It’s the most wonderful time of the year, as the old saying goes. Much like last year, this year has brought about a lot of uncertainty for many of us, for good and bad. For Gary Ammons of the Robeline area, it has been a little bit of both.
Before the coronavirus pandemic began last year, Gary was quite the connoisseur of Christmas. Lights abounded at his home near the Robeline community in the years previous to 2020. The sounds of a country music Christmas wafted through the air from his record player. A film buff, Gary spent innumerable hours watching Christmas movies every year. He recognized it as an observance for family and was a beloved time of seeing his twin daughters, Arica and Arin, grow up into a pair of magnificent, successful women.
However, the times we live in are cruel.
Months after the pandemic began, and despite taking every precaution imaginable, Gary came down with a severe case of COVID-19. For months, he’d fight the dreaded contagion, which became a fight to retain what semblance he could of how things were beforehand. For years, much of his day was centered around work on his family’s farm, raising beef cattle and chickens. As any farmer you can tell you, it was a full day’s work plus.
Time passed and 2020 was winding down. He was getting around a little better and tried to do what he could to decorate his lawn. It was around that time that a heart attack undid every bit of progress he made, and worse. After being airlifted to a Shreveport hospital, weeks were spent in ICU. When he got home, months of cardiac rehab was needed due to the condition he was left in following the second major setback.
He stayed the course, and with a lot of help from family and the prayers of them and many more, he slowly started to mend, again.
It has been almost a year, but the Christmas lights have steadily made a resurgence. In no way can he go as grand as he has in the past, but many hours of work have yielded his own winter wonderland hidden behind a lonely mailbox and unassuming driveway. One is greeted with the sights of favorite Christmas characters such as the Grinch or Clark Griswold. Lights are also placed in abundance. They can be seen running down a fence row, and on the well house, and carport. Since beginning the project every light he has in his possession has been used, even those he forgot about and became aware of later. For weeks after he thought he was “done”, hearing he had found more lights was a common occurrence. The obsession recently went one step further, as he picked up inflatable car passengers of the aforementioned Griswold and Grinch.
Inside of his house is just as festive, with a plethora of decorations placed in every nook of the common rooms, along with several full-size Christmas trees. Each tree contains in abundance those ornaments most precious to them, those they had growing up and those acquired through their children, in addition to some that represent Gary’s various other interests such as the Dallas Cowboys and country music.
One may think that the only thing left is the presents and food, but this year, Gary Ammons gets to look back and think about how low things looked last year, but with perseverance, faith, and hard work, things can always look up.