy Relief. Her husband is in the Navy, and they have lived all over the world, and have collected ornaments from everywhere they've been.

Anyways, after about 40 minutes of tramping throughout her house, taking way too many pictures, asking too many questions...we decided it was time to go, where we all laughed - alot.

While we were driving home, someone (I think it was Grant) asked where her husband was. Betty said, "Oh, he's the choir director at Saint Anne's, and they had choir practice tonight."

Remember what I said earlier? When we were at Saint Anne's, we looked in the chapel and saw the choir director leading practice!!!

Pensacola's not huge, but it's not small, by any means. So that was just totally random, that we happened to see this stranger's husband in a completely different part of town.

So that's my story! If you didn't think it was funny, I'm sorry. It was definitely a highlight for us, and we keep saying that nothing from the rest of our time here will top it.


  1. Loved the story. How very weird and random! I remember going to St. Anne's...oh the memories! Merry Christmas. Have a wonderful time with your family!

  2. I just have two comments:

    1. She was probably laughing at YOU guys when you left - she probably had a bet with someone that she could get people to come IN her house and they said NO WAY!! And she probably said, "there are crazy people out there who will come in and not only come in but STAY and STAY and STAY!!"

    2. FUNDRAISER? You paid to go in?

    Hands down - one of the funniest stories i have heard in a long time!

  3. I have been stalking your blog to see when you were going to write about the hilarious thing you mentioned on fb. i am so glad you did!!! i am DYING laughing! i like Kendall's comment the best! hahahahahahahhh oh girl! you bring JOY to me!!

  4. I needed a good laugh. My eyes appreciated the tears streaming down my face. Thank you.

  5. Oh my WORD! That is hilarious!