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VIDEO: New London tree needs TLC — and more lights

By Rick Koster

Publication: The Day

Published December 09. 2013 4:00AM   Updated December 10. 2013 4:58PM

I, for one, would like to express my appreciation to Pat and Michael Diodato of Uncasville. They are the gracious citizens who donated the 30-foot balsam fir that serves as the official New London Christmas Tree on Parade Plaza.

At the same time, as a city resident, I would also like to apologize to the Diodatos for what we as a community have done - or, more properly, HAVEN'T done - to their Yule Tree.

Basically, after folks from the City of New London Public Works and East Coast Welding and Fabrication erected the tree on an odd corner of the Parade, someone tossed a couple of strands of lights over a few of the branches on the tree, where they hang limply like tatters from a rotted burial shroud.

In fact, the per capita light-bulbs-to-tree-bough ratio is the aesthetic equivalent of scattering two dozen marbles on a football field. Wheeee!

And that's, ah, it.

No ornaments. No crowning star. No tinsel or popcorn garlands.

Basically, I've seen bug zappers with more holiday sizzle than our tree.

In fact, the only worse Christmas tree I can think of was the one on "A Very Brady Christmas." Did you see that obscenity? Here's Mr. Brady, a successful architect, and Greg Brady - a physician! - and that's the best they could come up with? No wonder that film isn't available on DVD.

Anyway, I can only imagine what travelers must think when they exit the New London train station, perhaps for the first time.

Do you think they might say, "Oh my God, Kelli! We've gotten off at the wrong station! This is a winter wonderland! We're at the North Pole!"?

No.

Do you think, instead, they might say, "How sad, Kelli, that someone stole all the ornaments from this hometown tree! And most of the lights! You'd think we were in Detroit!"

Yes. They could easily say that.

And then this fake Kelli person would say, "Nope, not Detroit. While Detroit might be bankrupt, they've got an amazing Christmas tree. In fact, according to MichiganLive.com, Detroit sports a 60-foot tree with more than three miles of LED lights wrapping it from top to bottom."

"Wow, Kelli."

So we see that bankrupt Detroit can rock the holiday tree - but not us.

Well, no civic officials asked my opinion, but I'm pretty sure if there had been a central, earmarked drop-off point - maybe in the New London Main Street office or outside the mayor's door or in the mayor's special parking place outside City Hall - proud residents would have dropped off plenty of ornaments or light strands or (non-popcorn) garlands.

Whaddya think, New London?

In the words of Linus Van Pelt from "A Charlie Brown Christmas" - "I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It's not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love."

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