An Open Letter to the Christmas Tree Lighters near Milepost 16.2 on M-14

Dear Christmas Lights Owner(s),

Every December since I moved back to MI in 2003 I’ve looked forward to seeing the little pine tree lit up with Christmas lights on the side of M-14. I feel that child-like Christmas anticipation when I see the mile post markers getting close to 16.2. As soon as I see the closest milepost I get a surge of glee, I wait a beat, then look eagerly up to the top of the hill. Same feeling and routine I’ve had for the last 11 years.

I call it my Hope tree.

You don’t know me, but you helped me beyond my ability to thank you. For years now I’ve wanted to write this letter, to say Thank You. I’ve schemed different ways to try and get it to you, but never followed through. Today, finally, I write it and post it, and just hope it reaches you, whomever you are.

At first, seeing your tree always made me smile. I lived in Livonia and worked in Detroit, so I only saw it when I went out to Ann Arbor to visit family. That was a hard transition time in my life, moving from the East coast to here. I had left my Mom. I had no friends yet. I was very lonely. Seeing your tree was a Christmas treat those first years. It reminded me that somewhere people care, and that helped.

Years later I got a job in Ann Arbor, and I got to see the tree every evening in the Christmas season on my way home from work. That was so much fun! I was doing pretty well in my life by then. Still, the sheer Christmas cheer of seeing your tree made me more happy.

One year, things got bad for me. I still can remember the feeling of going through each day where truly the ONLY thing I had to look forward to was seeing your tree on my way home from work. That tree, your Christmas lights, got me through a really dark time. And that is why I’ve wanted to Thank You all these years since.

I don’t know how many other people, if any, you’ve helped by lighting that tree. Perhaps it was just me. But I thought you’d like to know. Seems so simple, lighting a tree. Though I’m sure running lights out to the side of the freeway actually isn’t so simple.

Now I also live in Ann Arbor and have my own family, so I do little traveling out that way in the evenings of December. Which made seeing your Christmas tree in the last six years a rare treat for me.

Two years ago I of course noticed the tree wasn’t lit up for Christmas. At first I was hopeful it would just be late, but it didn’t come on. That’s okay. I didn’t need it anymore. I still don’t. Since the birth of my first born, life has been so much better. Even when things were bad the season of 2012, while your tree was warmly reassuring, my child was the best light in my life – and I had a good support network by then too.

Sure I miss your Christmas lights tree. It will always make me happy, and remind me of good times, make me smile. But please don’t feel obligated to light it. I don’t need it like I once did. It did its job. Thank You.

I just wanted to let you know your gesture to the drivers on M-14 was more than noticed, it touched a life. For that, I am always grateful.

I Sincerely Hope You Have a Merry Christmas Every Year,


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3 Responses to An Open Letter to the Christmas Tree Lighters near Milepost 16.2 on M-14

  1. trekker9er says:

    92 people like this.

  2. trekker9er says:

    Em Chappell-Root
    Like · Reply · December 20, 2015 at 9:50pm

    Jessie Pegg
    Jennifer, may I copy this to the Ann Arbor Townies group?
    Like · Reply · 1 · December 20, 2015 at 9:53pm

    Jennifer Michelle German
    Yes please.
    Like · Reply · December 21, 2015 at 1:08pm

    Jessie Pegg
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · December 21, 2015 at 4:13pm

    Jennifer Michelle German
    People please share, I would like this to reach its intended recipients!
    Like · Reply · December 21, 2015 at 1:09pm

    Jennifer Michelle German
    I just noticed this was posted Friends Only. Just changed it to Public. Should be able to share now!
    Like · Reply · December 21, 2015 at 8:38pm · Edited

  3. trekker9er says:

    Jessie Pegg
    You know… just dawned on me that this mile marker is not actually in town……..I guess maybe this isn’t going to help.
    Like · December 21 at 4:21pm

    Marci Woolson
    It is a lovely note and I do hope someone knows someone who knows the party who did this. If nothing else, your wonderful letter brought joy to me in the reading and no doubt, will to many others.
    Unlike · 20 · December 21 at 4:25pm

    Kristine Nelson
    I always looked forward to seeing that tree.
    Unlike · 4 · December 21 at 4:32pm

    Lynn Murray Lumbard
    Where is the 16.2 mile marker?
    Like · 1 · December 21 at 4:52pm

    Jessie Pegg
    I happen to be working in Livonia today, so I checked. It is a couple miles east of the Gotfredson Rd exit. Northridge church is at about 16.4.
    Like · 1 · December 22 at 5:49am

    Barbara Brousseau
    O’Donnell Thank you for sharing.
    Unlike · 1 · December 21 at 5:28pm

    Joan Lillie
    So nice of you to take the time to write that sweet letter, JMG. I was not the person who strung the lights on that sweet little tree, but you’ve inspired me to thank Tom Monaghan for all the years he lit up the farm on the corner of M-14 and 23 South…See More
    Unlike · 18 · December 21 at 5:42pm

    Lisa Tarzia
    This is beautiful.
    Unlike · 3 · December 21 at 7:43pm

    Nancy Beer Klintworth
    Memories are meant to be shared.
    Unlike · 3 · December 21 at 9:10pm

    Steven White
    I always looked forward to seeing the tree lit, as well. Went by there on Saturday and was dismayed not to see it, but glad for all those years it was.
    Unlike · 3 · December 22 at 9:35am

    Karen Weid
    Maybe y’all could find out if the people who did the tree passed away. Maybe you could get together and get light it up? Just an idea ♡♡♡
    Like · 2 · December 22 at 10:26am

    Brian Rice
    I, too, looked forward to seeing this tree when I took M-14 to work. Sadly, it stopped showing up several years ago.
    Unlike · 2 · December 23 at 7:20pm

    Bill Gallinger
    Thanks for posting that Jessie Pegg the reminder that small and likely unacknowledged acts of simple grace can have this sort of impact on the life of a stranger has somewhat revived my moribund Christmas spirit. A nice ripple effect. I will be watching this thread hopeful that more will be told of the story of the folks who in some small but not insignificant way gave your friend succor in difficult times. I have long since moved to California but if I can help relight that freakin tree let me know and I’ll book a flight tomorrow :)
    Unlike · 1 · December 23 at 11:30pm

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