My life basically takes place on two roads in the Lake Norman area — Catawba Avenue and Highway 115. I'm on both of them every single day, so I immediately notice anything out of the ordinary — enter Blinkies.
When I first saw these twinkling lights on the two red trees in front of ACE Hardware in Cornelius, I thought I was imagining things. Remember, I have two 3-year-olds, so I'm always reading about princesses and magic wands. This could have easily been an extension of my Cinderella knowledge. But no, the lights were there the next day and the next.
They weren't traditional Christmas lights saturating a tree Christmas Vacation-style, not that there's anything wrong with that. These were placed far apart from each other, scattered even, so much so that I slowed down one day to see if they were clipped to the branches individually. They weren't, as I finally saw the power cord linking all the magic together.
The more I see the lights, the happier they make me. Believe me, after getting the twins ready for preschool every morning, I'm always searching for any shred of serenity I can find. These lights give me that as I drive the kids to and from school. Finally, I succumbed to my curiosity and went into the store to inquire about them. The lady at the counter said, "Oh, you mean Blinkies, they're right over there," as she pointed to a stand-alone display. She then referred to me one of the managers, Dori Rice, so I could learn more.
Turns out Blinkies are a relatively new phenomenon and were developed by Roger's Products Inc. right up the road in Kernersville. "When he [Roger] first called and told me about the Blinkies, I wasn't sure," remembers Rice, adding that the lights are placed six feet apart on the cord. "He said, 'just let me come down and hang some on your trees so you can see.' " He did, and Rice became just as captivated as me.
The trick with these lights is that they exude a glistening effect. The blink appears to be slower and completely random, so the tree subtly sparkles. In addition, the whiteness of the lights is also softer. Roger's website refers to the effect as "a touch of twinkle."
Call it whatever you want, but to me these lights represent the happiness we should all try to seek out on a daily basis. It's so easy to become down, even depressed during the holidays. And as we all know, stress seems to unfortunately be a constant in today's world.
These lights can help ease those negative thoughts for just a moment. Trust me, if I can sense their magic when my kids are screaming in the backseat of my minivan as we drive by ACE, anyone can. So when you get a chance, drive by the Blinkies and enjoy a small slice of delight.
Enjoy lake living,
Lori K. Tate
Editor, CURRENTS Magazine