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,