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A Million Lights, A Christmas Story

Updated on February 16, 2018

The man I use to work for, loved to decorate on Christmas. He wasn't a religious man, so to speak but he was a fair man when it came to treating his employees right. I heard him curse once in the eight years I worked for him.

His name was Jim Clark. He closed his business and retired about two years ago. Jim died after 6 months of retirement. He loved fixing up his 15 acres of property. I was his maintenance man and I did much of the work there. I cleared 5 acres of woods by cutting down some of the trees and planting grass.

I would work on his 1957 T-Bird and his 65 Mustang in the winter months. Sometimes I would carve an Indian or cowboy with a chainsaw. Jim always kept me busy....even when I knew that business was slow. He could have laid me off but he didn't.

Jim's lights

A million lights.
A million lights.
Jim's T Bird
Jim's T Bird
Dual 4rs.
Dual 4rs.

Every year I would start in early November, hanging Christmas lights. The last year I hung them, Jim counted a little over a million lights. He was so proud when people drove though the parking lot to look at them. He loved hearing their compliments, especially the kids.

The last year was 2004. Jim quit decorating because vandals had cut too many lights and extension cords that year. They had cut them the years before but it was never so much. It just got too expensive and disheartening to decorate again.

Jim was more of a friend than a boss. He created work for 15 guys and two gals for many years. One of the greatest things a person can do in life is create jobs for people. He only had 17 employees but he was a man of a million lights.

A Totem Pole I carved for Jim.


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    • Tom Cornett profile image

      Tom Cornett 8 weeks ago from Ohio

      Yes he was. Thank you Robin.

    • RobinReenters profile image

      Robin Carretti 8 weeks ago from Hightstown

      That was so nice to hear that Jim was more than a friend and how the holiday opens up so giving to light our celebration

    • Tom Cornett profile image

      Tom Cornett 8 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks're from Ohio. Jim was definately an out of the ordinary business owner.

      LOL....Loved the Homer will become a Christmans tradition to watch it. Thanks! :)

    • lxxy profile image

      lxxy 8 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

      Tom, I miss the crazy lights in sister took me down some cool streets this past December, when I was back home for a funeral (one of these days I gotta fly out not for a funeral, I've only done that once out of the three times I've visited the motherland since I moved to cali)

      Anyway, this is a touching story. Seems like a nice man! I am sorry for your loss of such a cool friend...fifteen acres...sheeesh!

      Here's a lil something to make you laugh..hopefully. =)

    • Tom Cornett profile image

      Tom Cornett 8 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks Cris....One of my favorite movies...I love that saying! " I think we can modify it into ignite a light and light the world entire" Cool! LYM! :)

      Thanks Benson....I totally agree! :)

    • Benson Yeung profile image

      Benson Yeung 8 years ago from Hong Kong

      I couldn't agree more that one of the noblest things to do is to give someone a job.

      thanks for sharing.

    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 8 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      what a lovely tribute Tom. this made me remember a Jewish saying - I think i heard it in Schindler's List - and it goes something like "save one life, and save the world entire". I think we can modify it into ignite a light and light the world entire :D LYM :D

    • Tom Cornett profile image

      Tom Cornett 8 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks Pachuca213....sounds like your dad was a man of lights too. Thanks for sharing that. :)

    • profile image

      Pachuca213 8 years ago

      Ah this one made me cry..thanks alot Tom!! LOL

      But really what a fun kind of  guy...Makes me think of my dad who raised me he was all into Christmas lights and would go all out and we used to work on his 56 Chevy Truck together too. But towards the last few years of his life his health had deteriorated from his bad hips and then he eventually got cancer and died. I remember the last Christmas he could not hang the lights up and had to have my Tio (uncle) Miguel do it. I could see how sad he was not to be able to do it on his own. What a sad thing that your boss passed away. But you can always think of the great memories he gave you and now its your turn to "pay it forward" to someone else. He did it to you and 15 employees right? And now  you are sharing a wonderful story with all of us..BRAVO Tom!! =)

    • Tom Cornett profile image

      Tom Cornett 8 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks AEvans...all bosses should be like Jim.

    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 8 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      What a touching story and I can tell by the words that he is deeply missed. It is sad when the world turns to vandalism which is senseless. Loved the car, love the lights.:)

    • Tom Cornett profile image

      Tom Cornett 8 years ago from Ohio

      Paper Moon..thanks...he was a great boss....we usually got a week off paid at Christmas. He have us large Turkeys and a large basket of food. We had a game room filled with vintage video games and 19 hole put put golf course to use any time we wanted. We were spoiled.

    • Paper Moon profile image

      Paper Moon 8 years ago from In the clouds

      It has been a long long time since I have worked for any one not considered EVIL. It is nice to be reminded that there are still great bosses out there. What a wonderful hub.

    • Tom Cornett profile image

      Tom Cornett 8 years ago from Ohio

      Janetta...thanks...yes he was. :)

    • Tom Cornett profile image

      Tom Cornett 8 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks Triplet Mom...he was. :)

      TamCor ....thanks sweety...I had forgotten about that. :)

      maven101....thanks for saying that. :)

    • maven101 profile image

      maven101 8 years ago from Northern Arizona

      What a great story, and wonderful memories for you...Your " man of a million lights " is still lighting up hearts with your touching Hub...Thank you.

    • profile image

      Janetta 8 years ago

      i loved this story :) It's not every day you come across a man like Jim. They are one in a milion :)

    • TamCor profile image

      Tammy Cornett 8 years ago from Ohio

      I have to add--the local newspaper ran an article on Jim's Christmas lights, and he was humble enough to give Tom full credit for the incredible display... Tom--I love how you called him "the man of a million lights"--that's perfect!!!!

    • Triplet Mom profile image

      Triplet Mom 8 years ago from West Coast

      What a wonderful story. I could really feel the emotions and he sounds like a great person.

    • Pete Maida profile image

      Pete Maida 8 years ago

      He sounds like a great guy. I'm not big on decorating but I know people love it and for someone to ruin that joy for him; it's heartbreaking.

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 8 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Amazing christmas lights and that thunderbird is to die for. How'd you ever get it in that condition? That's gotta be a brand new motor. Liked your story.

    • Candie V profile image

      Candie V 8 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

      I'm having heart palpitations over that T-bird!!! It's so sad people have to deliberately destroy someone else's pride and joy. Thank you for sharing this man with us.. many hugs!

    • profile image

      mamahops 8 years ago

      Jim sounds like an amazing man. It's too bad he had to give up his decorating because of the darkness in other people's spirits. Keep your wonderful and enjoyable writing coming!

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 8 years ago from India

      What a great story! Puts back your faith doesn't it - that there are angels who walk this earth!

    • Laughing Mom profile image

      Laughing Mom 8 years ago

      A heart-warming story. You were very blessed to have worked with him, Tom! You did an outstanding job with the lights, and KCC is right about the vandals. Kids don't have appreciation these days.

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      Karen Curtis 8 years ago from Central Texas

      What a nice story about a man you obviously admire a great deal, and rightly so! I love it when people enjoy decorating their property like that. I've been fortunate to see a few around here like that. How idiotic for kids to cut the cords! These will be the same kids that will grow of talking about old Mr. Clark's house and how neat his lights were and how they miss them.