19 Nov 2009 Bright night
“I’m inspired by seeing the smiles on faces of the kids that come by,” he said. “I also loved the movie ‘Christmas Vacation’, and when I first started climbing on the roof and ladders, I looked and felt like Clark Griswold. I just liked all the lights he has on his house.
“Also, years ago it was amazing to see all those lights on the Osborne house in Little Rock.”
The work on the displays begins around Halloween, with hours spent on the handmade items like the toy soldiers. “It takes me about 30 days to get it all up and ready. That’s an hour here or two hours there. It mainly depends when my family goes to bed,” he said. “There are many nights outside from 10:30 to 2 or 3 in the morning.”
Among the many displays, Tim’s favorites are the Grinch and the handmade toy soldiers. “I’ve been trying to add a new soldier every year.” Also this year,
Tim has an extra-special display in the works sure to be a favorite. “I try to add something new every year and this year let’s just say it has something to do with Sponge Bob. This will be for my father-in-law who is battling cancer at this moment and he loves watching Sponge Bob with his grandkids. It will really be for him to see.”
For Tim, the work doesn’t end once the lights are up. “There is a lot of upkeep during the times that it is on. There are lights that go out every night and I try to repair them.”
There’s still more work when the lights and displays come down. “The major upkeep is taking the display down and storing them in a neatly manner, except the year it rained really hard and I kept the display on and shorted out every fuse I had on every item. That was terrible, and now if it rains, the lights will not be on! I respect electricity and I really don’t want to have to replace all those fuses again.”
The lights and displays were kept in the family’s attic during the off-season but the collection has since outgrown that space. “I had stored all in my attic, but once I started accumulating larger things and made the bad step and fell through the attic into the dining room table, it made me think I probably should get a storage building that is on ground level. That was a scary and hard fall.”
While there is a lot of hard work and time involved, Tim likes watching others enjoy the Christmas lights and displays. “Just seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces and everyone else’s is the most gratifying thing about the display. It’s also stress relieving just standing outside and staring at the lights.”
Word has spread and others are discovering the magic of Christmas at the Cain house. Tim has no way of knowing how many take in the display each year “but let’s just say a lot.”
“There have been several times that both ways down our street have been full.”
As December approaches, Tim has some helpful advice for those who would like to see the display – “I hope everyone likes the lights and enjoys them as much as I do. I try to have them on the first week of December. But it’s only run by me, and when I get home from work is usually when I try to turn them on but bear with me when it’s not on all the time. I try to have them off by 10 p.m. on weeknights and around 11 on weekends because my neighbors have been really nice for putting up with me over the years.
“Christmas is my favorite holiday and to see people happy will just make your day.”