34th Street: Missed The Miracle

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“Missed it by that much.” -Secret Agent Maxwell Smart

We decided that tonight would be a great night to take our annual trip to 34th Street in Hamden to check out the lights and lawns as only Baltimore can do. We left a little before 7 p.m., stopped at Starbucks to get a few holiday drinks (thanks, Wonderful Student, for the gift card), and headed down Roland Avenue, across Hamden’s famed 36th Street, and stopped abruptly. The line of cars started two blocks north of 34th Street, even before you made the left turn to travel the additional 3 blocks to get to the Big Show.

What the heck, we thought. Our drinks are full, the Christmas music was flowing freely on 101.9 FM, and we had nowhere to be. So, we decided to stay in line and begin the inch-by-inch crawl to the famed Baltimore block (not THAT block!) of lights and holiday magic.

It took about 75 minutes for us to make it to the intersection where the mystical show on 34th Street began. As we waited to cross the road and begin our oohing and aahing, a police officer, with full lights running, pulled up in front of us and got out of his car.

He proceeded to disappear in the masses of holiday walkers, and we were all stopped at a complete standstill. After a few minutes deliberating with two other officers who arrived at the scene, the first officer who blocked us stopped all traffic, set up traffic cones blocking the entrance to 34th Street, and gave us the big whistle and hand jive:

“You!” he pointed in my general direction. I looked a little to the left and to the right, then finally returned to his stare.

“Me?”

He nodded rather confidently and pointed away from the pretty Baltimore lights and directed me to fight with the angry traffic making its own way to– well, now to absolutely nothing.

We had waited nearly 75 minutes to be turned away. As Maxwell Smart would say, “We missed it by that much.” And that we did.

My wife, Amy, and I laughed, and I even think our son was a little relieved just to head home. All that time to get a sneak peek at some lines strung up and a few off-street attractions. Denied!

We made our way back along Roland, up to Cold Spring, then over to Charles, where we picked up Gittings and found THIS:

Gittings LightsThis photo does NOT do it justice at all. The house was covered — literally — in lights, and it brought back a smile to all of our faces. Our 2-hour trek had led us here, and as a result, we all benefited greatly (praise the Lord) from the beautiful display of lights.

We headed home, listening to more Christmas music, and planning out a different strategy in 2015. Until then, I think that we are happy in knowing we tried, and that there are plenty of other ways we can prepare for next year so that we can enjoy The Miracle on 34th Street — or any miracle, really… as long as it doesn’t involve so much traffic!

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