SMALL LIGHT, BIG RIG: Pretty much anyone who has ever decorated a tree or a house or strung lights up anywhere has, at one time or another, cradled a small bulb in the palm of their hand. Maybe this was to tighten it, or to tap it (and understand why it had stopped working), or simply to admire its lovely, low-key light. It's a light we've often placed upon beautiful firs and around front doors and across the tops of pianos, which are all objects that are not too overwhelming, in terms of power and size. But those wee lights are showing up in lots of larger places nowadays, from huge homes, in massive profusion (the kind that synchronize the blinking of the lights to music) to various vehicles. One of the biggest of the vehicles, the one with an out-sized character and a lot of room for lights, is an 18-wheeler. You might spy one out on the highway, all a-twinkle, by random, happy chance, but if you want to see a bunch of big rigs done up for the season, as well as some smaller trucks, then be in Humboldt County on the second Saturday in December. That's when the Trucker Christmas Parade, "a Eureka tradition for over 25 years," flips the sparkly switch, and all of those tiny blinking lights start to glow against one of the engine-iest rolls of the open road.
IT'S A PRETTY PAIRING, and one that's pretty unexpected, especially when the big rig might stretch to 100 feet (the parade has seen such lengthy entries in past years). It's free to watch, it starts on Harris Street at the Redwood Acres Fairgrounds, and, if you're lucky, a trucker might blow her or his horn for you. Is there anything more classic, sound-wise, than the sonorous sound of an 18-wheeler's horn heard along a stretch of lonesome highway? And why don't more carols incorporate this unmistakable tone, which has a lot of lore behind it? Ponder these mondo-muscled trucks as they roll by, and maybe try and count the lights that cover them. It might be challenging though, since some trucks boast upwards of several thousand bulbs.
TRULY, it's nice that our domestic strings, the kind we often seeing giving a cozy den some glow, can also so magically illuminate some gargantuan vehicles. Oh, holiday wattage -- is there no whimsy you cannot summon? Eureka will clearly possess that whimsy, as will a few dozen trucks, too, on Saturday, Dec. 12.