We did one of our circle routes (the smaller one), first passing Vince's house. I noticed that Vince's reliable Italian-flag-colored Christmas lights were on, as they had been each night since sometime around Thanksgiving. We trotted on, Roscoe and I, passing a yard where the inflatable Christmas figures pooled on old snow. Their time has expired for another year, it seemed, but the owners had yet to gather up the plastic and haul it inside.
Then around another block, from the safety of the dark street, we spied two houses almost across from one another where lighted Christmas trees still glowed. White lights on one, big Lifesaver-colored bulbs on another. Our own tree has been bagged and tucked back into storage since New Year's. But as I passed my neighbors' houses -- Henry still has a tasteful fence decked with greenery and white lights -- I found a kind of reassurance in the commitment to the light.
These are not people who feel obliged to join the annual recommitment to gray that happens every January. You'll soon see your Facebook friends grousing about others' reluctance to say goodbye to the tree and the lights. I bet my still-plugged-in neighbors don't care. I suspect they think, "It's hard enough to get through a dark January in Cleveland. Why not make it a little less dark?"
They may be on to something.