The Wilson Times

Wednesday, December 18, 2013 10:10 PM

Wilson aglow with Christmas lights
Man decorates home to give his wife a storybook Christmas

By Corey Friedman | Times Online Editor

While neighbors were carving pumpkins and greeting trick-or-treaters, L.D. Thompson was hanging Christmas lights.

"I started putting it together just before Halloween,” Thompson said. "I try to have almost everything up by Thanksgiving, but this year, I fell a little behind.”

Lights hang from the rooftop, line the back porch railing, wrap around trees and illuminate shrubs at Thompson’s home at 4406 Dewfield Drive North in Wilson. The display’s been an annual tradition for the last 12 years.

"My wife, she’s kind of like a kid at Christmastime,” Thompson said. "I try to keep her happy. And my neighbors love it. I work for them, too — for them and my wife.”

Brenda Thompson said her husband’s light show gives her the festive family Christmases that she missed out on as a child.

"As a kid, I didn’t have the greatest of Christmases,” she said, "so he really tries every year to make sure I have a good Christmas and keep my spirits up. For me, it’s a reminder of how far I’ve come.”

The Thompsons have four grown children and six grandchildren. Their Christmas stockings line the banister and a towering tree stretches toward the top of their vaunted ceiling.

Dozens of local families drive past the Thompsons’ home to marvel at the glowing display. Passersby stop for a chat or give a wave and friendly greeting as their cars creep away.

"It kind of puts you in the Christmas spirit, and all” L.D. Thompson said. "People will come by and say merry Christmas. I kind of enjoy it — it makes me feel good.”

A Maryland native, Thompson has lived in Wilson for about 38 years. He retired from Firestone’s Wilson plant and each year, he shops after-Christmas sales each year for lights to add to his display.

After more than a decade, he’s accumulated thousands. His collection includes more than the thousands of bulbs visitors see outside his home.

"I just kind of ran out of time and said, ‘Let me put up what I have,’ and that’s what I did,” he said.

Powering all those lights hikes up the Thompsons’ electric bill each winter, but they consider it a small price to pay for the megawatts of Christmas cheer they provide.

"It’s kind of high,” Thompson said. "The most expensive I’ve had was $996. That was three or four years ago, before they brought the rates down.” | 265-7821

Across Wilson County, families have transformed their homes into winter wonderlands with blinking lights, inflatable Santas, nativity scenes and glowing snowmen. The Wilson Times asked readers on Facebook and Twitter this week to share some of their favorite holiday home light displays.

Several readers nominated the Thompsons, and many wrote about Randy and Jennifer Tuttle’s music-synchronized light show in their Crestview Avenue front yard.

To join the conversation, search for The Wilson Times Co. page on Facebook and click "like.” Breaking news updates, story links, photos and questions from Times journalists will immediately begin appearing in your Facebook news feed.

On Twitter, tag @TheWilsonTimes in your posts and tell us where to find the best and brightest lights in Wilson County.

Read more about residents’ favorite Christmas lights and find out who’s been dubbed the Clark Griswold of Wilson in Friday’s edition of The Times.

©The Wilson Times, Wilson, North Carolina.
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