It was a little late, but light display is more dazzling than last year's

Neighbors

December 24, 1997|By Kathy Curtis | Kathy Curtis,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THE CHILDREN in Dorsey's Search were getting worried. It was the first week of December and the townhouse at the corner of Hallowed Stream and Learned Sage was dark. They began bombarding owner Ross Kellay with the question, "Are you going to put up your lights?"

Not to worry.

Kellay was delayed by a home improvement project, but the display that has become a local institution soon reappeared.

This year, his decorations include multicolored twinkling lights on every tree and bush in front and along the side of his house.

They even grace the trees in the open space behind his house.

(He gets a permit each year from the village.)

Kellay also has figures, including elves, bears, soldiers, snowmen, reindeer and Santa Claus. New this year is an angel in white lights with an amber trumpet.

A sign spelling out "Season's Greetings" in red and green hangs at the corner.

Candles shine in the windows.

And that's only the outside display.

In his living room, Kellay has nearly 20 animated figures, including Mr. and Mrs. Claus, working elves and people singing Christmas carols.

Kellay and his wife, Phyllis Kay, were among the first residents to move in when the neighborhood was built about eight years ago.

Kellay started the display the first Christmas, and each year embellishes it a little more.

A few years ago, Kellay estimated that he had 5,000 to 6,000 lights. But he has added more since then and has stopped counting.

He says it adds $150 or so to his electric bill each year.

He quips, "We had to pick the electric meter off the road, it was going so fast."

Kellay has developed a system for storing all the decorations and for changing the bulbs. He estimates that it takes four eight-hour days to put it all up.

Kellay's children and grandchildren live in Michigan. Some years he is away during the holidays visiting relatives. But the display continues, with a neighbor turning it on each night.

"Kids love it around here," Kellay says.

They bring their friends to see the display. Some sing carols. Other visitors leave notes on the door. The house has been a stop on holiday light tours for seniors.

This year, a nursery school was planning to visit.

"We figure it's worth it," Kellay says.

Village adopts family

Early last week, the lobby of Linden Hall was overflowing with presents. Dorsey's Search Community Association staff spent days wrapping gifts.

"There must have been a good 100 packages," said village manager Anne Darrin.

It was all for a mother and three young children that the village adopted for the holidays through the Domestic Violence Center of Howard County.

The center provided first names, ages and the family's wish list.

Buying for specific children "changes the whole scope of things," said Darrin. "Knowing the first names makes it really special."

Residents responded generously.

The mother needed kitchen items, so residents bought everything from mugs to small appliances.

They also filled two large laundry baskets with food and small kitchen items.

Cash donations were used for supermarket gift certificates and coupons for gasoline.

Villagers also contributed mounds of toys for each child, as well as winter clothes.

"There were a lot of family gifts," said Darrin, "games they could all play together."

The gifts were taken to the Domestic Violence Center, which gave them to the adopted family at a party for center clients.

Speaking through Shelley Brown, the center's director of community education, the mother expressed her appreciation.

"The generosity of strangers was overwhelming," she said. "They have truly shown the true meaning of Christmas. This is a great blessing, and I am very grateful."

Brown noted that donations from the community enabled the center to help 56 families during the December holidays -- 11 more than it has served in the past.

Students collect toys

The student council at Running Brook Elementary School collected 11 large boxes of used toys to donate to charity this month.

It was the first community service project undertaken by the group, which is only in its second year at the school.

The toys were given to the Salvation Army for distribution to needy children in Howard County.

"It was a wild success," said Carol Bucher, the school's family services coordinator. "We were amazed at what came out of this."

Praying for peace

Members of the Columbia Church of Religious Science will join people around the world to pray for peace at 7 a.m. Dec. 31 at the Hawthorn Center, 6175 Sunny Spring.

Pub Date: 12/24/97

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