The star

By KRISTIN BARRON
Posted 12/18/19

I have never been much for decorating; clutter seems to be my main interior design. At Christmas, we have a tree, of course. We have a wreath on the door. But no lights strung up along the outside …

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The star

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I have never been much for decorating; clutter seems to be my main interior design. At Christmas, we have a tree, of course. We have a wreath on the door. But no lights strung up along the outside eves. No prancing candy canes along the stone walkway.

But this year, we do have something new and different. We have a star.

John, my husband, put the star up for all to see on the back of our lawn which is along NYS Route 97. Constructed of plastic duct work and battery-operated lights, the star blinks on and off from its perch atop a cast-off wooden scaffold, on schedule for a six-hour light display.

It is yet another of John’s embellishments to the corner of our property that is adjacent to the highest point of elevation on all of Route 97. This past June, the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway and NYSDOT installed a sign marking the spot after learning that it was indeed the highest point in elevation along the road’s 70-mile course along the Upper Delaware River.

At 1836 feet, we have never had a flood here, but I can attest to the fact that the road has always iced up quickly due to the altitude.

The spot features a spectacular view of the river valley. Beyond that, John has been working to improve the vista by cutting trees to open up the sight distance from the highway. People who drive past our house often stop to snap pictures and admire the scenery of the purple mountains. If you look closely, it is possible to see the windmills at the windfarm in Waymart, PA, glinting on the far ridge. In 2015, USA Today readers voted Route 97 as the second most scenic autumn drive in the United States (right behind Michigan’s M-22 highway).

This summer, John also constructed a small flower box nearby with a plaque that memorializes my uncle and aunt, Francis and Marjorie Dirig, who lived there across 97, taking in the beauty of the view and the local area for most of their lives.

But who knew John wanted a star? He encamped on the living room floor to string the lights on the star prompting my teenage daughter to ask, “What is Dad doing in a pentagram?”

Stars are also often used to symbolize the eternal. In Christianity, the star was an agent of guidance that led the three wise men to the Christ child. Stars are also closely associated with hope, purity, good luck and, of course, fame. Recent controversies involving the constitutionality of stars located on public land—in Honesdale, PA and elsewhere—have prompted many people to erect stars on their own private properties.

Our star is a gesture of goodwill to all. It is a light in the darkness celebrating the highest point on Route 97. Who knows what is next? But there is talk of locating a hot dog stand along the roadside next summer. Happy holidays to all.

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